Boo! Facebook Disconnect’s Scary Install Dialog

On October 31, 2010

It’s Halloween, a good time to answer a frequently asked question about this scary confirmation box that pops up when you install Facebook Disconnect:

This extension can access: Your data on all websites

Google Chrome Extensions, like all installable software, can potentially do bad things and the extension gallery displays accordingly dire warning messages. Unlike compiled programs, though, extensions let you easily view their (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) source code to make sure they don’t actually do anything malicious.

Facebook Disconnect triggers a warning because the extension has to inject JavaScript into every page you browse to disable the component Facebook links. There are three ways to get a packaged extension’s code (a topic worthy of its own post), but you can just look in my repository since I’ve open-sourced Facebook Disconnect.

Update (December 3, 2010): If you’d rather take my word for it than read my code — Facebook Disconnect doesn’t store your personal data and never will, unless you opt in to anonymously provide data for diagnostic purposes in the future.

Letters to the Editor

SanjayC said...

love facebook disconnect ... good work!

Full Decent said...

don't look in the repository, look in the code of the actual extension you are downloading!!

Rico said...

You have something so facebook will stop stocking my cell's text?
Love the app BTw ;)

Brian Kennish said...

Agreed. Examining the live code is best.

RipRap said...

Great App. Should be on the MUST HAVE or TOP TEN list for all users that browse the web. TYVM for the app.

FwranksfatFannie said...

Thanks, I was wondering about this. I already have Hostsman and Mvps.org's host file. Keep up the good work. :0)

MPitsk said...

Where are the uninstall instructions?

Brian Kennish said...

http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=113907

MPitsk said...

This add-on blocks all communication between apps and Facebook, even the ones you want to use. I am discontinuing my use of Google Chrome until I receive instructions on how to remove this add-on.

MPitsk said...

I found it in tools, extensions, uninstall. If you use any apps in Facebook, this add-on will not allow them to communicate.

Espen Knutsen said...

This is about the most usefull ext. application you cab get your hands on if you are using facebook in any level fro, "occationally to hook up with friends and get tuned up ewith goship and other crap posted on FB.,,, ^^

TCHN2KDZ said...

so will this app block scrabble and Farmtown?

Brian Kennish said...

That’s what I hear. When Chrome 9 hits the stable channel, I’ll provide an on/off button. Try Disconnect, which also blocks Facebook and has such a button, till then:

https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/jeoacafpbcihiomhlakheieifhpjdfeo

Doogles B said...

Thanks for incarnating altruism and fostering and protecting a sense of appropriate boundaries for us non-cyber-savvy no-brainers. Great Christmas present :-))

EyemNotFree said...

I want to know about the monitoring device in my back. Everybody else seems to know about it.

Holly Harken said...

I'm not running Chrome. I have the basic IE and Firefox. When I tried to install the program it told me to install Chrome first. What is Chrome?

Brian Kennish said...

Chrome is a browser (made by Google) like IE and Firefox, except much faster. You can get Chrome at http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/landing_chrome.html?hl=en.

NewYorkRober said...

Where can I view the code? For improvement if possible.

??

Scarry said...

This is unbelieveable. Thank you Brian.

Jim said...

Brian, This a great idea, I will be first to download when you have something for Firefox. I have tried running Chrome but have had issues and tossed it.

Yodi said...

How does this work when you have adblock plus in chrome as well?

Brian Kennish said...

Disconnect or Facebook Disconnect should work well together with Adblock (Plus). The Disconnect extensions block stuff the Adblock extensions don’t and vice versa.

Brian Kennish said...

http://code.google.com/p/byoogle/source/browse/trunk/google/chrome/fbdc/

Ntibinti said...

I have two questions

-Is is necessary to have facebook disconnect extention, if there is the disconnect extention installed already ?

-Does facebook track us when we have logged out from our account ?

Brian Kennish said...

Disconnect does what Facebook Disconnect does (and more), so you’re covered by installing Disconnect alone.

Even after you’ve logged out, Facebook leaves a couple cookies on your machine (for another two years) that look to me like user identifiers. These apparent UIDs continue to be passed to Facebook along with your browsing activity.

Phonicphotonic said...

is there a linux fire fox version yet?
Or for any linux browser?

Brian Kennish said...

Facebook Disconnect, and Disconnect, are compatible with Chrome on Linux, right now. I think the Firefox versions will be out next month.

Bikeyoga said...

hey man do you need help? i've got the background & interest if'n ya need it. @bikeyoga

Susan said...

I'm gonna give your extension a try! I am kinda sick of all them LIKES! And also I don't totally trust FB....

Siddharth Balaravi said...

