While every small incident gets criticized in Chrome, Brave and Edge, Mozilla simply seems to get away with pretty much everything they do. Given the fact that Mozilla wants to have high ethical standards and claims that they are a people-first Browser it is only fair to inspect them closely.
We need to differ here because there’s the legally-non-profit Mozilla Foundation and the legally-for-profit Mozilla Corporation, I mention it to avoid running into a mixture of interests, what is actually meant is usually explained within the provided links.
Links that Mozilla advocates often like to down-talk, hide or to if possible distract from it by smearing the ones who post actual evidence that there might be something wrong with Mozilla, this is nothing new and this all happened multiple times to multiple people who just tried to show what is or could be controversial.
Even the Wikipedia article regarding Mozilla and Firefox is far from objective nor accurate. That practical applies to almost every Wikipedia Browser article because people are highly based in defending their beloved Browser and they often end up arguing things down until it is removed from such pages, the Wikipedia edit history and discussion talk page proves me right.
But whatever, I like to keep an eye on Mozilla and provide an objective but fair overview of all past scandals, this basically mean I will update this article whenever there is something new to mention.
This little blog post here is not meant to bash Mozilla or to say everything they do is wrong, it is more like a small review of past incidents and questionable decisions coming directly from Mozilla or people involved into the development, marketing, scripting etc.
I like to add that we all do mistakes and Mozilla is absolute no exception in this regard, but I simply dislike the hypocrisy that gets wrongfully communicated to the outside world.
Like most terms, this can be bent, with scandals we classify things under privacy invasive, against user will or impacts that affected the average but daily Firefox users. This does not include power users as well as users who have 20 Browsers installed and barely use Firefox as their main Browser, because they might not be impacted because Mozilla released quickly an update to address listed things.
I try to split this in specific categories. To make it easier to comprehend.
Same like all or most scandals, all the mentioned stuff below might be already fixed and one of the main reason why you should always use the latest software versions.
There are more reasons and controversies but this is not substantial in this little blog post and therefore irrelevant, which means they do not even get listed in the first place.
- Mozilla will put ads directly into Firefox.
- “Privacy Preserving Attribution for Advertising“ with Facebook’s Meta IPA, this article might be more accurate Mozilla and Meta (FB) are working together on “privacy” ads.
- Disney Movie Ad on Firefox Upgrade Front Page.
- Certificate-based Mozilla Persona IdP, killed years laters.
- Firefox browser trusts DarkMatter CA certificate to cause security industry controversy (see here how it could be abused) _However, this one is questionable and controversial because there is no audit or sign that this was abused.
- Mozilla contains unidentified root certificates
- Mozilla re-trusting an SSL vendor previously revoked for mass cert fraud
- Mozilla shipping SSL root certificate, has no idea how it got there
- Firefox Cliqz scandal
- Firefox Shield Studies - These studies are separate from the normal telemetry.
- Firefox is spying on your use of certain websites.
- Mozilla hit with takedown request for anti-paywall addons, while they claim to have better standards than Google, they do exactly the same, when their ass is on the line they remove add-ons. Standing up for the little ones and anti-censorship, not so much.
- Mr. Robot/Studies scandal
- Questionable add-on policies.
- Unknown Mozilla dev addon “Looking Glass 1.0.3” on browser
- Mozilla loses in Chinese court, forced to ban adblockers opens the way to justify on legal precedence case getting rid of adblockers
- Mozilla Explains: Why Does YouTube Recommend Conspiracy Theory Videos. The problem on such article is that YouTube has a very detailed guidance on how they deal with disinformation and misinformation.
- Mozilla defends Trump twitter ban.
- Contributing to the European Commission’s review of digital competition.
- EU Code published: another step forward in the fight against disinformation.
- Explore how to help keep the web open which supports directly freeganism.
- Getting serious about political ad transparency with Ad Analysis for Facebook.
- Mozilla reacts to EU Parliament vote on copyright reform.
- Mozilla sending political ads via Firefox push notification.
- The future of online advertising – Mozilla panel discussion at ICDPPC.
- We need more than deplatforming - If you do not understand what this is about read this instead, see here.
Cheating on bug tickets and issues tickets to hide and manipulate things is not invented by Mozilla nor is it a Mozilla only problem, practical everyones does it. GitHub hides search entries, Google closes tickets and re-create them under different name or hide them from the search index. However entirely mislabeling tickets is really weird way to twist reality.
- Firefox v98.0.1 removed Yandex search option and used misleading bug name to hide it. The issue ticket does not imply that at any point nor did an moderator changed anything to update the wrong information.
- Firefox blocks Ad-filtering add-ons (uBlock Origin, AdBlock) in China since 2022.
