Facebook is on the sinking ship – oh, don’t worry Reddit will replace it

Hating every social media these days is a new thing, so let’s get it over with. Facebook has their own tracking “problems” but if you think Reddit or other platforms are better then read the article in order to see what Reddit does to it’s users/community.

Reddit spying

Reddit spy’s more than Facebook

According to thecodingdude and some commits in fanboys-adblock list, the reddit.com domain and it’s sub-domain redditstatic.com tracking every move you do on the page. The user explains the code based on his findings, overall spoken he found out that you can’t block the website with an ads-blocker without breaking major functions like commenting on posts or login into the page.

There is currently no solution for this except to allow the mentioned domains. Reddit itself removed all negative criticism on the original post which goes directly to the admins which obviously implemented it in order to track literally everything you do on the Reddit page. It’s unclear what Reddit does with the data and of there selling the statistics or not in order to make money from it.

The web console shows that Reddit sends it’s data away.
After a refresh, it sends even more meta-data away which is integrated into the payload.
share.json collects the information which then gets forwarded.

Explanation

thecodingdude also explains that there is no workaround for this, which means you can’t do anything about this (for now?). Whenever you try to block it with an ad-blocker you break certain functions

For those more technically inclined, you can refer to https://www.redditstatic.com/reddit.en.fTMK7jltQ3I.js line 9426 to see this in action. Create a breakpoint and look at the variables, the one of note is: events_collector_url: “https://www.reddit.com/api/vote.json” which is seemingly set when the page loads.

Also see line 9751 of the same file with e.analyticsV2.sendEvent – there are so many of those.

They’re also POSTing data directly to reddit.com and if you block reddits tracking, it literally cries at you.

Also, if you block /api you can’t do anything like submit posts or whatever. Great times.

Each time you block a URL it picks a new one randomly from their api endpoint to try and send the tracking data too, here’s a sample of what’s sent.

Workaround

The only thing you can do is to workaround this by adding the following lines to your ad-blocker

@@||reddit.com/api/$xmlhttprequest,domain=reddit.com,badfilter
@@||reddit.com//comment^
||reddit.com/
/*.json^$important

This is at least a temporary workaround but not a permanent fix until the developers of popular ad-blockers coming with a more elegant solution since this doesn’t prevent Reddit from tracking the things you do on the platform.

Conclusion

Seems everything is going to track you these days, ad-blockers aren’t really a solution over the long term since developers will find a way to bypass this and the filter-lists are getting bigger and bigger which means at some point it a) break a site due updates on the website itself b) loading or other related issue because of the fact that the lists are not updated.

It’s really difficult to say how long ad-blockers still can protect you against this, this example already shows that they can’t protect you against anything without breaking things, the workarounds are not really optimal since they will have possible consequences on the site experience or it’s functions.

Blocking or overblocking has, in my opinion, no future at the end because of such actions we will only see more websites which trying to bypass this and there is no real balance, people are scared of tracking and some pages just only want to survive, as a result, most people blocking everything and because of such shameless reactions of Reddit & Co. it’s no wonder why people are more careful than ever.

The real bummer on this story is that there is no official statement given even after one week. Reddit is a community and if some admins decide to work against them with such actions then the page will possible end-up like Facebook – dead in the water (soon or later).

I do not want to say everything is bad and at some point, logging might really help to detect some trolls or the ones which trying to hurt the website but that everyone is automatically suspicious is in my eyes definitely the wrong way.

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