Mozilla wants Facebook-like control over information and more than de-platforming

Both the ACLU and EFF have regarded the recent de-platforming as anti-human rights. Mozilla believes we need more than de-platforming.

The ACLU has railed against big tech for Trump’s recent de-platforming citing the damage this precedent will do to everyone’s ability to speak, one that traditionally hurts those who need to speak most.

The EFF, albeit timidly, advocated against the recent deplatforming recommending companies adopt a human rights framework.

The EFF also raised the problem that speech rules are being applied unevenly but framed it as a Trumpian people vs politician problem instead of what’s been mostly a general partisan suppression problem. Worth mentioning as it’s another highlight of how the EFF is growing partisan. Angels… just with some blind spots.

So i’ve been a VERY long time user and strong advocate of Firefox but in conjunction with it’s eroding privacy (which needs a Wireshark forum post to explain) i’m now looking to move.

To the Mozilla Foundation… promoting big tech censorship is not how you win me over.

Ref: Mozilla’s Facebook recommendation as linked in the article.


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what free speech means in our increasingly digital world. The majority of the people I know get their perception of what’s happening in the world from a few tech giants. Namely Reddit, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s kind of scary to see happening but I suppose no worse than everyone getting their information from a few television news networks like it was when I was growing up. Hopefully soon more people start understanding the importance of Federation, Open Source, and encryption. Maybe we can outreach to the groups being de-platformed to help them move to open technology. Even if we don’t agree with their ideas.


I have the right to say whatever I want, until someone with a bigger mouth disagrees and goes into action getting me banned for my beliefs because their believe is that their beliefs are more important than mine. Those against hate are hating, those against censorship are consoring. Those against generalizing are generalizing that all Republicans are racists. Those for free speach are squashing it. Those against descrimination are themselves descriminating, but they don’t see it. My right to say or believe what I want doesn’t end when your feelings get hurt.


“Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others.”

Really wonderful page by the ACLU on what censorship is…

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What’s the criteria for an alternate browser for you? Based on Firefox or not?

You gotta love the irony:

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I’ve read this:
Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.
Sadly, this is never going to happen. The money trail will always be hidden from the general public.
You’ll have to dig this up yourself.

Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.
I’d like to see this, but i’m afraid that the majority will go: Mêh. They don’t care. Ignorance is bliss for some

Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.
This one’s dangerous in my mind. Who’s to say that the voices telling us things are factual? Who has the right to use these tools? Who’s the guardian? I’d say, be your own guardian. Do your own research. It’s nice to hear other perspectives, and you can learn a thing or two by listening to them. But you have to keep you eyes open. Don’t just believe what you’re being told.

Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the platforms’ impact on people and our societies, and what we can do to improve things.
Yes, community funded research and independent journalism (of which there is way to little) are the way to go, imho.

@Ulfnic, the article, to me, doesn’t read as Firefox calling for more de-platforming, rather than asking for more tools to “fact-check” and deliver those “fact-checked” news items. (at least, that’s what i think.)
The people behind Firefox are well aware that there are federated platforms, such as Mastodon etc… You can’t deplatform somebody completely. That’s like a game of whac-a-mole.
Eventually, platforms like twitter, fb, etc, will go down this path untill there is nobody left. They’ve opened pandora’s box. Now they, or people using their platfom, can take action on everybody they don’t like saying something. Which will stifle communication.


No, not at all. That’s what i mean. (I’m sorry, english is not my native language, so sometimes, i can get things wrong).
Information needs to be verified.
There is no reason for disinformation to rule over verified information at all.


Free-speech is how you open-source a society. Deplatforming fringe, dissident, or offensive speakers is how you create a closed-source society. Hate speech is nothing but speech the powerful hate.


Thank you @Eltuxo I was wrong, Mozilla is not calling for “more” de-platforming.

My original title: “Mozilla calling for more de-platforming and Facebook-like control over information”

I made a logical leap because their stance agrees with the reasoning behind the upsurge in de-platforming but they didn’t call for more.

