According to the latest news, Firefox 90 has introduced the next version of Smart Block, the browser’s tracker blocking mechanism. It is built into its private browsing. The strict modes have now come with an improved design to prevent buttons that let you log into websites using your Facebook account from breaking. This was announced by Mozilla today.
SmartBlock was first introduced in Firefox 87 which was released in March 2021. If you are eager to know how it works you can check it from the company’s official blog. Technically, SmartBlock intelligently fixes up web pages that are broken by our tracking protections. The best part of the story is all the while, SmartBlock does not compromise user privacy.
SmartBlock does this by providing local stand-ins for blocked third-party tracking scripts which behave like original ones. This is done to make sure that the website works properly. SmartBlock allows broken sites relying on the original scripts to load with their functionality intact. On its way, previously, it often used to break Facebook login buttons.
In a new blog post, Mozilla’s Tom Wisniewski and Arthur Edelstein explained in brief why this happens. They wrote, “Prior to Firefox 90, if you were using a Private Browsing window, when you clicked on the ‘Continue with Facebook’ button to sign in, the ‘sign in’ would fail to proceed because the third-party Facebook script required had been blocked by Firefox.”
Note that with Firefox 90 and SmartBlock 2.0, users would be able to use Facebook login buttons. During this time, SmartBlock 2.0 will block cross site tracking. Tom Wisniewski and Arthur Edelstein wrote that on the updated browser “initially, Facebook scripts are all blocked, just as before, ensuring your privacy is preserved. But when you click on the ‘Continue with Facebook’ button to sign in, SmartBlock reacts by quickly unblocking the Facebook login script just in time for the sign-in to proceed smoothly.”
Note that today, Mozilla has already launched Firefox 90. The updated browser comes with a bunch of small yet important upgrades.