Privacy appears to have become something of a foreign concept to Mozilla in some areas. A while back, Firefox began showing ads on the new tab page which users weren’t at all happy about. Now, it appears that the browser is giving add-on suggestions in the URL bar. If you navigate to a website and the Firefox add-on market place happens to have a particularly popular add-on built for the website, you will get a suggestion to download it. Here’s how you can disable add-on suggestions in Firefox.
Disable add-on suggestions
Open Firefox and on the new tab page, click the cog wheel button at the top right of the page. This will take you to Firefox’s options. On the Option’s page, the General tab will be selected by default. Scroll down to the ‘Browsing’ section and disable the ‘Recommend extensions as you browse’ option. That should do the trick.
I don’t know if this is a new feature or a somewhat old one since Firefox isn’t my default browser. I use it for certain things that I don’t want to use Chrome (my default browser) for. This was my first time seeing the suggestion and what was particularly off-putting was the fact that I had actually been looking the exact add-on that Firefox suggested, in Chrome. Maybe it was coincidence, or maybe the add-on is just insanely popular, or maybe every single data sharing conspiracy theory ever is correct but seeing the suggestion was unnerving.
Firefox is advertising add-ons and assuming users are okay with it much like it did when it began advertising services on the new tab page. With add-ons, they are mostly developed by third-party developers and not by Mozilla so no matter how you look at it, it is a sort of ad. Perhaps Mozilla isn’t getting money for it like it wasn’t getting money for the ads on the new tab page but that hardly matters.
The suggestion appears as an alert in the URL bar and if you click it, it expands into an alert box that can redirect you to the suggested add-on. Even if Mozilla isn’t getting money for showing these suggestions, it is nevertheless putting developers who have just developed and released new add-ons at a disadvantage. The ‘feature’ puts a spotlight on add-ons that are already popular. Much like Apple’s App Store where most apps struggle to be discovered or seen, this makes it difficult for newer add-ons to be visible.