Microsoft appears to have disabled Google’s FLoC in the Edge browser

by Surur
April 19, 2021
are you being floc

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When asked directly if Microsoft support Google’s FLoC user profiling technology Microsoft has been far from clear cut, merely saying they intend to follow whatever standard the web eventually settles on, while promoting their own PARAKEET proposal.

In practice, however, Microsoft has been less reticent to take action. BleepingComputer reports that Microsoft has disabled FLoC in the version of Chromium they ship to Edge users.

The feature is enabled by default in Chromium, and would therefore need to be consciously deactivated.

Google’s FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) tracks all the websites you visit, uses machine learning to classify you into groups around 1000 people large (e.g. neckbeards) and then passes this label to websites, which can then choose to deliver advertising targetted to that group. The EFF notes that the same label can also be used to discriminate against groups e.g offering higher prices and more expensive loans.

Google is currently testing the technology with tens of millions of Chrome users and plans to eventually roll it out to billions of Chrome users.

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