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

I find that OP title quite misleading and don’t understand why parts of the FOSS community are so upset.

If you actually read the blog post, imo the only part in the article that could be interpreted as exerting control over information is Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation, which Mozilla will have to specify in further detail. What will that mean or how will it work. We don’t know yet. Also nowhere in the blog post does it mention that Mozilla wants Facebook-like control over information?

As for the free speech part, I don’t see Mozilla making any moves in this article that would violate it. I think people are getting upset for nothing here.

Also a lot of people are imo misinterpreting free speech. Free speech isn’t the same as speech without consequences. Words are a powerful tool and a dangerous weapon in the hand of disingenuous and malignant people. I’m not gonna be upset if scary far right fringe groups get ban hammered away and de platformed everywhere possible in order to make it harder for them to incite violence and spread scary fact-less propaganda and antisemitism and recruit vulnerable individuals to their scary ideologies. The internet has made it far easier to reach big audiences which is nice, but also scary in the case of extremism. You wouldn’t condone people shouting abuse at someone in the street or calling for a group of people to die or get harmed in public, no need to tolerate it online either. At all.

As for how it’s done, Twitter can ban whoever they want, it’s their service, they own the infrastructure, and users have to agree to their ToS. Their house, their rules. Same with Facebook.

For decentralized platforms, I’m only on Mastodon, and I quite like how they handle it. Each instance has their own set of rules, and the Mastodon directory only lists […] communities that are committed to active moderation against racism, sexism and transphobia., which is great! Being decentralized, right wingers can still have their own communities, but will be limited on who they can interact with based on which instances ban them. That unfortunately also means rapists, Nazis (no joke, saw one instance for the former and one for the latter so far on fedi) and others will still be able to congregate, but they won’t be able to interact with the majority of users. I think it’s scary rapists and nazis have communities to gather in at all and at that stage where crimes against humanity are possibly involved, I’d hope the relevant authorities investigate. Anyway, I don’t think there’s a way to prevent that with decentralized services, which are imo vital for an open and friendly internet.



To give context to their sentence, they embedded a link to an article about how Facebook is reducing/increasing exposure of specific publishers.

“Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.” - Mozilla

The embedded link goes to:

“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

Ignoring context

Even without Mozilla’s context link they’re still talking about integrating a tool that will amplify certain voices above others. This would exert singular and final editorial authority over everything a user can see. One of the things i’ve learned from recent protests is just how biased even the most well meaning algorithms can be so to me that’s a point of worry, it’s why I moved to because I want to mitigate the effect algorithms have on my exposure to information.

I’d rather a stronger focus on public education and encouragement of seeking objective truth instead of political or personal truth. Piping all information through a central authority could be described as a way to mitigate a problem temporarily but it’s not a solution that I think goes anywhere good.

Free Speech as it relates to big tech

I take the ACLU/EFF/Snowden position that they’re not obligated to protect speech but that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t complain if they don’t.



I disagree completely with the CEO sentiment. He made the donation long before he was even hired by Mozilla. Mozilla showed themselves then to be a company that cared not for individual liberties, but instead catered to a small group’s feelings.

I agree that they won’t get who is paying for the advertisements. Even if they did publish a list, it is likely through 3rd party advertising firms so it wouldn’t tell you much.

The algorithm light would be interesting indeed, but FB and other tech companies will never allow that. FB came out and admitted they had run a mood manipulation experiment. I’m sure they admitted to something small so people would not look at the larger picture.

Amplifying voices is a fantastic idea, but when a company chooses which voices to amplify, they choose their own truth. Mozilla and their SJW practices will want the voices amplified that most closely resemble their own which is part of stifling free speech.

Given that, I do believe Mozilla has lost their original mission and is now trying to make sure the world is protected from their ideas of wrong thinking.

To quote what a wise Kernel once said, " The answer to free speech you disagree with is more free speech."

I can’t state it any better than that.

1 Like

That is interesting in this context. I wonder how Mozilla could, from a technical standpoint, intend to do something like that on the web browser end though, surely they’re not gonna shape traffic and re-order or hide search results for example. I understand how it works on a platform level since e.g. social media platforms are the ones serving the content and will have shaped what you see based on algorithms on the back end.

