Social media and networking sites are great. They help us connect with our friends and family, and are an ideal source for current news. The problem with these sites, however, is that they tend to disseminate the personal information you give them to third parties while you’re browsing the web.
Every time you visit a site that uses Facebook Connect, for example, Facebook receives a notification through its servers. The information about your visit that Facebook receives is subsequently used to personalize the ads you see while you are using Facebook itself. Google also personalizes your search experience by using information you’ve provided them. By now, internet users are so accustomed to this that it’s often easy to forget it’s happening in the first place. Information such as your name, birthday, email, and location that you input into these sites can jeopardize your personal privacy if it ends up in the wrong hands.
That’s exactly why ex-Google developer Brian Kennish originally created Facebook Disconnect. It’s an extension for Google Chrome that blocks third party sites from sending your information to Facebook servers. The extension still allows you to access Facebook itself, however. Facebook Disconnect has been installed by nearly 75,000 users since its creation in October and is a top-ten-rated Chrome extension.
Now Kennish has gone one step further and created Disconnect, an extension that works on both Chrome and Rock Melt browsers. Much like its predecessor, Disconnect disables tracking and information gathering by third party websites back to Facebook servers. It also goes a step further, however, by doing the same thing with other popular social networking sites like Digg, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo. And it does all this while not significantly degrading your web browsing experience. Responsible internet users are now one step closer to ensuring their private information does in fact remain private while browsing the web.