Facebook is a free service, but the price we pay is often our personal data. Of course, pretty much every site you visit tags you with cookies to track you and display personalized ads. That’s why Apple introduced a change this week to its Safari web browser, ostensibly to protect user privacy. The new version of the browser, currently in beta mode, will automatically identify and block cookies that are tracking users. While that sounds great in principle, this new policy actually stands to benefit tech giants like Facebook.
“Now your browser history is your own,” Apple’s senior vice president Craig Federighi said while announcing the change. “It’s not about blocking ads, but your privacy is protected.”
However, what he didn’t say was how this new feature could benefit big sites like Facebook. The Verge noticed that Safari puts a time limit on first-party cookies directly from the websites you visit, keeping them around for 24 hours. These are different than third-party cookies, which attach themselves to users without their having voluntarily visited a site. So, if you visit Facebook once a day, it will continue to be allowed to track you. Of course, the vast majority of Facebook users visit the site that often, so even with the new browser version, the site should be able to track you just as much as ever.