I’ve also been challenged on this statement (which i’ve corrected) as it can be easily read to imply that the ACLU and EFF were directly addressing Mozilla which they were not.

Originally in post: “Both the ACLU and EFF regard Mozilla’s call to de-platform as anti-human rights.”

Which stances is Mozilla taking which the ACLU and EFF have declared as anti-human rights?

“Since then there has been significant focus on the deplatforming of President Donald Trump. By all means the question of when to deplatform a head of state is a critical one, among many that must be addressed. When should platforms make these decisions? Is that decision-making power theirs alone?”

But as reprehensible as the actions of Donald Trump are, the rampant use of the internet to foment violence and hate, and reinforce white supremacy is about more than any one personality. Donald Trump is certainly not the first politician to exploit the architecture of the internet in this way, and he won’t be the last. We need solutions that don’t start after untold damage has been done.

Changing these dangerous dynamics requires more than just the temporary silencing or permanent removal of bad actors from social media platforms."

Trump is referenced as someone who exploits the architecture of the internet, a practice that’s described as “dangerous dynamics” requiring “more than just the temporary silencing or permanent removal”.

The term “More than” qualifies their support for temporary silencing and permanent removal which in the case of their reference of Trump has been regarded as anti-human rights by the ACLU and EFF.

Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.

Mozilla contextualizes “amplifying factual voices” by linking a story about Facebook improving and reducing the exposure of certain publishers.

“The change resulted in an increase in Facebook traffic for mainstream news publishers including CNN, NPR and The New York Times, while partisan sites like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats saw their numbers fall.” - The New York Times

While Mozilla’s Facebook recommendation isn’t calling for political suppression, the conclusion of that method results in political suppression.

There is such as thing as objective truth and news sources can be ranked correctly but this isn’t being done by a super AI. This will be done by humans during one of the most politically polarized times in American history and big tech is incentivized to favor politicians who’ll release them from responsibility.

It’s not by accident for example that the New York Times describes only Breitbart and Occupy Democrats as being partisan.

Even if every outlet could be ranked perfectly, some outlets will never cover what others are willing to or they’ll cover them very differently so this’ll remove perspective or by the least the opportunity for a reader to understand why their neighbor thinks the way they do so they can better dialog.


Before the news hit I was putting together an alternative browser list so good timing at least. I have 3 Firefox based ones but they’d need a lot more funding for the level of support i’d want.

Right this moment i’m thinking Ungoogled Chromium ala Flatpak for the heavy lifting, it’s purist and only removes the Google stuff aside from some security/control/transparency tweaks, not in distro repos though just Flatpak. I may use an alternative Web engine for the lighter stuff.

I use ungoogled-chromium for websites that won’t run in Firefox. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to install extensions and keep them updated as the Chrome extension store doesn’t work.

Anyone running Fedora can get ungoogled-chromium from the RPM Fusion free repo too.

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I’m usually sympathetic with the ACLU but I think they’re out of line on this one. Twitter is a product controlled by a company, not a public bulletin board that belongs to the State and its people. Twitter can and should silence people that violate their rules and possibly open the company up to litigation. Twitter is not a human right. It’s a product. Regardless of how ubiquitous it may be, regardless of how politicians and heads of state like to use it for direct communication with their public. It does not and should not require the same speech protections as an actual public forum. Full stop.


I agree. The real problem is that these company controlled platforms are being used for political discourse. There’s no one to blame for that but the people that use them.

edit: I don’t mean that to sound overly judgemental. We all do things we shouldn’t and in this case a lot of people don’t even understand the problem they’re participating in.

There are a significant number of people that regard all discourse as political. Besides what you are suggesting? That no one talk about politics? Good luck enforcing that.

People should talk politics. I’m saying having a few giant tech companies control the bulk of public discourse is bad. I’m saying I’m disappointed that people continue to use these centralized corporately controlled platforms for important social discourse. Even though it has been known for years that they use their power to direct and manipulate public opinion.

