What the FLoC?

By Tyler Jefford • May 10th, 2021

I know, not the most original title to a blog. 

Google has started to roll out a new way to track people across the web, even if you’re not using the immensely popular Google Analytics with a program they call Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC. 

What that means to you is google can and will collect information about you as you browse around the web, details about the types of stuff you are looking at and what you like. They will use this data to build a better profile for ad delivery.

This feature is already shipped on Chrome, and is an opt-out toggle. Firefox, Edge and Safari will not allow this at the browser level. The EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks FLoC is a bad idea and has written up a post with much more elegant information that I spread out here.

I am a huge advocate for privacy and hate when companies over reach and put your data above your privacy. That’s why starting today all the sites I manage will be opting out of FLoC by null-ing out the header information google uses to track data. I already don't use Google Analytics, or any social / advertising or cookie collection on any of my sites, and this is just another thing I will do to continue to fight back on the privacy decay we are seeing today.

As a developer, you have many options to block FLoC. For laravel, I have installed a package by spatie. Further, Plausible has a blog post with a lot more information on tactics to use to disable FLoC tracking on your sites.