I’ve been meaning to tell the origin story of Facebook Disconnect for a while now. The extension’s first birthday gave me an excuse to. This post is republished from the shiny, new Disconnect blog.
Exactly one year ago, I noticed a virus infecting the web. Facebook widgets, mostly Like buttons, were popping up everywhere — alongside the articles I read, the music I listened to, the videos I watched. Worse, Facebook was (and is) serving these widgets off the same domain (
facebook.com) as their login cookies.
Being a tracking aficionado (I developed DoubleClick’s mobile ad server and the, kludgy, precursor to Google’s AdWords API), I recognized Facebook’s strategy — collecting user browsing habits to sell to advertisers.
I’d done side projects before, including another extension that had 37 users. But I was thinking big this time. I imagined Facebook Disconnect could have 50 users.
I was off by three orders of magnitude and change.
Today, Facebook Disconnect has over 150,000 weekly users. And the extension has been Chrome only, till now.