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The author's linked picture triggers an update of 6 Facebook cookies when I access the page.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/31801791/migrate-the-system-from-rdbms-to-nosql

I don't want to be tracked by Facebook when I'm using Stack Overflow. Is there a way to disable displaying href-ed profile pictures to protect user privacy?

  • Instead of flipping the accepted answer, just wait a few hours before you accept an answer. This will lead to the least frustration among the answerers. – Patrick Hofman Aug 4 '15 at 11:33
  • @Patrick Of course. You guys have such a nice set of answer control icons compared to SO. Couldn't resist the temptation. – Sergei Rodionov Aug 4 '15 at 11:35
6

I think this is a valid request. Some people are worried about their privacy.

It seems this picture is linked from the Facebook profile of the user since he subscribed using the Facebook login. (The usual upload will copy the image to imgur) The feature of auto-updating the profile picture from Facebook, Google and other providers can be considered nice, but not necessary. I wouldn't want it to be lost.

I do like to see an option to disable all external profile pictures, maybe by setting some check box in your profile?

It is also possible to copy all profile pictures from Facebook, Google, etc but that seems so much work, and might not be the best solution.

9
+50

The problem would be fixed when profile pictures would be copied to the Stack Exchange servers and served from there.

Meanwhile, you can take steps to protect yourself from 3rd party tracking cookies by using a browser add-on which blocks them, like Ghostery or Privacy Badger. Also, some web browsers can be configured to only accept cookies from the currently visited website and not from any other websites from which any content is embedded.

For Firefox, there is also the very handy extension Self-Destructing Cookies which allows you to selectively set per website which cookies you accept, reject, or accept at first but delete them when the tab is closed.

However, Facebook will still register the access from your IP address. When you don't want to interact with Facebook at all, you can configure your operating systems hosts file to route the requests to all Facebook domains to 0.0.0.0, making it practically impossible to access any Facebook services at all from your computer.

  • 6
    I'm aware of client-side options and I have cookies disabled by default. But I'd rather have stackexchange sites adopt a policy that disables user-defined cookies - that is tracking cookies stored in my browser by sites that serve user's profile picture. By the way, I use built-in Firefox privacy setting to block cookies without any plugins or extensions. – Sergei Rodionov Aug 4 '15 at 11:24
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    @SergeiRodionov I don't think that this is possible as long as the images are still loaded from a 3rd party domain. But the problem would be fixed when profile pictures would be copied to the stackexchange servers and served from there. – Philipp Aug 4 '15 at 11:26
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    Great, copying pictures to SE servers would address the issue. – Sergei Rodionov Aug 4 '15 at 11:30

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