Is Facebook tracking Fortran Discourse users?

I noticed Firefox is dutifully blocking Facebook tracking of users of this website. Is there a reason why Facebook is tracking here? Generally any time a Facebook “like” symbol is added anywhere on the Internet, Facebook tracks and rakes data to sell to marketing companies. Most people are not aware this is going on and this is why Mozilla defaults to block it now.

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Hi @JerryD,

I can’t reproduce that problem on my machine (Firefox 80.0.1, Ubuntu 20.04). Nothing blocked nor by Firefox or UBlock Origin, even when a Facebook tab is opened beside Fortran Discourse.


@JerryD Thank you for reporting, I will look into what is tracked exactly. I don’t know from the top of my head. The instance is hosted by

To my knowledge and understanding, there is no Facebook tracking here. See my screenshot from Brave:

(I can confirm that Brave successfully blocks and reports cross-site trackers on other sites.)

See the Privacy Policy for free Discourse instances (what we have) and specifically how data is shared with other sites.

For how Discourse itself tracks user activity (which posts were read and how long), see this post.

If you look in the upper left corner you will see part of a small purple dot. This version of Firefox is running what they call Facebook Container. If I hover the mouse over that purple dot it pops up a little pop over message that says “Facebook Container has disabled this button and Blocked Facebook from tracking your visit to this page” The only “button” I bet is that icon with the letter F for Fortran and I bet this is a false positive. I wonder if they are using pattern recognition to spot this stuff. I will examine the “source” for this page and then send a note to Mozilla about it. I think it is sort of funny if that is what is going on here.

Upon further examination I find " <div class=“hidden” id=“data-preloaded” " The string is very very long and includes text for Twitter and Facebook. It is hidden. I put the first few items in quotes to get it to even show here. Very sneaky. Anyway, it is not a big deal to me, everything on these pages seem to work and the Facebook Container is doing it’s job. My biggest issue is that many many websites do not give users full disclosure as this is part of their “backend revenue stream”. This is why Mozilla is pushing back in their browser. It could be a privacy concern, so do be careful what you post. Cheers

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The string you mention is just preloaded data in a <div> element. It’s loaded in your browser but there’s no script running there. I looked at the page source, and although I see that there are Discourse js scripts that are loaded and I don’t know what exactly they do, I trust Brave report and the Discourse privacy policy.

I suspect that what your Facebook Container catches the Share on Facebook button. Under any post, you can click on the “chain” icon which gives you a URL to the post and a few social share buttons: Twitter, Facebook, and Email. Can you test this by trying to click on the Facebook button? If my assumption is correct, this is what you see as being reported as blocked, and it shouldn’t let you do it.

If there is desire, we can choose to disable sharing to social. I’m all for disabling sharing to Facebook, but would prefer keeping the share to Twitter button.

What do you think?


I tried to analyze the IP packets with the Wireshark ( network analyzer and saw nothing which seems to be related to Facebook when browsing the Fortran Discourse.
But I am not an expert with that tool…

@JerryD, according to Discourse, you are right that it is a false positive, see relevant discussion here:

Thanks for info. not to be concerned about.