Privacy Browser Plugin: Fuzzify.meROLE
Researcher, Programmer, UX Design
Fuzzify.me is a privacy browser extension available for both Chrome and Firefox that helps give Facebook users more insight into how advertisers on the platform might be targeting them. The tool allows users to automatically and routinely deny advertisers access to their personal information, while also showing them a complete timeline of how they are being targeted over time.
The project was a collaboration between myself, Hang Do Thi Duc, and Joana Varon of Coding Rights as part of our time as 2017-18 Mozilla Fellows. We worked together on both the development of the tool, which can be accessed here, and accompanying research into how advertisements on Facebook often target women in discriminatory ways.
After installation, the browser extension begins assembling a running list of all the Facebook advertisements you are being exposed to over time. You can view all those advertisements in the Fuzzify.me dashboard, as well as the explanation Facebook provides for why you are seeing that advertisement.
All the information is saved locally, so only the user has access to the information the browser extension collects.
Besides providing greater transparency, the tool also helps you minimize the information advertisers have about you through the Facebook ad platform. Facebook regularly assigns users “ads categories,” which can be viewed in the ad preferences page on Facebook. From the Fuzzify.me dashboard, you can click “Clean Ads,” automatically removing all the categories that are visible to advertisers. The categories you cleared from Facebook is also logged into your dashboard.
Over time, you will able to compare how your targeted ads are changing over time after regularly clearing out your ad categories. We want people to use this tool to investigate whether or not the privacy controls Facebook has implemented are actually effective at preventing or minimizing ad targeting.
For more information, you can see the code on Github.