Anyhow, I’ll cast my judgement on Mozilla once we have more details as to what such a tool would entail. If it were something like a warning when you go to websites that are known for spreading falsehoods and conspiracy theories but it lets you proceed anyhow and you could toggle it off in the settings or about:config, I wouldn’t necessarily mind personally. Moz has to specify what exactly the amplification part of their statement would entail.

For sure. The problem I found is that people who are already deep in the far right corner and believe in conspiracy theories will not be convinced by factual evidence or education, or by being shown the sometimes flagrant contradictions in the theories themselves. Anecdotal evidence, but a few of my extended family members are anti-vaxxers and one of them believes that 5G towers spread Coronavirus. At that point you just can’t have a proper discussion with them anymore, since as soon as the topic comes up it will be in bad faith on their end. No matter how much evidence you bring, they won’t believe it, claim it’s all lies and they know better. It’s very frustrating to deal with.

I think you’re quite right about improved public education and greater focus on seeking truth being needed to combat things like disinformation, propaganda and conspiracy theories. Especially teaching people how to fact-check for themselves and do a little research.

At the same time I wouldn’t mind combating the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation, especially the more harmful ones like anti-vax or the zionist conspiracy. And imo de-platforming offenders is one tool in the toolbox.

1 Like

That’s unfortunate to see, you inspired me to do a mini-deep dive on Thunderbird so i’d have something to link if I run into something similar.


@PBizzle about the CEO, if this was the case, if he did this long before he was hired by Mozilla, then doesn’t this look like a hitjob, done by sjw, to further their cause?
The moment you enter the employment of any company, you adhere to the standards of that company.
What you did in the past, shouldn’t matter, because you weren’t employed there at that time.
If mozilla was to do a background check on every possible new employee, then how far would they have to go?
How far in the past do they need to dig to find out if this person did something that anybody working at mozilla now, could possibly take offense to? (This is starting to look like Stasi practices to me).
And then whe’re entering privacy and how it affects people. (but that’s for a different topic).
In the article below, i’ve read this:
“Eich gave money to the Proposition 8 campaign and now joins a growing number of people who face threats to their livelihoods unless they support gay marriage. He’s much richer than most such people, of course.”
Source: Mozilla Wars | National Review
If you start threatening people, then you’re just as bad as the people you’re trying to fight, imho.
If sjw start to threaten people, in order to get them to see things their way, we’re on the wrong path.
Again, free speech comes into play.
If one can’t adopt another one’s vision on a certain topic (adopt might not be the best word, but english is not my native language), one has to look at himself.
You might disagree, and you can debate about the disagreement, but when it comes to threatening and violence, that’s where things go horribly wrong.
I do however, agree that free speech can have it’s consequences, but even these should be able to be up for debate. (As it goes in a real democracy).

1 Like

The story of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla has been misrepresented for years, so to clear things up, Brendan Eich is a Co-Founder of Mozilla.

It is true to say that Eich was not the CEO of Mozilla until after his donations but he was the CTO at the time and he was there from day-one as he was one of the Co-Founders of Mozilla.

Mozilla did screw up. They didn’t screw up for removing him as CEO, they screwed up by appointing him CEO in the first place. Considering the company stood for equality and openness where as Eich doesn’t seem to agree with that. There were people protesting his appointment to CEO inside of Mozilla at the time of his appointment, one of the board members resigned from the board directly because of his appointment to CEO.

It’s not some kind of hitjob, it was damage control because they appointed someone to control the company who already shown they do not agree with the ideals of the company.

That really doesn’t clear things up. It just reiterates that Mozilla fired someone for what they did in their personal life when they were exercising their free speech rights by donating to a cause they liked.

I don’t agree with you, but I respect what you say. That is the great thing about free and open discourse and I appreciate the respect you have shown in our discussion.

It changes the topic from being personal life to being a representation of the company. He was a Co-Founder of Mozilla which means the things he does in his personal life on that level relating to politics does reflect on the company whether any party wants it to or not. It’s just how it is.

If someone is an employee of a company and they make an arguably bad decision their decision does not reflect on the company. If someone is an officer of a company but they did something arguably bad before becoming a part company, then that should not reflect on the company but sometimes still does. Brendan Eich’s case is very different because he is a Co-Founder and Co-Founders are representatives of a company, society speaking and legally speaking.

