WordPress has announced it will treat Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) as a security concern, as wider discussions among hosting providers continue over the new advertising technology.
Google has billed FLoC as an alternative to invasive third-party cookies that will balance the need for greater user privacy and the interests of web publishers. Instead of tracking users an individual basis, FLoC places people into groups based on their browsing habits.
However, in a blog post, WordPress claims FLoC is likely to facilitate discrimination relating to factors such as employment and housing status. The company also predicts Google’s new tracking technology will make it easier for “predatory targeting of unsophisticated consumers”.
As a result, WordPress will consider blocking FLoC tracking by default.
Further FLoC fears
WordPress went on to express further concerns over tracking mechanisms and the sharing of data without informed consent, which could cause complications and make it more difficult for regulators to protect people.
With WordPress powering 41% of the web, the hosting firm noted that there is bound to be websites that would like to opt into FLoC. With these customers in mind, the company will add an on-off toggle feature to enable websites to opt in.
WordPress is not the only firm to have expressed concerns about the new advertising technology; Edge, Firefox, Safari and other browsers have also made it known that they will not support FLoC.
Last week, web browser Brave also spoke out against Google’s proposed alternative to third-party cookies, describing it as “a step in the wrong direction”.
FLoC is currently undergoing a trial period, exclusively on Chrome. Although Google hopes to expand the technology beyond the confines of its own web browser, WordPress and other opponents look set to stand in its way.