How Firefox’s Total Cookie Protection and container extensions work together

When we recently announced the full public roll-out of Firefox Total Cookie Protection — a new default browser feature that automatically confines cookies to the websites that created them, thus eliminating the most common method that sites use to track you around the web — it raised a question: Do container extensions like Mozilla’s Facebook Container and Multi-Account Containers still serve a purpose, since they similarly perform anti-tracking functions by suppressing cookie trails?

In short, yes. Container extensions offer additional benefits even beyond the sweeping new privacy enhancements introduced with Firefox Total Cookie Protection.

Total Cookie Protection + container extensions = enhanced anti-tracking 

Total Cookie Protection isolates cookies from each website you visit, so Firefox users now receive comprehensive cookie suppression wherever they go on the web. 

However, Total Cookie Protection does not isolate cookies from different open tabs under the same domain. So for instance, if you have Google Shopping open in one tab, Gmail in another, and Google News in a third, Google will know you have all three pages open and connect their cookie trails. 

Total Cookie Protection creates a separate cookie jar for each website you visit. (Illustration: Meghan Newell)

But with a container extension, you can isolate cookies even within parts or pages of the same domain. You could have Gmail open in one container tab and Google Shopping and News in other containers (for instance, under different accounts) and Google will be oblivious to their relation. 

Beyond this added privacy protection, container extensions are most useful as an easy means of separating different parts of your online life (e.g. personal, work) within the same browser. 

A couple reasons you might want Multi-Account Containers installed on Firefox… 

  • Avoid logging in and out of different accounts under the same web platform; for example, with containers you could have separate instances of Slack open at the same time — one for work, another for friends. 
  • If multiple family members or roommates share Firefox on one computer, each person can easily access their own container with a couple clicks.

While, technically, you can create a Facebook container within Multi-Account Containers, the Facebook Container extension is intended to provide a simple, targeted solution for so many Facebook users concerned about the pervasive ways the social media behemoth tracks you around the web. 

Facebook tracks your online moves outside of Facebook through the various widgets you find embedded ubiquitously around the web (e.g. “Like” buttons or Facebook comments on articles, social share features, etc.). The convenience of automatic sign-in when you visit Facebook is because of cookies. However, this convenience comes at a steep privacy cost — those same cookies can tell Facebook about any page you visit associated with one of its embedded features. 

But with Facebook Container installed on Firefox, you maintaIn the convenience of automatic Facebook sign-in while cutting off the cookie trail to other sites you visit outside of Facebook. 

So if you want superior anti-tracking built right into your browser, plus the enhanced privacy protections and organizational convenience of containers, install a container extension on Firefox and rest easy knowing your cookie trails aren’t exposed. 

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