I agree with that sentiment. You don’t have to agree to have a civil discussion. Plus an “open discourse” on a Discourse forum. :laughing:

1 Like

Especially, when one of the objects of his money was Ron Paul who is perhaps the most notable Laissez-faire, Libertarian, small government proponent in recent US politics. Was Mozilla fighting that? There were other recipients, clearly. But to me this just underscores the fact that the corporate policy must have been “we choose your alliances.” For many people this corporate position is problematic and seems to be counter to the corporate persona projected in the media.


The way is see this: in this case, because i didn’t have the knowledge that he did this when already employed (next time, i’ll do my homework better), he should have known better then to stick his name to that donation.
Being a public figure and representing a company with standards and values, he should have known better.
Like it or not, your personal life flows together with the company you represent.
Especially in his position.
For instance; at my workplace, we are held to certain values and standards, online and offline. Even when i’m at home, i’m bound by certain rules about how we behave online and offline. (because we are seen as a sort of ambassadors. :upside_down_face: )
That’s just the way it is. I signed that contract, i knew what i was getting into from the start.
In short, if you don’t like the standards and values of a company, don’t go work there. (or hide what you’re doing. Learn something from politics, they’re the pros. :slight_smile:)

It’s a good thing the Brave browser disagrees with you.

Could you explain pls?

He’s their CEO.

Did the Brave team make a statement? Do you have a link?

What do you mean by “He’s their CEO”?

Thank you,

I think i get it. Brendan Eich seems to be the founder & CEO of the company behind Brave.

I haven’t found any legal documents regarding employment at Brave, so i don’t know if Brave disagrees with me or not.
If you start a company then you’re free to make up your own rules i guess.

1 Like

after reading up on a few things. I still have issues with someone being fired for doing something they did years ago not being a part of the company. but i thought this was over the CEO being Catholic. that i will apologize for. this is why i fully Support the separation of church and state. never heard of Ron Paul till today looking up the drama again. I still have Issues with Mozilla wanting to censor the net. I believe if we censor the net the bible is next. i do not want that

1 Like

It’s complicated… your post inspired me to do a mini deep dive, it’s definitely not all one way or the other and there’s a few surprises.

Mozilla’s reasoning:

In 2014 Brendan Eich was appointed CEO and was quickly forced to step down following a social media backlash that included OKCupid asking Firefox users to change browser.

BBC, "Mr Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and was also the creator of the JavaScript scripting language, made a $1,000 (£600) donation in 2008 in support of Californian anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8.

Although it was initially passed, it was later overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

When the announcement of Mr Eich’s appointment was made on 24 March, angry users voiced their opinions on social media. Several high-profile Mozilla employees also weighed in. Three board members also recently resigned - but Mozilla said the events were not linked to Mr Eich."

Mozilla boss Brendan Eich resigns after gay marriage storm - BBC News

The context problem:

The donation occurred in 2008.

2008 Barack Obama said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Holding the position till 2012.

2008 Joe Biden said, “Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage, we do don’t support that” when asked, “Do you support gay marriage?”

Presidential Candidates on Same-Sex Marriage - YouTube

[Hillary] “Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013 after more than a decade of opposing it.”

PolitiFact | Hillary Clinton’s changing position on same-sex marriage

Brendan Eich’s donation was ordinary for 2008, it was a view held by both political parties and expressed by candidates seeking the most approval from the general public of which Obama won the presidency as a Democrat with that view.

Even if the timing were ignored, Eich was pressured to step down in 2014 when the shift in the mainstream view was still in it’s infancy.

2014, Brendan Eich - "Inclusiveness at Mozilla

I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support. At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results.

A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:

  • Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
  • Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
  • My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.
  • My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below. "

[Eich continues for several paragraphs on his vision for LGBT inclusion]

Archived: Brendan Eich » 2014 » March
Current (better CSS): March 2014 – Brendan Eich

Despite the context of the time… his having enough favor to be appointed to the position and a literal mission plan for inclusivity, Mozilla switched position to side with a mob.

I think there’s a great debate to be had about what responsible CEOs should and shouldn’t expect to be able to express but I don’t think Mozilla reached the bar where Eich’s firing can be discussed at that level.

I was curious if Brendan Eich changed his position on marriage since the last public instance of him holding one (which for all I know was 2008). Here’s what’s interesting… I can’t find one. The most he’s said is simply that he’s a Roman Catholic. The debate “elevated” by Mozilla is if a CEO can be a Roman Catholic.