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How To Automatically Mute Audio On Websites In Firefox

Websites, particularly those that serve up news auto-play videos. Websites that are online portal for news networks like the CNN website often have video that goes with a news story. These videos play automatically whether you like it or not. No one really stops to think that perhaps a person is visiting a news website to read the news instead of hearing it. That’s not to say the videos shouldn’t be there, just that they shouldn’t play automatically. In macOS High Sierra, Safari will automatically stop auto-playing videos. If you use Firefox you can get something similar with Mute sites by default. It can automatically mute audio on websites.

Mute sites by default is a Firefox add-on that mutes all tabs by default. It doesn’t stop to check if a tab is playing a video or audio. It just mutes it.

Automatically Mute Audio On Websites

Install the add-on and you’re good to go. All tabs that you open will have a mute icon. You can unmute a website by right-clicking the tab and selecting ‘Unmute’ from the context menu. This has one unintended side-effect. The website is white-listed so that the next time you visit the same domain, the add-on will not mute it.

Mute sites by default only mutes audio. It doesn’t stop videos from automatically playing. Websites that automatically play videos will continue to play them just with no sound.

Whitelist Websites

You can whitelist websites in one of two ways. The first is to simply unmute a tab when it’s been muted. The domain will automatically be whitelisted. The second is to go to the add-ons settings. Use the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut to open the add-on manager in Firefox. Click the Options button next to the add-on.

Enter a URL and click the Add button to whitelist a website. If you’ve accidentally whitelisted a website, click the ‘Remove’ button next to it.

The add-on does what it claims to do. Users might wish that the add-on also stopped videos from playing automatically but that simply isn’t what it was built for. It’s not an exact replica of the new Safari feature that will come in High Sierra. You will need a different add-on to stop videos from playing automatically.

The only improvement the add-on needs is to not automatically whitelist an app just because you unmuted a tab. A user might, on occasion, watch a video on a website they normally don’t care for but that shouldn’t give the website free reign to play audio whenever it’s open in a tab.

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