Google announced that it will no longer support third-party cookies, and has now launched its own alternative advertising tracking technology: FloC. After third-party cookies (a tracker that reports consumers’ cross-site activities to create personalized advertisements and improve user experience), there has been great interest in creating alternative tracking methods that have less impact on user privacy. However, many browsers and content management systems (CMS) say “no” to Google’s ad tracking technology.

WordPress has released the code Allow developers to block FloC From their website. But they are not the only ones who are skeptical of deploying Google’s new technology. In fact, Google is the only browser that plans to use FloC. Vivaldi, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Brave have all disclosed their plans to protect users from being “infected by FloC.”

Those who oppose FloC have raised similar privacy issues regarding the use of the new ad tracking technology. But Google claims that FloC can replace third-party cookies and protect user privacy, even though they have tested FloC on unsuspecting users. Let’s take a deeper look at FloC and its features, its impact on users, and whether WordPress developers can use FloC on their websites.

What is FLoC?

What is FLoC?

FloC stands for Joint Learning Group.This is a consumer tracking technology Understand the Internet activities of specific groups And how to create ads and experiences to increase engagement and conversion rates. Google claims that this protects user privacy by placing users anonymously into these groups based only on user interests, clicks, and other factors.

Replacing third-party cookies is a hot issue for advertisers and businesses of all sizes.

Born from the ashes of third-party cookies, FloC seems to be no different. FloC uses machine learning analysis to obtain information about users’ Internet activities, instead of uploading sensitive information to the data center, it runs and stores its data on the client.

Can WordPress users choose to use FloC?

The elimination of third-party cookies and the general distrust of Google FloC prompted advertisers to find other ways to increase conversion rates without violating user privacy. Although WordPress publicly opposes FloC, developers can choose to use a CMS to use it on their website.

When working with developers to help build your site, it can be useful to find developers who understand FIoC to help you decide whether you want to use it.Specializing in finding free developers whose fees are not as high as agency fees, such as Around $80 per hour Or less, but they still have years of relevant experience, so you know you can trust their opinions.

Remember, though WordPress may disable FloC by default, possible Use core coverageThe decision to block FIoC, the default setting is that some administrators may not realize the need to mitigate this privacy threat because it is so new and still in the experimental stage.

Security and privacy issues

Better security

Although many people agree that some kind of tracking mechanism is needed to provide companies with specialized consumer data to hone their marketing strategies and develop products to meet the needs of potential customers, some people are worried about FloC Cause more problems than it can solve.

Bennett Cyphers of the Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed his feelings about FloC, Call it a “horrible idea.”

He said, “The technology will avoid the privacy risks of third-party cookies, but it will create new risks in the process,” and “it may also exacerbate many of the most serious non-privacy issues of behavioral advertising, including discrimination and predatory behavior. Target.”

Recently, WordPress discussed the possibility of completely blocking FloC on the grounds that unsuspecting users have security issues. Although they have not made any clear decisions on this matter, they have published several lines of code that prevent FloC from running, and several other developers have released WordPress plugins that disable FloC. This is one of the most important tips to remember when customizing a WordPress website.

In addition to the fact that FloC is just another version of third-party cookies, here are some specific reasons why users and developers should pay attention to FloC:

1. Fingerprint Recognition

The practice of collecting multiple discrete pieces of information about a user’s browsing activity to create a unique identifier is called fingerprinting. Presumably, the FloC group will contain thousands of users, and the group ID should not be able to distinguish individuals from groups. In theory, this provides a breeding ground for bad actors to use this kind of fingerprint recognition to further infer information about individuals.

Fingerprinting is not new, some websites are already using it-for example, visitor analysis provides this and Call their service cookieless tracking – Interestingly, they sell it as an additional security feature. Please note that visitor analysis does not allow cross-site or overall device tracking, while FloC does.

2. Cross-content exposure

In order for FloC to be useful to advertisers, groups must be able to reveal information about user behavior. Based on the group ID, every site the user visits already knows who they are, without having to perform any work to track the user’s activities on the Internet. In this way, FloC is like a larger third-party cookie.

3. Shrink the queue

Although Google claims that FloC will Cannot access personal identity, As groups become smaller and more targeted, this becomes a possibility. The more websites an individual visits, the more specific the group becomes. A new group is created every time another website is visited, and there are fewer and fewer users in a particular group.

4. Predatory targets

The shrinking group paved the way for the spread of predatory targets.Flocculant Use unsupervised algorithms Create cohorts of their common interests and behaviors, these cohorts are intrinsically linked to identification factors and sensitive characteristics.

Therefore, FloC will not be able to distinguish demographic data such as gender, race, age, income, and even factors such as mental health and sexual orientation. These groupings will inevitably lead to discrimination and empower bad actors to prey on disadvantaged groups.

5. Threats to “free internet”

The biggest threat posed by FloC is the freedom of users to choose a digital experience. By popularizing browsing activities, users will not be able to get an unplanned web experience. Advertisers and search engines will be able to customize the results of users based on their previous browsing activity and other factors that can be established by creating groups.

Many brands are looking for tracking alternatives to help them create meaningful and engaging content, so many companies are trying new ways to collect user data based on browsing history and activity. Unfortunately, these new solutions are no different from third-party cookies including Google FloC. Since user privacy is at the core of its strategy, WordPress is not keen on retaining FloC for a long time. However, if developers really want to use it for advertising tracking purposes, they can enable FloC.

In all the FloC debates, a bigger issue looms, and that is that the new ad tracking technology is just another step in Google’s monopoly on online advertising and data collection. As long as any entity, program, or software can track and analyze a user’s browsing activity, there is no digital self-determination. The Internet has become a large-scale advertising experience based on user information. Ad tracking technology has no palace in the free and open web. This is the message that WordPress and others are trying to convey.