Mozilla’s Mr. Robot promo backfires after it installs a Firefox extension without permission

If you’re a Firefox user, then you may have noticed a weird new extension that suddenly showed up in your browser this week.

The extension is called “Looking Glass 1.0.3” and this is its description: MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT FROM YOURS. Now that sounds ominous. It’s really not, though. It’s a promotional campaign between Firefox and the TV series Mr. Robot that brings an alternate reality game to your browser. This must have sounded like a great idea when somebody pitched it to Mozilla, but the backlash has been fierce.

There are some obvious synergies between the Mr. Robot and Mozilla brands, after all (or so I assume based on what I’ve heard; I’ve only seen one episode). And the extension doesn’t really do anything until you’ve opted into the game.

But still, if Mozilla is positioning itself as the privacy-conscious alternative to Google, Microsoft and others, then installing an extension without asking users first doesn’t feel right at all. It doesn’t help that the extension seems to come from Mozilla’s Shield project, which is the company’s platform for testing new features in Firefox with a subset of users who opt-in to giving these types of things a try.

And then there’s the fact that you simply can’t assume that the majority of Firefox users even cares about Mr. Robot (or knows what it is). It may have an outsized following inside of developer circles, but we’re talking about a show that had just under 700,000 viewers for its last season opener.

It all just feels a bit tone deaf, so we reached out to Mozilla to get a better grip on what the organization was thinking. So far, we have not received a response but will update this post once we hear more.

Featured Image: Getty Images

Published at Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:28:07 +0000