ProTip: Remember to check your URLs for "utm_*" parameters

E.G. If I see:
"?" at the end of the URL you shared, I know you got it from Reddit

Or "utm_campaign=newsletter0120" tells me you probably copied it from an email sent in January of last year

These are never needed to actually reach the page you're sharing. They're just for analytics (UTM tracking modules) and will reveal where you get your information (to us and the site), which may cause privacy issues

· · Tootle for Mastodon · 15 · 75 · 72

@cypnk there are a few browser extensions which clean urls automatically but they're shamefully overlooked imo. the first web browser to build it in by default would be an actual hero.

@moritzheiber @cypnk I'm glad you asked! I haven't used Firefox since Spring or so, but I seem to remember "CleanURLS" was still working, then.

@ayoli Wouldn't be surprised if that too is a tracking source depending on where it was shared 😂

@cypnk there are web browsers to clean these, such as clear urls

@duponin There are, but most folks don't know about them or are on mobile platforms which limit browser and add-on choices

@cypnk it's true and pretty ashamable from web browsers :(

@duponin I hope this can change soon because the future is pretty bleak for privacy

@cypnk Alongside your recommendation I cannot stress enough how far, for the better, this plugin for Firefox has changed my experience watching YouTube:

- No cluttered interface
- No ridiculous recommendations
- No more ridiculous comment section

Simple, clean video playback, and it doesn't set a large amount of cookies, which you can easily block because they're all first-party

@cypnk I use the Firefox extension “Neat URL” to get rid of that shit. Doesn’t get everything every time, but it works well enough for me.

Also incredibly useful is “Redirect AMP to HTML”, which redirects AMP pages to their regular forms.

@Stephen_Stone @cypnk That's a couple of good ones to know about. I've recently started using ClearURLs which I think is similar:

@aetios To date, I've rarely seen folks actually do that. Especially when they share a link on social media

@cypnk i do my best. often you can also remove a large portion of the url because it's just text, like with web shop listings.

@aetios @cypnk Amazon is terrible about this. Otis like a two page long link, but you only need the part up to/dp/123456890


I think there are a few (desktop) browser add-ons that automatically deletes everything after "utm" before loading that page.

@cypnk in addition to "?utm" be sure to look for "?fbclid" which is a #Facebook tracking tag

#infosec #privacy

@cypnk thank god i always have clearurl on for this sort of stuff

Would be nice if Mastodon hat a feature to strip these utm-Parameters automatically from toots.

@cypnk I use Neat URL to strip a lot of this crap without having to think about it:

@cypnk I almost never click on links, I almost always copy link, paste into a new private window, and clean the URL of unnecessary extra tracking parameters.

I actually have a script that does it for me. Does that make me unusual?

@ColinTheMathmo It makes you a cautious netizen, which makes you one of very few, sadly. Companies are counting on there being fewer

@cypnk I started because I like things tidy, and I started to like things tidy because I was on the original C2 wiki. In the early days there, conversations started in thread mode, then got distilled into "document mode". That has had a lasting effect on me.

These days I resent (some of) the ubiquitous, excessive logorrhoea that one gets.

So I trim it.

@ColinTheMathmo @cypnk To be honest I've always done this but the primary motivation was so that people didn't realize I was getting my news from this mailing list or that aggregator site. Yes, I thought it would be a better look if people thought I already knew what news I wanted to find, and then went out and found it. 🙄

@cypnk you can also change them to mess with the marketing people

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