Firefox To Halt Browser Pop-Ups

The Mozilla Foundation has announced it will change the way its Firefox browser handles the amount of annoying permission prompts (or pop-ups) when surfing the web.

It comes after Mozilla announced earlier this year its intent to reduce desktop notifications Firefox were seeing on a daily basis.

In June Mozilla also hinted that a premium version of the well-regarded Firefox web browser could be on the cards. For a modest fee, a premium version of Firefox could include features such as cloud storage and even a VPN.

Desktop pop-ups

Mozilla in a blog post announced that with Firefox 72 (due out in January 2020) that since April this year, it has run a series of studies and experiments around restricting these pop-up prompts.

“Based on these studies, we will require user interaction on all notification permission prompts, starting in Firefox 72,” it said. “That is, before a site can ask for notification permission, the user will have to perform a tap, click, or press a key.”

Mozilla has found that notification prompts are very unpopular. It said that about 99 percent of notification prompts go unaccepted, with 48 percent being actively denied by the user.

“This is even worse than what we’ve seen on Nightly, and it paints a dire picture of the user experience on the web,” said Mozilla. “Users are unlikely to accept a prompt when it is shown more than once for the same site.”

Mozilla said that starting from Firefox 70, it will replace the default “Not Now” option with “Never”, which will effectively hide the prompt on a page forever.

And with Firefox 72, it will require user interaction to show notification permission prompts. Prompts without interaction will only show a small icon in the url bar.

“When a permission prompt is denied by Firefox, the user still has the ability to override this automatic decision by clicking the small permission icon that appears in the address bar,” said Mozilla. “This lets users use the feature on websites with that prompt without waiting for user interaction.”

Privacy focus

Mozilla has been working hard of late to expand Firefox with useful functionality.

For example Firefox this year strengthened its privacy capabilities when it included a free-of-charge desktop password manager called Firefox Lockwise.

Mozilla it should be remembered, had already launched its Lockbox password manager for Android and iOS devices last year to help mobile users manage website passwords.

It has also added Tracking Protection in Private Browsing, to stop firms like Facebook from scrapping people’s data.

Other privacy developments include a new interface for Firefox Monitor, which Mozilla launched last year to help users see if their login details have been leaked as part of a data breach.

Another privacy development is the updating of Mozilla’s privacy-focused features including an upgraded Facebook Container extension.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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