For what I can tell, this doesn’t sound like a feature that you can turn on or off. I suspect that the website that you’re visiting is displaying the pop-up on purpose.
So let’s talk about that.
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Why sharing is important
Many sites, including Ask Leo!, provide information completely free. The way that they pay their costs is typically via advertising. Advertising depends on site popularity, and popularity depends on getting more and more people to visit the site.
They want you to share what you find interesting and helpful with other people so more people visit the site, plain and simple.
With the popularity of social media, one of the most common ways that people share information is through Facebook. In fact, there are even indicators, currently, that search engine rankings are impacted, at least in part, by how often a page is shared on sites like Facebook.
As a result, websites want to encourage visitors to share links.
For example, every Ask Leo! article includes a couple of links at the bottom – Share on Facebook and Share on Twitter – just to make it a little easier for you to share what you find interesting. When you do, it actually benefits Ask Leo! quite a bit.
When sharing gets in your face
Most sites do this in an unobtrusive way. Some do what I do and provide a link while some include share widgets on their site.
What you’re describing does not sound unobtrusive, and I’ve definitely encountered sites that go “over the top” when it comes to trying to get you to share things.
If it’s in your face, not only is it annoying, but if you don’t use Facebook, it’s irrelevant as well.
The problem is that these sharing options aren’t put there by software or even malware on your machine. They’re not even put there by your browser.
They are put there by the websites you’re visiting.
What you can do
Web designers make those kinds of decisions for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately there’s just not a lot that you can do.
But if you’re using another browser, like Chrome or Internet Explorer, the options are more limited.
Ultimately, if a site annoys you for whatever reason – be it sharing widgets, auto-start audio, annoying advertising – the best thing that you can do is vote with your feet. Let the site owner know and leave. Don’t visit it again. The internet is a big place, and you’re very likely to find the information that you’re looking for on another site that isn’t as annoying.