- Firefox takes screenshots of your HTTPS data - Mozilla says thats ok.
- Former Mozilla CTO detained at US border and denied a lawyer.
- Google and Mozilla are failing to support browser extension developers
- Google-Firefox search deal gives Mozilla more money to push privacy, maybe better explained here Mozilla Signs Lucrative 3-Year Google Search Deal for Firefox
- Links and mentioning to an open source recruitment project that is dead since March 2015.
- Mozilla - Devil Incarnate - HackerNews Censors article that criticizes Mozilla, resubmission.
- Mozilla admits to mishandling Comodo disclosure.
- Mozilla and the ‘Planet-Incinerating Ponzi Grifters’
- Mozilla expands advertising experiment to many more Firefox users
- Mozilla illegally leaked my startup data to my competitor.
- Mozilla now banning people for grumpy bug reports.
- Mozilla re-enables TLS 1.0 and 1.1 because of Coronavirus (and Google).
- Mozilla responds to Booking.com Snippet Concerns; “It was not a paid placement or advertisement. We are continually looking for more ways to say thanks for using Firefox."
- Opera claims ex-employee took trade secrets to Mozilla, sues him for $3.4m.
- Termination of Mozilla CEO Likely Violated California Law.
- Weird Wiki statements.
- Mozilla accidentally posts usernames and password hashes
- Mozilla Admits to Revenue Sharing Arrangement with Pocket.
- Mozilla responds to Firefox user backlash over Pocket integration, see background, after years of fighting to remove or build a version without pocket integrated, they integrated it into accounts.
- Mozilla tries ads in Firefox again, now powered by Pocket recommendations
- Firefox OS Successor: Mozilla and KaiOS Announce Partnership.
- Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues.
- Mozilla CEO: Premium version of Firefox coming this fall, see Mozilla Plans to Sell Ads in Firefox Browser or here.
- Mozilla CEO: Premium version of Firefox coming this fall.
- Mozilla Coil - A $100 Million Investment to Reshape the Economics of the Web.
- Mozilla Executive: We’re Not Interested In Enterprise Level Users.
- Mozilla Fires 250 Employees, 25 Percent of Existing Workforce, check this out for a nutshell
- Mozilla Persona (BrowserID) is a step in the wrong direction.
- Mozilla Rally to “fight big tech” - I could basically list all studies here because they are all worthless and solve absolute nothing. The web is in a rough state but doing research on user data isn’t going to solve anything. Why the CEO wants to research this and waste money and resources for this is beyond any logic.
- Mozilla Will Stop Developing and Selling Firefox OS Smartphones.
- Mozilla and Epic Announce Unreal Engine for the Web.
- Mozilla could walk away from Yahoo deal and get more than $1B.
- Mozilla rejects US government request to remove add-on.
- Mozilla shuts down servo team.
- Mozilla starts accepting Bitcoin donations since 2014.
- Mozilla to remove Firefox version numbers, this promise never happened, they followed the Chrome versions scheme.
- Mozilla’s Rejection of NativeClient Hurts the Open Web.
- Moznet IRC is dead; long live Mozilla Matrix.
- XUL deprecation, lots of respectable extensions developer were unhappy with this decision.
- Firefox depends to 90 Percent on Google.
- Cloudflare partnership with questionable outcomings. Cloudflare is controversial because of the nature on how their MITM proxy works. The privacy agreement they have is controversial because Cloudflare still can see a lot. Most say to disable DoH because there are downsides.
- Firefox And Pixar Animation Studios team up to help you show your true colors
- Firefox Data Removal Pilot another Partner called Kanary who wants your Data
- Firefox OS Successor: Mozilla and KaiOS Announce Partnership
- Mozilla Discloses Past Relationships with Facebook
- Mozilla Partners with Telefonica for Boot 2 Gecko Phone.
- Mozilla partners with Nvidia to democratize and diversify voice technology
- Mullvad because of money. There are also some concerns.
- ProtonVPN partnership, because of money.
- Anti-privacy friendly search engines by default. LibreWolf, a fork addresses this by delivering a pre-configured Browser with a better search engine set by default.
- Mozilla tests Microsoft Bing as the default Firefox search engine, background.
- Shady marketing.
- Mozilla Phoenix project got abandoned, people protested and Mozilla did not hold their promise.
- Arkenfox community that are bunch of trolls who harass, dox and try to discredit others who do a better job. Wrongfully claiming I and possible others would steal something when they steal from Bugzilla and tor issue tracker project all day long and then even trying to convert Firefox into Tor Browser, claiming it is more secure while it simply often disables stuff that results in website breakages and other problems which overall is false sense of security.
- Fans trying to frame me, posting only details that benefits them.
