Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook, demands privacy changes

Mozilla
Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation has expressed its discomfort at the Cambridge Analytica revelations and announced that it was “pressing pause” on all advertising on Facebook. Mozilla further says that they will return to Facebook, when the social network “takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps”.

Mozilla is pressing pause on our Facebook advertising. Facebook knows a great deal about their two billion users – perhaps more intimate information than any other company does. They know everything we click and like on their site, and know who our closest friends and relationships are. Because of its scale, Facebook has become one of the most convenient platforms to reach an audience for all companies and developers, whether a multibillion corporation or a not-for-profit.

Mozilla is also running a petition calling for Facebook to lock down app permission settings to ensure users’ privacy is “protected by default”, saying the current default settings “leave a lot of questions and a lot of data flying around”.

Mozilla’s blog post was probably timed to appear after Zuckerberg’s delayed statement on the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal which engulfed his company earlier this week. As Mozilla explained: “We look forward to Facebook instituting some of the things that Zuckerberg promised today”.

The statement arrived a day after the Mozilla Foundation (the non-profit with sole control over the Corporation) launched a petition asking Facebook to act on privacy.

The Foundation’s privacy advocate Ashley Boyd says “Facebook’s current app permissions leave billions of its users vulnerable without knowing it” and she wants the social network giant to change its app permissions and ensure users’ privacy is protected by default.

The advertising pause is a largely symbolic act as Mozilla’s modest ad spend is hardly going to bring down the Social Network. However, it appears to be the first major company to make such a move and many others are currently considering doing the same thing.

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