For me that is not enough to switch from Firefox because I like the product but what Mozilla does and some (Mitchell Baker especially) say and write is another story.
This whole unfck the internet thing. I really think Mozilla should unfck itself. It seems they live in another reality and do not see how its browser is declining in usage.

I prefer when Firefox is focusing on privacy and security.
Censorship is censorship but nowadays it depends merely on which side you are but rights should be equal.

Discrimination is only discrimination when it targets oneself but when it is used against others it is control.
Free speech is very important but only for oneself. Others have to be silenced because they are outliers from the norm.
And so it goes on…

This polarization in society is not only an American problem, it happens worldwide and now more than ever. Everybody should have the same rights.

Of course Facebook and others are private companies and that is exactly the problem. They are widely used for political agendas and have such a big importance that I do not think censorship should be applied on their platforms but then I do not use them and you should not, too.


Here’s a point of philosophy (from the philosopher, Karl Popper) which I submit for your consideration:


From my interpretation, I think the EFF and ACLU were making the point that while free speech is a human right that only the Government legally has to recognize, that doesn’t mean a society shouldn’t hold them in high regard and push for companies to follow them.

Imagine for example if curl or wget began shipping by default with a mechanism that altered the content you’re downloading based on what the devs believed was in your best interest. Even if this weren’t such a polarized time, there’d rightfully be tremendous blow back and what Firefox is proposing is no different.

My theory is everything is political but it’s only called political when there’s local opposition. If I drive to work, shake a woman’s hand or buy a burger it’ll be called political depending on where I am in the World or who i’m with.


I’ve lived on 2 continents and 3 countries. It’s everywhere as far as i’m seeing.

I made some big mistakes in my first post and I wouldn’t have caught them had it not been for different minds helping me find sense. I don’t think we can do this without each other.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be limits, but DistroTube was recently banned from his Mastadon instance because he shared an opinion about the President and had a similar take on Firefox to mine. That’s where normalization of this type of censorship goes.

If people can’t speak there’s no chance for sense making, peaceful reconciliation or a desire to listen.

FOSS is about giving the people of the World the ability to shape their own destiny, it’s why we tend to balk at software that’s too opinionated. A browser that manipulates news feeds by default is that and beyond. I don’t want wget and curl protecting me from different points of view any more than I want Firefox doing it. That’s just not how we do things in FOSS.

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I’d respond to your meme with this quote from the ACLU.

“Over the years, the ACLU has represented or defended individuals engaged in some truly offensive speech. We have defended the speech rights of communists, Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, accused terrorists, pornographers, anti-LGBT activists, and flag burners. That’s because the defense of freedom of speech is most necessary when the message is one most people find repulsive. Constitutional rights must apply to even the most unpopular groups if they’re going to be preserved for everyone.”

I can’t understate just how difficult and nuanced the tolerance of intolerance problem is. It’s about as nuanced as how the Nazi’s came to power by practically overthrowing the Kaiser and hiding a good portion of their real intentions. Even today there’s wide support for politicians on both sides who say humans with certain immutable characteristics or origins are a problem and make it a main part of their campaign.

Where I think the trap lies is how prone that doctrine is to feedback loops. All it takes is someone being intolerant of something they feel is bad and someone else thinking it’s good. That doctrine tells the 2nd person to become intolerant of the 1st, then it tells the 1st to become intolerant of the 2nd and the rest is history.

A good example is the debate if trans-women should be able to compete in female sports. In using that doctrine it’s resulted in complete suppression of dialog and social out-casting. Strictly from a FOSS angle it creeps into contributor agreements and creates cultures of fear because a misplaced word or hug without prior permission can initiate that feedback loop. It’s very dangerous to normalize.

Answer proposal,

A sufficiently educated and empowered public trained in the fundamentals of finding truth will be more often than not capable of seeing the signal through the noise. There will always be hate groups unless a society adopts pretty extreme authoritarianism to remove them (ironically)… but they can be sufficiently minimized to the point they’re a clown act that the rest of us can observe as an educational tool on how finding truth is so important.