- Filipus Klutiero scandal, see here, claiming the ban was justified which was not.
- Some fans trying to spread misinformation to make Firefox look better, even after debunking them they let it stand or pretend they would update their nonsense to address it. There are lots of false articles out there designed to convince people to switch to Mozilla with based opinions.
- The toxicity is one of the reasons why people leave Mozilla. Before someone question it, there are many topics on this, even within their own subreddit, also see here for more.
- Weird complaints about coding languages.
- Bug in Firefox data collection causes 100 Percent CPU usage
- Firefox Now Sends Your Address Bar Keystrokes to Mozilla
- Firefox tracks users with Google Analytics in the add-on settings
- Google Analytics is used to track users
- How can I stop Firefox from constantly connecting to self-repair.mozillia.org
- Metrics Mozilla collects
- Mozilla Installs Scheduled Telemetry Task on Windows with Firefox 75
- Mozilla collects data, see here for more detailed collection.
- Mozilla didn’t whitelist a massive list of domains
- Mozilla’s page talking about privacy has Google analytics enabled
- Snippets Service Data Collection
- Unintentional collection of user-edited search engine values
- Each Firefox download has a unique identifier called dltoken (2022), this is similar to the Chromes RLZ feature
- Mozilla tracks users by (WiFi) SSID name, unless you add _nomap (2022)
I might remove the section because opinions are very often based or respell and echo chamber other peoples findings.
- Dear Mozilla, Please Don’t Kill HTML5 Video.
- Firefox Cannot Be Trusted at the Hands of Today’s Mozilla Management.
- Free software ain’t free to make, pal, it’s expensive: Mozilla to bankro.
- Mozilla Contributor Calls Mozilla CEO Open Letter Hypocrisy.
- Mozilla Is Becoming Evil.
- Mozilla’s Add-on Policy Is Hostile to Open Source.
- OkCupid Takes Public Stand Against New Mozilla CEO.
- On our Abusive Relationship with Mozilla’s Firefox.
- The Tragedy of Mozilla.
- Why I’m Boycotting Mozilla Products.
Cherry picking arguments and then claim Browser xyz is less secure, less private or entirely flawed will not work because you will find on every single Browser stuff to criticize or a history of invasive scandals. Mozilla is clearly no exception here, as proven.
Browsers should not be seen as a perfect role-model for the most perfect software, instead we should focus on how fast things are getting fixed because the next scandals and flaws will occur because nothing is perfect and never will be. People make mistakes, people sometimes have a bad day or they have different motivations.
In my experience extremist people often desperately trying to defend their beloved Browser because they want other people to convince to join them and their ideas, without any regard if that makes sense or not because the best Browser or software for that matter is pretty much pointless if you - for whatever reasons - do not like it or do not feel comfortable with it then putting pressure on the average user will do no good and he certainly will switch back to old habits. Some users use Vivaldi because it offers some UI improvements over vanilla Chromium, others entirely only care about the privacy aspects. Personally I do not think that makes an killer argument because Chrome, Brave, Firefox and all other bigger Browsers constantly evolve and adopt to new threats. I believe a good Browser is defined by its community and the developers interacting with it.
What is left, the direction.
The direction maybe plays the biggest role - to some people. Some do not want to support Google, some dislike scandals and try to use the Browser with only a few scandals, others maybe do not like the CEO, or have other reasons to prefer x over y.
Web itself is not perfect and this automatically means it is hard to find a specific direction, claiming to rescue, or safe the web or make it better is AFAIK a charitable idea but in the real-world far from possible. You need to find a mid-way and then think of people who just doing their job or people who just like what they do.
Focusing on scandals does not help anybody at all and we should focus on upcoming issues, fix them together and then point out how fast things got fixed to display that the community as well as the developers behind it care about such things.
I wanted to provide a clean overview about scandals we had and I think I did that very well, some things got fixed - some more faster than others.
Other things never got fixed and instead they simply got replaced.
Mozilla same like Google and everyone else does make mistakes and cherry picking every mistake will lead to no positive improvement for all of us. We, as community need to objectively and unbiased review historic events and try to make it better, as community, and set positive examples to others so that possible controversies are avoided in the first place, or so that people that are not entirely involved into tech can easily comprehend the good parts from the bad parts.
History is therefore important to reveal true motivations as well as learn from past - mistakes - to make it better and set higher standards for all of us.
The Firefox community can get very toxic defending their beloved Browser and the Mozilla Corporation. As always, this is a oversimplification and not everyone is like that. Keep that in mind.
Before you curse me, my soul or link this against my will into forum xyz please contact me first, so that I have a chance to address feedback BEFORE you put this on any other platform.