Ironic that I should grant this plugin access to my data for it to prevent facebook from accessing the same data! What's the reasoning, between choosing from two evils, choose the one you've never tried before?

Beavisbaker62 said...

Does anyone know if installing Facebook Disconnect plays havoc with some applications in Facebook, especially Puzzled Hearts?

♥๑۩۞۩๑ Uyen ๑۩۞۩ ♥ said...

thank!

Brian Kennish said...

If you want to help test the Firefox version, email me and I’ll send you a prerelease copy.

Brian Kennish said...

Yes, Facebook Disconnect can break apps on Facebook. I’d recommend uninstalling the extension and installing my newer extension, Disconnect, which lets you unblock Facebook and other services in these cases:

http://j.mp/dchrome

Brian Kennish said...

Did you read this post?

Siddharth Balaravi said...

Of course, I did read the post. And I did mention that I was kidding. No offence meant mate ;)

Brian Kennish said...

I wasn’t offended and understand this concern — that’s why I wrote the post and asked if you read it.

The point is Disconnect is transparent: You (or anybody) can look at the code and see exactly what the extension is doing (or more accurately, not) with your data. You can’t do the same with Facebook, Google, Twitter, et cetera.

Brian Kennish said...

The Firefox version will be available soon. If you want to help test, email me and I’ll send you a copy now.

Brian Kennish said...

I have something for Firefox! If you want to help test, email me and I’ll send you a prerelease copy.

Fuckyou said...

why do you want all my data if you are making an app for stopping data tracking?

If you are really altruistic (and not evil), you should make it such that it does not track my data. my web history, and tabs.

Instead it gives a CREEPY warning... this app can track all your data on all your sites, Web History, and all my open tabs...
what the.............. How ironic.... I am not buying this.

Brian Kennish said...

http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Read-PreK-Hooked-Phonics/dp/1601437641

Dennis Carr said...

He already answered your question in the post.  Learn to read and don't be ignorant.

Spruce said...

Is there any help of deleting cookies? Then facebook can't follow the pages I go to.

Brian Kennish said...

Both the extensions, Disconnect and Facebook Disconnect, already prevent Facebook from seeing the pages you go to.

jomamaiscool said...

is the firefox version out yet? :3

Brian Kennish said...

Yep: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/disconnect/.

Herr Lindeman said...

Strange that people get scared when they get a warning like this one but heedlessly trusts known corporate monsters that smiles while they suck your blood. :)

Rastaxp said...

THANK YOU, SIR. I'll take my hat off. 

Pam_cooksey said...

I installed it and now I'm having trouble with all my apps on facebook.
How do i uninstall it?

JC said...

Since installing, FB games will not load. I have uninstalled the extensions but the problem persists. 

Imbri said...

 I disabled java on my computer so this probably won't work for me.

:-) said...

Thanks so much for this App Brian. :-)
Regards from Algeria. 

BB said...

Lots of websites use JavaScript to function. If disabling Java disables the  script, then this is a bad idea.

Ainwen9 said...

how does it work? does it really work?

William said...

Since you're "injecting JavaScript" into every page that I browse, will this slow down loading times at all?

William said...

Since you have to "inject JavaScript" into every page that I visit, will this have any effect on loading times?

Josh Lyon said...

Java and JavaScript are two different things.

Caren said...

Perhaps you should change the warning to a more specific one so you dont have to be so broad and end up having this scary comment? Once you have done this can you please send a message to all users of your app? I would like to keep this app as I dont trust FB!

Guest22 said...

How do you remove the Facebook cookies that persist for up to two years after you delete your account?

Ztreeb said...

I'm going to ignore F@#kyou's comments and do what the other Susan is doing--INSTALLING your app.  Thanks for coming up with it!

Ryan Takahashi said...

Is there a way to add exceptions for certain sites? I find that this extension messes up some facebook apps. Likely because they are off-site but being loaded into facebook via iFrame.

www.cyberkey.in said...

nice man

Hates Fuckyou's said...

WOW.  Read, and stop bagging people who make great apps.

Ken D said...

It appears to disable "Wundermaps" from weather underground.com
Is not acceptable to me, disabled.

Liz Buchannan Snider said...

I have IE, Firefox & Chrome on my Computer.  The MAIN one I use is Chrome.  Do I need this for all browsers or just Chrome since that's the one I use???

David Maxey said...

Is this same feature for Facebook Disconnect in the original newly popularized "Disconnect" chrome extension?

Mac Mcleod said...

umm i think whats its implying is that is can track data it needs in order to block the facebook parts on other sites? thats my thought. 

Pramod said...

awesome .. i just love it .