r҉ustic cy͠be̸rpu̵nk🤠🤖 is a user on mastodon.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
r҉ustic cy͠be̸rpu̵nk🤠🤖 @cypnk@mastodon.social
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FYI, when sharing a link, check if the following are present in the URL

utm_content
utm_medium
utm_source
utm_campaign
.( followed by random string)

These are “engagement trackers” and they can reveal your source for the URL

Consider the implications if you include them. They’re not needed for the website you’re visiting to actually show you the content

· Amaroq · 139 · 103

@cypnk All these years of seeing those on URLS and it never occurred to me to think about what they were.

@lordbowlich We don’t normally look at the URL that closely so it’s easy to miss what they mean

@lordbowlich @cypnk You should always be able to delete everything right of (and including) a "#" character.
(Some websites will use this for "data", but that's .. probably obscure?)

@meejah @lordbowlich Some of it may be, especially for single page web pages that work more as "apps", but I'd say try deleting them altogether. If you really want to see what the page shows, you can add each piece one by one until you only have the bare minimum to make it work

@cypnk there are browser extensions you can install to strip them out

@technomancy That does involve installing YetAnotherExtension and I have to trust the developer isn’t after my privacy too. Either way it’s good to be aware of what these are

@cypnk I cloned one from source, hopefully no need to trust the author when you can verify. But yeah, you should be aware for sure.

@technomancy @cypnk Ah, but after you cloned it from source... did you *read* the source?

@ocdtrekkie @cypnk I did but it turned out to be a waste of time because chromium blocks the installation of any extensions that are compiled from source locally; it only allows ones signed by Google.

Browsers, man. Ruining everything. #browsersman

@technomancy @cypnk Well, your first problem is that you're still using Google's browser.

@ocdtrekkie @cypnk yeah I only use it for work-related sites; all my personal browsing is in FF. But now FF copied chromium's extensions model and everything is sad.

@cypnk
i like to add other sites or names to utm_source just for fun.

@alsternerd @cypnk That is our Royal policy on UTM links. We would prefer to have clean URLs, but defecating in the food bucket of the advertising algorithm is too much fun.

@alsternerd @cypnk Now that would be a neat browser add-on/extension :)

@cypnk it was mentioned a while ago that masto should perhaps strip them anyway

@LottieVixen On the surface, that could be a solution for some instances. But editing links does raise other issues like control over posted content

Also, the tracking itself can be dealt with somewhat with Tor and such, but the issue is that the "utm_campaign" which can be unique and can reveal where the URL was found originally

@cypnk yeah I know some utm stuff, hmm... that is probably why it wasn't taken up

lewd & rude shitposting at the algorithms Show more

@cypnk @LottieVixen Tor is for network-location anonymity -- it doesn't stop you saying "I am meejah!!" over an anonymous TCP connection. Tor *Browser* could potentially limit things like utm_campaign (but AFAIK it does not).

@cypnk I always wanted to write a browser extension that remove them, does one exist?

@minirop There may be some privacy extensions that do this, but I haven't really looked. If you do plan on writing, this is a good starting point explaining what they mean:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTM_para

You might be able to guess others if they show up and fit a similar pattern

@cypnk there's a blog I follow that won't show the page if those parameters are in the url and makes you click another link to continue to the page without them, to try and discourage people from sharing links to their site with those parameters in them. If more sites did this they'd go away

@vi Woah! That's hardcore looking out for the visitor. Yeah, that would end this practice very quickly

@cypnk I've been cleaning these out since long before I knew about the privacy implications. ^^;

@Skirmisher @cypnk I wonder if an extension exists to nix them automatically. 🤔

@cypnk It may sound silly, but the main reason why I remove those trackers is because I don't want to share an ugly URL, if I can avoid to

@miramarco I know the feeling. It just looks so much nicer

I also found that I’m more likely to click a “clean” link with fewer parameters. Somehow seeing a bunch of them is a turn off

@cypnk I wrote a short url resolver that doesn't load the final link, that was designed for the Potato chat application.

It knows of a set of worst offenders like Twitter. That way people following your shared won't be tracked.

@cypnk I can't help but feel that there's an add-on for Firefox and Chrome waiting to be written here.

@cypnk I often delete all but utm_source and that I set to “fuck-off”. Hoping there’s some marketing guy looking at a report somewhere wondering how that got in there...

@cypnk is there a browser extension that removes them from any link you click?

@loke I believe some are being worked on right now, but I don't know of one that is currently available for installation. I would very much welcome it

@cypnk I'd love to see a browser extension that immediately strips those out before requesting the URL

@dukhovni Some are being made, but I don't know of any that are currently doing this

@cypnk just learned recently, that QuteBrowser removes them by default! :3

@LottieVixen This is very helpful. I completely forgot about “ref” too

@cypnk
I believe Mastalab removes these automatically.

Is that correct, @tom79 ?

A great app.

@marvin
Yes, you're right. The next release will remove more utm parameters.
@cypnk

@cypnk However if you somehow run in to one using "s" and "k" variables, you have happened across a rare website made in Seaside and they DO need the "s' and "k" variables. 👍