As you may know, when the EFF Released Privacy Badger as Do Not Track Tool I was excited to share the news, and curious to see how it worked in real life. On one hand it is a great way to see what sites are actually keeping track of you, and give you some control over that.
That’s a good thing!
On the other hand, I’ve seen it blocking a number of things that, yes, are tracking me, but that I actually want to use. For example, sharing buttons like the ones you see on my site. (Well, maybe. If you’re using Privacy Badger, you actually might not see them.) On some other sites I’ve seen the buttons with a note next to them that Privacy Badger replaced the actual button, and the new one may or may not work. In my testing, it’s been about 50/50. Sharing buttons, as you might imagine, need to be able to track you across domains in order to know who you are logged in as on social networks. That makes sense, if I want to tweet a link to an article I’m reading, having to log in each time to Twitter would be a pain. With Privacy Badger on, I don’t have that problem per se, since I have to copy the URL and then go over to Twitter and create a tweet with it.
I know, that’s not easier. 😉
So off to the Badger settings, which took a little trial and error to work out. For example, on my own site, I’m being tracked by WordPress (naturally since I am logged in), Google Analytics, Statcounter, and a few other things that are a result of using the twitter box and other interactive features on the site. Turns out there was also a blocked cookie from Amazon AWS that was causing my problem, since Shareaholic uses AWS to display the buttons! Once I allowed Amazon’s cookie, they worked again, but now I’m being tracked by Amazon on my own site, which you may or may not be happy with.
I actually understand that, but if you make the choice to continue blocking the cookies required for the sharing buttons to work, I hope that you’ll forgive me for making sharing posts from the site less than easy. That’s not my intention, but the easy way to allow sharing involves having a service that tracks you. That’s the trade off.
As a web user, I want control over how I’m being tracked. As a website owner, I want to make it easy for you to read and share my posts. It’s quite a conundrum. What ever you decide, I respect that. Just make sure you have a way to share posts that you find useful, cool? Perhaps with a browser extension for Buffer or some other social media tool?
I’m actually finding that to be quite useful, as I can share anything I find interesting regardless of what buttons are on the site, and I can schedule them to appear at different times of the day, you know for all those folks who live in other times zones!