Mozilla and Meta (Facebook) now work together

The companies are working together on a new ad interaction tracking proposal

Mozilla, owner and developer of the Firefox browser, has attacked Facebook (now Meta) several times over the years for the company’s abysmal record on privacy and security. However, the two companies are now working together on a slightly more private online advertising proposal, which is already drawing criticism from longtime Mozilla fans.

Mozilla revealed in a blog post tuesday, “For the past few months, we have been working with a team at Meta (formerly Facebook) on a new proposal that aims to enable conversion measurement – ​​or attribution – for advertising called Interoperable Private Attribution, or IPA.” The project aims to allow advertisers to measure the success rate of online advertisements, while being more privacy-friendly than existing online advertisements.


The basic concept, as explained in the draft proposal, is to replace ad reports by action (for example, the browser sends data to an ad group when you click on an ad) with aggregated reports for batches of events. Websites can create a “match key” connected to your account or device, which is apparently only accessible through the browser to avoid fingerprinting. There are also a few features intended to prevent anyone (including data-collecting companies or advertisers) from identifying people interacting with ads. It’s similar to Priorthe technology that Mozilla developed a few years ago to analyze how people use Firefox.

Source: IPA proposal

Even if the proposal seems solid, the partnership is rather surprising. Mozilla just started a trial study last month in partnership with markup which aimed to identify how Meta/Facebook used web tracking pixels to record web activity. Mozilla said the study’s goal was to “report on where Facebook is tracking you and what kind of information it collects.” The group has also sided with Facebook several times in recent history, and less than a year ago, started posting ads on Meta platforms which called upon the company’s fearsome ad targeting capabilities.

The blog post has have not been shared on the official Firefox or Mozilla Twitter accounts, unlike almost every other article published by the company. Reviews have been limited so far, possible due to the low-key announcement (this is only appeared on the Firefox subreddit on Fridays, for example), but the overall feedback at the moment is rather negative.

Mozilla and Meta/Facebook should also encourage Apple and Google (at a minimum) to implement this behavior in their own browsers, which could be a tough sell. Google is also experimenting with a proposal to replace browser cookies with a more privacy-friendly alternative, but that project doesn’t have the same goals as the IPA, and Google could theoretically implement both at the same time.

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