Mozilla, the non-profit company behind Firefox browser, has joined the fight against free speech, motivated by the narrative about what happened at the US Capitol on January 6th. In tandem with other tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google, the CEO of Mozilla Mitchell Baker called for “more than de-platforming”.
The “siege” against the Capitol – which mostly amounted to a group of dressed up LARPers walking around after being let in by police – prompted the failing web browser brand to claim:
“Changing these dangerous dynamics requires more than just the temporary silencing or permanent removal of bad actors from social media platforms.”
The newly defined goals of the company include exposing who advertisers are; and revealing networks of people who are guilty of wrongthink.
Mitchell Baker also wants to make default across his systems the amplification of corporate news voices over third party or entry-level providers.
Their full list of changes to made includes:
- Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.
- Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.
- Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.
- 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.
In the past, critics of Firefox have urged the company to show independence from Google, despite their financial ties. The business model of Mozilla heavily relies on external funding, specifically on search engines.
According to Computer World, 91 percent of Mozilla’s funding in 2018 came from Google (as they secured being Mozilla’s default search engine). This deal was renegotiated in 2020 and extended for three more years, with approximately $400-450 million more landing in Mozilla’s lap.
In their mission statement, Mozilla claims it is their duty that the internet remains a force for good. The company which claims its “core values are openness and inclusion” is now openly advocating for going beyond “de-platforming.”