WordPress joins popular web browsers to fight Google FLoC: Blogger’s favorite platform has a four-line code to block new ad tracking

WordPress Google FLoC
Blogging platform too opposes Google FLoC. Pic credit: Werner Moser/Pixabay

WordPress is the latest to join the movement against Google FLoC. The popular blogging and Content Management System (CMS) has indicated it plans to oppose Google’s replacement to Cookies.

The crusade against Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) has just intensified. The world’s most popular CMS has openly indicated it plans to block the controversial alternative identifier to third-party cookies by default.

With WordPress the blogging ecosystem rallies against Google FLoC:

WordPress confirmed it plans on treating Google’s new FLoC tracking technology as a security concern. Hence, the platform plans to block it by default on WordPress sites.

With WordPress throwing its weight behind the fight against Google FLoC, the replacement to Cookies for user tracking has lost a big chunk of the internet. After all, WordPress is by far the most popular and widely used CMS or blogging system across the internet.

“WordPress powers approximately 41% of the web – and this community can help combat racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and discrimination against those with mental illness with four lines of code,” observes WordPress.

WordPress is the latest platform to oppose Google FloC. The search giant’s replacement to Cookies has had no takers from any of the major web browsers.

In addition to Brave, Vivaldi, and Firefox, even Microsoft has indicated it does not favor FLoC for the Edge browser. Microsoft’s opposition is significant primarily because it shares the same Chromium base that Google Chrome uses.

Google recently started experimenting with FLoC.  It has roped in about 0.5 percent of Chrome browser users for the trial.

Reports claim Google hasn’t officially invited or sought consent from any Chrome user. Moreover, as Cookies aren’t completely out of the picture, users’ browsing history is now part of Cookies and FLoC.

As Google Chrome commands two-thirds of the browser market share, the company wasn’t concerned. However, with WordPress opposing FLoC, things could get heat up quickly.

WordPress plans on blocking FLoC with just four lines of code:

WordPress reportedly considers Google’s FLoC technology a security concern. Hence, the platform will begin blocking it in future versions.

The platform plans to disable FLoC with just four lines of code. This code will cause the blogging platform to issue a HTTP request header to tell the browser that FLoC should be disabled for the site.

function disable_floc($headers) {

$headers[‘Permissions-Policy’] = ‘interest-cohort=()’;

return $headers;

}

 

add_filter(‘wp_headers’, ‘disable_floc’);

The platform has indicated it is aware some site admins will likely want to enable this technology. Such admins would probably have the knowledge and skill to override the above code, feels WordPress.

The platform also indicated it might add a setting that allows admins to control whether FLoC is permitted. However, awareness is key, and many unassuming admins, as well as users, could automatically opt into it without fully understanding the new tracking technology.

“When balancing the stakeholder interests, the needs of website administrators who are not even aware that this is something that they need to mitigate – and the interests of the users and visitors to those sites, is simply more compelling”.

Websites relying on WordPress can expect the FLoC-blocking code to arrive in the next update to the platform. WordPress 5.8 could arrive in July 2021 and could include the aforementioned four lines of code.

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