Shariff: Social media buttons with privacy protection


With Shariff website owners protect the privacy of their visitors from the exaggerated curiosity of social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. For visitors, one click is enough to share a page with friends.

With Shariff, you can use social media without unnecessarily jeopardizing your privacy. The c’t project Shariff replaces the usual social network share buttons and protects your surfing behavior from prying eyes. However, a single click on the button is enough to share information with others. You do not have to do anything else – the webmaster has already taken care of everything.

The usual social media buttons transmit the user data to Facebook & Co. with every page request and provide the social networks with exact information about their surfing behavior (user tracking). You do not have to be logged in to be a member of the network. On the other hand, a Shariff button does not establish direct contact between social network and visitors until the latter actively clicks on the share button.

This way, Shariff prevents you from leaving a digital trail on every page you visit and improves privacy. Then you can like, + 1en or tweet – the social network does not get more information.

Thanks to Shariff, the display of “Likes” comes from the operator of the page with the buttons. Because Shariff is involved by the webmaster, you have nothing else to do as a visitor.

The privacy advantage of Shariff
The widespread share buttons pose a significant privacy problem because they make unnoticed contact with the servers of social networks. For example, Facebook sends the number of “likes” directly to the visitor’s browser – logging the individual surfing behavior.

Shariff acts as an intermediary here: Instead of the browser, the server of the website operator queries the number of likes – and only once a minute to keep traffic to a minimum. The visitor remains anonymous.