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Contao joins the fight against Google's FLoC

by Andreas Schempp – Current issues

In Contao 4.9.15 and 4.11.4 respectively, we have added an HTTP header to block Google's new ad tracking method called FLoC.

The new tracking method has been met with resistance from most browser vendors, GitHub, the privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo and various players across the board. Content management systems have joined in as well, including Joomla and Drupal.

The changes do not have any visible effect on your visitors, it simply tells FLoC to exclude any Contao website from the analysis. The more websites block FLoC, the less relevant the new technology will become.

What is FLoC?

FLoC is short for Federated Learning of Cohorts. Simply put, FLoC groups user into advertising groups based on their browsing behaviour and/or browsing history. Since tracking cookies are more and more blocked by browsers, Google has proposed this new idea and already added it directly into their Chrome browser.

Putting people into larger, anonymous groups instead of individual tracking might seem like a more private option at a first glance. However, it is easy to picture that putting people into groups based on their browsing behaviour - likely including sensitive topics such as race, sexuality or personal hardships - might not be the best idea.

If you want to read more on the topic, there are plenty of resources on the web.

We will see if FLoC will stick around

Since FLoC is a new idea and - according to Google - currently still in beta, its behaviour might change. There's a not so small chance of it being dropped as well, since everybody except Google seems to be opposing. Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to improve privacy for our users and the Contao core team will keep an eye on the latest trends and technology for you.

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