Mozilla and Facebook develop proposal to replace advertising cookies

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Mozilla and Meta work together to build a new mechanism to deliver advertising metrics without violating user privacy. Called Interoperable Private Attribution (IPA), the mechanism uses special protocols to mask the identity of users, in an event-based scheme, without giving up ad performance metrics. Proposal was sent to W3C and is a potential replacement for traditional cookies.

According to Mozilla, “IPA aims to provide advertisers with the ability to perform attribution while offering strong privacy guarantees.” The engine uses Multi-Party Computing (MPC) in an aggregate system to reduce the chances of individual tracking by browsers, websites and ad tools.

The purpose of the tool is to give more flexibility to advertising companies, without violating users’ privacy. To do so, the mechanism would not rely on “per action” ad reporting, by aggregated reports separated by events.

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With the IPA, websites can create a matching key for each account or device. Hence, these identifiers could be adopted by other pages to collect advertising performance data.

Event-based metrics

The mechanism works around the concept of events — Source Events or Trigger Events, as documented by Mozilla. A source event would happen before the trigger, and could deliver view and click metrics.

On the other hand, trigger events would be the most interesting for advertising performance metrics, where purchases, app installs, subscriptions and even page views from advertising are presented.

surprising partnership

Mozilla’s proposal is coherent and, in fact, may be favorable for user privacy compared to traditional cookies, however, the internet was surprised by the alliance with Meta. On social media, the community attentive to the announcement reacted negatively to the partnership.

It’s just a proposal

For Mozilla, the IPA is still unfinished and requires more structure. The company is still working on the mechanism and is open to community feedback, meanwhile, the proposal has already been sent to the Private Advertising Technology Community Group (PATCG), a specialized division of the W3C, to generate discussion. Detailed information about the IPA is available in the public documentation.

The Mozilla and Meta idea will compete directly with Google’s Topics API, and because it is a tool for use on multiple devices and browsers, it would need to be embraced by the Search Giant and other competitors to have value for advertisers and platforms.

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