Firefox 90 With 'SmartBlock 2.0' That Targets Facebook Login On Third-Party Websites

Firefox 90

The world is changing fast, and in technology's perspective, changes can be very fast.

Firefox is one of the few remaining browsers with its own rendering engine, as Opera, Brave, Edge, and others now utilize Google’s Chromium engine. What this means, Mozilla is totally independent from Google's project, and can experiment on improvements that Google may not be interested in.

What's more, Firefox is partly built on Rust, a programming language originally developed by Mozilla. This makes the browser faster in some criteria, than others in the market.

And this time, Firefox 90 has been released.

On desktop, the browser adds a number of improvements, as well as rendering changes.

For example, Firefox 90 adds the ability to save, manage, and auto-fill credit card information. Firefox 90 also rolls out WebRender (Quantum Render), the faster page compositor written in Rust, to most PCs. WebRender is already available on all Android devices except for Chromebooks and a number of phones and tablets.

Firefox which focuses on security, has removed FTP support.

The browser has also improved print-to-PDF functionality, individual exceptions to HTTPS-only mode, an about:third-party page to help identify compatibility issues introduced by third-party applications, and more.

Most notably, Mozilla through Firefox 90 has updated SmartBlock feature that should rank up protections from cross-site tracking while making sure that site logins still function.

"SmartBlock intelligently fixes up web pages that are broken by our tracking protections, without compromising user privacy. SmartBlock does this by providing local stand-ins for blocked third-party tracking scripts. These stand-in scripts behave just enough like the original ones to make sure that the website works properly. They allow broken sites relying on the original scripts to load with their functionality intact," as explained by Mozilla.

In other words, Mozilla's built-in SmartBlock privacy feature makes it easier for users to keep their tracking protection settings cranked up, without breaking individual websites.

Firefox 90 updates SmartBlock to version 2.0, which targets Facebook login.

Using this SmartBlock 2.0, Firefox can block Facebook scripts by default, because Mozilla partner Disconnect can identify Facebook domains on its list of known third-party trackers.

The good thing about this is that, SmartBlock works also on blocking Facebook logins on third-parties. The bad thing however, third parties can have their login page broken because of this.

This happens because Firefox has automatically blocked third-party tracking content from Facebook to prevent any possible tracking of users by Facebook on that page.

In a blog post explaining SmartBlock 2.0, Mozilla’s Tom Wisniewski and Arthur Edelstein said that users are given an option to disable SmartBlock temporarily, by clicking on the "Continue with Facebook" option.

Doing this will make SmartBlock to unblock Facebook script, allowing it to run again.

"Prior to Firefox 90, if you were using a Private Browsing window, when you clicked on the 'Continue with Facebook' button to sign in, the 'sign in' would fail to proceed because the third-party Facebook script required had been blocked by Firefox."

"Now, SmartBlock 2.0 in Firefox 90 eliminates this login problem. Initially, Facebook scripts are all blocked, just as before, ensuring your privacy is preserved. But when you click on the “Continue with Facebook” button to sign in, SmartBlock reacts by quickly unblocking the Facebook login script just in time for the sign-in to proceed smoothly."

"SmartBlock 2.0 provides this new capability on numerous websites. On all websites where you haven’t signed in, Firefox continues to block scripts from Facebook that would be able to track you."

It should be noted that SmartBlock is a built-in mechanism that is only available on Firefox's private browsing and strict modes.

And lastly, Firefox 90 also introduced a background updater for Windows, which allows a small background application to check for, download, and install Firefox updates while the browser is not running.

Firefox 90 is also giving some enhancements on Android, as it is introducing auto-fill support, Back/Forward Cache (BFCache) for some pages, and more.