It is now commonplace to find that the web sites you visit feature buttons that enable you to like article on Facebook or share them via this and other social networks. While this is great from an audience participation point of view, there are also privacy concerns to keep in mind. You might expect that the likes of Facebook would be aware of which sites you have been visiting when you like a Like button, but you might be surprised to learn that the mere presence of these buttons is enough to broadcast this information to such social networks.
If you would rather be in control of just what details of your browsing habits are shared, ShareMeNot is a browser extension that’s available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that provides you with precisely this option. With the extension installed, any of the call-home features attached to any of these buttons is automatically disabled, helping to protect your privacy and security.
But this does not mean that the social networking buttons have been rendered useful. There may well be times when you would like to share a page on Google+ or Like a page on Facebook. If you click the buttons on a site that features them, they will function exactly as normal, but the point is that the social networks associated with them would not know about the page you were visiting until the second you clicked the button. You can also specify a list of sites for which such buttons should never be blocked.
It could be argued that the extension is slightly less useful to Firefox users, as choosing to disable third-party cookies can help with the problem, but for Chrome users, or anyone who is particularly concerned about their privacy. One of the prices of having access to the internet is that at least a small proportion of your privacy is sacrificed, but ShareMeNot enables you to better control what information social networks can learn about you.
Although currently only a research project, this extension brings a valuable tool to concerned internet users.