Leak points to Firefox Focus ad-blocking plan

January 21, 2019 | 11:18

Tags: #ad-blocking #advertising #firefox #firefox-focus #mobile-browser #security #web-browser

Companies: #alphabet #google #mozilla

Mozilla may be looking to follow rival Google into the ad-blocking business, according to a bug-tracking ticket which appears to discuss new functionality due for testing in the next release of its mobile-centric Firefox Focus browser.

After launching development efforts in 2017, Google - whose parent company Alphabet makes the overwhelming majority of its revenue from advertising - made the controversial decision to create an on-by-default ad blocking in its popular Chrome web browser. Rather than blocking everything, however, the feature - which recently announced it will roll out internationally - only blocks adverts which breach the rules of the Coalition for Better Ads, with Google's own advertising naturally coming down on the correct side of the fence in order to remain visible.

Now, Mozilla appears to be working on adding on-by-default ad blocking of its own, but starting with its mobile-centric Firefox Focus browser rather than its desktop equivalent. The leaked plan comes courtesy of Bleeping Computer, which was the first to spot a bug-tracking ticket which claims that Mozilla is 'introducing an Ad Blocking feature in [Firefox] Focus 9.0,' due for release in February.

The feature won't be made available to everyone, however: The ticket explains that the company will be running AB testing for three weeks, in which 50 percent of users will receive ad blocking while the other 50 percent won't. During this time, Mozilla is said to be tracking daily active users, one-day and seven-day retention figures, median and 95th percentile session timings, average page load times, and the percentage of active daily users who enable ad-blocking and the percentage that then disable it again.

Mozilla has refused to comment on the upcoming feature publicly.

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