When you load a website on the Internet that has social media buttons embedded, you are automatically sharing information with those social media sites.
And this happens even if you do not interact with those buttons at all. Facebook, Twitter or Google can use the data to track your movement on the Web.
The absolute minimum that they get to know is the IP address, browser header (e.g. which browser is used, which operating system) and of course the visited web page. If you happen to be logged in, those information can be easily linked to your account.
ShareMeNot is a new Firefox add-on that protects web users from those social media buttons. The add-on disables the button functionality until you decide to interact with it. The extension does this without completely removing the buttons from web pages.
The Facebook Like, Twitter tweet or Google+ buttons are still displayed along with information like the number of likes the site has received by other users.
ShareMeNot blocks communication with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Digg and LinkedIn automatically on every web page that you visit after installing the add-on.
This is indicated by the add-on's icon in the Firefox status bar which displays in red if elements are blocked from communicating with third party servers on the active web page.
Since the buttons are still displayed on the page, it is super easy to interact with them. A click on the button activates them. That's actually all there is to it. It is alternatively possible to reload one or multiple buttons from the context menu of the add-on that is triggered with a click on the status bar.
You can furthermore disable the blocking of a specific service in the browser. This is done in the add-on's preferences. The settings there contains a list of site exceptions where trackers won't be blocked on.
ShareMeNot is ideal for Firefox users who do not run add-ons like NoScript 24/7 on their browser. The solution itself is more elegant than previous solutions which simply removed the buttons and scripts from web pages, especially if those buttons are used from time to time by you
Firefox users can install ShareMeNot from the official Firefox add-on repository.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.