The focus is the “Facebook pixel” which is a kind of piece of tracking tech. It is planted in the ground of tons of other sites which use “the pixel”. As a symbol of gratitude those sites can track their own visitors.
If you are browsing the net searching for a particular piece of information or you are trying to purchase something online, all the data you have already provided is being collected by Facebook. If you have an account in some of Facebook’s platforms, the data is just transfered on the other information that the social media already knows about you. However, if you are not a Facebook user, the collected information is being used in order to create a “shadow profile” of you.
So, the main goal for Mozilla’s researchers, who have already teamed up with some journalists from the Markup, is to investigate those “invisible” practices. In order to attain all the information they need for their study, Mozilla’s researchers will use a free-to-download extension for their browser called “Mozilla Rally”. While browsing the net, the extension will “eat up” your information. In the announcement for the partnership between Mozilla and the Markup, Ted Han, Rally Product Lead at Mozilla, says:
“The Internet and the world cannot wait on platforms to do the right thing, especially when so much depends on it. This partnership seeks to lead the way in providing new and critical ways of illuminating the reality of the Internet, led by the people who make it. This partnership comes at a time when the consequences of fragmented awareness have never been more stark.”
Julia Angwin, editor-in-chief and founder of The Markup shares the thrill of working with Mozilla as they are sharing the same commitment to a more “transparent and trusted internet”. In her words, Rally is an open invitation for the public to contribute to important research into some of today’s most pressing issues.