Mozilla, the non-profit company behind the Firefox browser, has joined the fight against free speech, driven by the story of what happened on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In tandem with other tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google, Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker has called for “more than dismantling.”
The ‘siege’ on the Capitol – which consisted mostly of a group of dressed LARPs walking around after being let in by police – prompted the failed web browser brand to assert:
“Changing these dangerous dynamics requires more than just temporarily silencing or permanently removing bad actors from social media platforms.”
Newly defined goals for the company include exposure of advertisers; and revealing networks of people guilty of bad thinking.
Mitchell Baker also wants to make voice amplification of corporate news from third-party or entry-level vendors by default in his systems.
The full list of changes to be made includes:
- Reveal who pays for ads, how much they pay and who is targeted.
- Commit to meaningful transparency of the platform’s algorithms so that we know how and what content is amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.
- Enable tools to amplify factual voices about disinformation by default.
- Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the impact of platforms on people and our societies, and what we can do to make things better.
In the past, Firefox critics have urged the company to show its independence from Google, despite their financial ties. Mozilla’s business model relies heavily on external funding, particularly on search engines.
According to Computer World, 91% of Mozilla’s funding in 2018 came from Google (because they secured Mozilla’s default search engine). That deal was renegotiated in 2020 and extended for another three years, with around $ 400 million to $ 450 million more in Mozilla’s lap.
In its mission statement, Mozilla affirms that it is its duty that the Internet remain a force for good. The company which affirms that its “fundamental values are openness and inclusion” is now openly pleading to go beyond “de-platform”.