Disabling Facebook’s Beacon Feature: A Simple How-To Guide

by Barbara J. Feldman on December 25, 2009

If you have been on a website and a box has popped up asking you if you would like to share your thoughts or RSVP, for example, on Facebook, the site you’re on is monitored by the Facebook beacon. While many people like having things networked and connected, you will find that among Facebook’s privacy settings, you are not asked whether or not you want your web browsing tracked. Instead, your options involve whether or not you want them to share the information they’ve gathered. The privacy settings for the Facebook beacon allow you to choose between “allow”, “notify me” and “never.” In other words, regardless of whether you make your browsing public, Facebook still collects data on the websites you have visited. There is no privacy setting to disallow that.

If you do not want Facebook to track your web browsing activity, disable the beacon feature. The beacon feature, created as an integral part of their new advertising platform, offers real value to Facebook’s advertisers. However, for those who simply want to use Facebook as a passive social networking platform, preventing your web surfing from being broadcast might be wise.

Facebook works with other sites, and when you visit a participating site, the beacon sends a request to Facebook, which then allows your web surfing to be catalogued. As Facebook’s beacon feature is not an opt-in feature, if you do not want it to track which websites you visit, you need to block it. Your only option is whether or not you want that web surfing activity publicized on your wall. To prevent any associated site from relaying information about your visit to Facebook, simply disable the beacon feature.

The following instructions for downloading and installing the site blocking plug in will work if your browser is Firefox:

1. Download and Install the Block Site plug in for Firefox, found at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3145.
2. After restarting Firefox select ‘Add-ons’ from the Tools menu.
3. Click the ‘Options’ button on the Block Site extension.
4. Click the ‘Add’ button.
5. Type http://*facebook.com/beacon/* into the input box.
6. Click ‘OK’.
7. Click ‘OK’ again.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Disabling Facebook’s Beacon Feature: A Simple How-To Guide." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 25 Dec. 2009. Web. 17 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1462/disabling-facebooks-beacon-feature-a-simple-howto-guide/ >.