Opting out of FLoC

Dwayne Harris   ·   About 450 words

Image from eff.org

Google has proposed a new way to enable/continue ad targeting now that third-party cookies are being phased out, called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

There have been a lot of articles written over the past few days about how nobody wants it and how shitty of an idea it is:

From that last link from the EFF:

Users and advocates must reject FLoC and other misguided attempts to reinvent behavioral targeting. We implore Google to abandon FLoC and redirect its effort towards building a truly user-friendly Web.

I don’t know how that’s gonna happen when Google makes most of its money off this stuff. This kind of thing is fundamentally what Google has to be. They have no interest in a “truly user-friendly Web” if that means actually making ad tracking harder.

Anyway, a few of the articles I’ve been reading mention a HTTP header you can add to a web page to opt out of cohort calculation. As far as I can tell, websites without advertising1 aren’t included in the experiment so I didn’t have to add it. But I did anyway. Mostly because it was just 1 line of code and a comment:

1// Disable FLoC
2w.Header().Set("Permissions-Policy", "interest-cohort=()")

But considering the reaction the proposal has gotten so far, I don’t really see this going anywhere (at least until they change the methods a little and rename/reword/rebrand it and try again).

  1. This website isn’t a part of any ad networks, and doesn’t make any income from advertising yet. BUT, I will be introducing a Weekly Sponsorship program soon. It won’t rely on ad networks (or anything third party), so FLoC still isn’t really applicable. ↩︎

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