Symfony considers turning off Google FLoC for all users by default

PHP framework Symfony may disable Google’s FLoC by default for users and projects developers are working on. The tracking alternative thus becomes opt-in, but not every Symfony developer is behind the proposal.

The proposal that has been published on Github is to provide a header for all supported Symfony versions that disables FLoC in the php framework and thus makes the technique an opt-in. “I’m submitting this as a bug fix to make things work the way they’ve always worked,” said developer Nicolas Grekas. According to him, web communities are against Google’s idea that FLoC should be opt-out.

Not everyone is in favor of the proposal. Some point out that Symfony makes the decision for all users and apps, but don’t know if it’s best for those users. Others respond that Google forces them to take a position that FLoC is not a standard and that it is in fact just an experiment by Google so that no website is harmed by the header adjustment.

There is a lot of resistance to Google’s tracking alternative because it wouldn’t be as privacy-friendly as Google suggests. FLoC stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts and is part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox. The API divides users into cohorts based on interests, devised by an algorithm from Google, so that the company can still serve groups of users with targeted advertisements, without third-party tracking cookies. GitHub, DuckDuckGo, Microsoft, WordPress, Drupal, Svelte, Caddy, Mozilla, Brave, Vivaldi, and the EFF, among others, have criticized FLoC and may or may not have decided to block the api.