3rd Party comments section on websites disappeared

User Help for Mozilla Firefox

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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 2:30 am
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 2:41 pm

Went to that URL. Looks like they are using Facebook comments. If I turn on Tracking Protection, the comments go away, as well as the embedded Tweets in the article. More than likely some security/ad blocking setting was killing them.

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 4:51 pm

I'm in the process of trying to pin this problem down. I started a new profile, then added my addons back one by one.

Everything worked well with the Comments on until a certain point, then suddenly when adding/configuring addons, the problem occurred again. I could not isolate to a specific addon though. Disabling all addons on this new profile again solved the issue, but still can't pinpoint the offending addon.

I will continue to try to isolate the cause. It may be related to one of the privacy addons, but the issue resurfaces with different addons being added and does not resolve when the offending addon is removed. Only when additional addons are removed. I am seeing the same thing on my original profile as well, so I don't think the profile itself is damaged, as both the new and old profiles are behaving the same.

Frustrating, but I'll keep at it.
Last edited by Ed1 on January 26th, 2018, 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 4733
Joined: May 13th, 2012, 10:43 am

Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 4:51 pm

Ed1 wrote:I too am unable to see the Comments sections on some websites - one is I have Tracking Protection - Always ticked.

MarkRH, does your comment mean that in order to see Comments on those websites, a user's unrelated web activity needs to be tracked?

EDIT: Just disabled Tracking Protection. Did not resolve this issue. I have a number of privacy related addons, so I'll have to check whether those are the problem -- UBlock Origin, Disconnect, Privacy Badger, Decentraleyes, ClearURLs, Cookie AutoDelete.

I also use Tracking Protection and I had to turn it off for the comments to show on this story: ... hat-216539

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 4:56 pm

Thanks, theVisitor. Just saw your post the same time as my last one.

Although I tried turning Tracking Protection off earlier without it resolving the Comments issue, I just tried it again and now the Comments appear on articles. This is with all of my privacy addons disabled at the moment.

I'll try adding them back and see what happens.

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 5:27 pm

With Tracking Protection off, I added back:

First, Cookie Auto Delete - no issues
Then, Disconnect - no issues
Then, Decentraleyes - Comments stopped working.

Disabled Decentraleyes - Comments remained non-functional.

I didn't yet load my other privacy addons - ublock origin, Privacy Badger and ClearURLs.

I restarted Firefox each time I added back one of these addons. I have Firefox set to Accept Cookies, Retain Cookies until they expire, Clear Cache when Firefox closes, but not Cookies. (My intent is to let Cookie Auto Delete manage cookies.)

I'm sure if I disable all addons, the Comments will resume functioning. Based on my prior trial and error, I think if I disable and then reload the privacy addons in a different order, another one will trigger the disfunction.

I'm not really sure what to do. Not happy that Tracking Protection may have a role in breaking a mainstream news website's functionality.

Posts: 3937
Joined: March 19th, 2005, 10:51 am

Post Posted January 27th, 2018, 2:00 am

you can define exceptions. or turn it off.

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 29th, 2018, 9:34 am

Been testing further my privacy addons to try to isolate the cause of losing Comments on This is with Tracking Protection set to Never.

So far, the only way I can get Comments on that site using my normal privacy addons (uBlock Origin, Cookie AutoDelete, Privacy Badger, Decentraleyes and Disconnect) is to:

1. Not enable ClearURLs.
2. Whitelist the site in Disconnect.
3. Use greylist for in Cookie AutoDelete.

Unfortunately, the Whitelist setting in Disconnect is only for the current session. So it must be done each time I would like to view Comments. And if, with these settings, I enable ClearURLs, no Comments appear until I disable ClearURLs and Cookies AutoDelete and reset its greylist.

EDIT: Just discovered that Firefox's built-in Tracking Protection is based on Disconnect's database, so it might be counterproductive to use both Tracking Protection and Disconnect. I'll test further to try to resolve.

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 29th, 2018, 11:01 am

OK, I've finally found a workable solution that I can live with.

I have uninstalled Disconnect and turned on Tracking Protection, which is based on the Disconnect database. Then, using the Tracking Protection icon in the urlbar, I've disabled Tracking Protection for the site. With these settings, I am able to use all of my other privacy addons and the Show Comments button on continues to work. And, unlike with the Disconnect addon, the site whitelisting is retained between Firefox sessions, so it only has to be done once.

Thanks, Brummelchen, for your advice re: site whitelisting in the Tracking Protection settings.

Posts: 3937
Joined: March 19th, 2005, 10:51 am

Post Posted January 29th, 2018, 11:31 am

I have uninstalled Disconnect

firefox already uses the disconnect list inside -> privacy section (regular/strong)
users using outdated and vulnerable software probably never will get an answer from me - sticked with the past? stay alone.

Posts: 934
Joined: January 30th, 2005, 2:33 pm

Post Posted January 29th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Yes, thanks Burmmelchen. I did figure that out. So, I guess it's best to use either Disconnect or Tracking Protection but not both at once. I am choosing to use Tracking Protection since it's exceptions are not session-only, like Disconnect's whitelisting is.

And, the developer of ClearURLs has also advised me that that addon also has a rule blocking Facebook-embedded comments, which is the issue with comments on the site. That developer is adding an exception for Facebook-embedded comments to the rules in his addon, so ClearURLs will be good to use also.

I am thankful for everyone's help in tracking this down.

Posts: 130
Joined: January 29th, 2016, 4:36 pm

Post Posted January 31st, 2018, 12:56 am

This appears to be a problem on's end. When clicking 'Show comments', 'TypeError: b.pubads is not a function' is logged in the Java browser console (CTRL-SHFT-J). I can't get comments to load with FF 58 and several forks/clones, exc. for Waterfox. The comments load on both Chrome and IE.

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