Mozilla suggests three Golden Rules for Content Blocking
Mozilla, the makers of the famous web browser, Firefox, has thrown its hat in the ring to suggest how Content Blocking should work.
The proposal comes in the wake of several controversial happenings in the world of ad blocking.
It all began with Apple recently allowing ad blocking apps for its newest mobile operating system iOS 9. Not very surprisingly, the move was met with severe criticism, from content publishers and advertisers. That is how the internet works, websites rely on ads to make money.
And then there came the issue with “Acceptable Ads” program, which allows unobtrusive advertisements to bypass ad blocking algorithms. This was started by the people behind the famous add-on AdBlock Plus, and has also been criticized for not being neutral. More recently, a similarly named Google Chrome extension, called AdBlock, announced that the company had been bought by an “unknown buyer”, and that the new owners will enable the “Acceptable Ads” option by default. Any guesses who the buyer was?
Well, now things seem to be pretty heated up over all this ad blocking issue, and Mozilla seems to have had enough. The Firefox developers, have suggested three Golden Rules for Content Blocking.
- Content Neutrality
- Transparency & Control
Content Neutrality suggests that any content blocking software (add-ons) should not block ads, and instead block content which affect the performance of the browser, and those that put the user’s security and privacy at risk. That sounds like a reference to AdBlock Plus, doesn’t it?
Mozilla’s second proposal suggests that content blocking software needs to allow users, the ability to control the kind of content that is being blocked. This is probably some kind of whitelisting/blacklisting feature, for a part of a website, or the entire website.
Last but not the least, Openness, refers to the fact that content blocking should not be biased, and that it should give advertisers and publishers a chance as well. In case, a website’s content is blocked for some reason, and the people behind it make corrections to improve the website, the content should not be blocked. This also appears to suggest a whitelist/blacklist feature, but without a permanent blocking mechanism in place.
These are merely suggestions from Mozilla, but nevertheless they do seem fair for the publishers, the advertisers, and of course for the user as well. Whether this will be made a reality, remains to be seen. To be fair, most ad blocking software do allow users to disable blocking on any website they want to