back to article Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

The Mozilla Foundation has expressed its discomfort at the Cambridge Analytica revelations by pulling its ads from Facebook. While the disappearance of Mozilla's modest ad spend is hardly going to bring down The Social Network™, the organisation's decision to “pause” its Facebook advertising came after Zuckerland tried to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla says it will take a “wait and see” approach: if satisfied by what Mark Zuckerberg delivers in his promise to make privacy settings “more protective”, “specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning”.

    Good luck with that. I checked and the defaults for third party apps I saw was default permissive. I corrected that although whether Facebook will allow my settings to stick is an open problem. [Yeah, I know. It's a family thing.]

  2. JakeMS

    If you want privacy...

    Facebook (or Google for that matter) is not the place to find it. I mean all of this has been part of the ToS and Privacy Policy of FB for years.

    Frankly people really shouldn't expect a lot of privacy from Facebook. That is not its intended purpose.

    Remember, with Facebook YOU are the product. The advertisers and companies like Cambridge Analytica are the customer.

    Not sure why so many people are acting so shocked. We've always known Facebook sells its user data.

    But this is one of those times where when people come moaning "Facebook gave my data away" I can say "Sorry to hear that, thankfully it doesn't effect me, I've never had a Facebook account."

    1. Tromos

      Re: If you want privacy...

      I've never had a Facebook account either. And yet, Facebook has my name, address, phone number, photograph and a whole load of other data. If you have friends who are on Facebook, their contact lists and snaps are all slurped up by the likes of Facebook and Google despite the lack of consent from the third parties involved. Short of becoming a total recluse, I don't really see a way round this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you want privacy...

        Yep, I remember the first time Facebook asked me "is xxx-xxx-xxxx your mobile number" when it was and I was how the hell did they know that? After a moment of sheer paranoia I realized that I had friends who had me in their phone's contact list and allowed Facebook to grab it. We were also friends in Facebook so it assumed by the name it must be mine.

        To their credit they just occasionally ask if it is mine because they want to include a number for me but haven't ever automatically put it in so I still don't have a phone number listed on Facebook. I think they have required that for new accounts for some time but I joined in like 2006 so I dodged that bullet...

        1. VinceH

          Re: If you want privacy...

          Well, I created my new account a couple of years ago, and only started occasionally using it in the last few months - and I don't have a mobile set, so if they do insist it's very recent.

          (I don't log-in often because, frankly, it's even more crap now than it used to be many years ago. So much so that despite saying around Christmas that I'd start using it again, I really can't be arsed - so I'm not bothering to look for and add friends; if anyone who knows me spots me on there, and they send a request, I'll probably accept it - but it's not happening the other way around. As a result, I have just three or four friends on there!)

          I have spotted something odd, though - or perhaps creepy would be a better word. In fact, yes, I think creepy is a much better word, especially if preceded by "extremely fucking"


          If I go into my ad settings on Facebook, under "Your interests" it lists Plex.

          I did install Plex in three places, and removed it again - prior to my new, limited use of Facebook. But I haven't "Liked" Plex on Facebook. I haven't even mentioned Plex on Facebook. There should be no way Facebook can know that I ever tried it - yet there it is.

          (I do have suspicions about how it got there, but nothing concrete. I need to look into it a little more and write it up at some point.)

      2. GnuTzu

        Re: If you want privacy...

        Some people have been decent enough to ask my consent to use pictures that include me and my name on Facebook, and I sometimes say O.K. to the pic and first name only. And, I've never been on Facebook either, so I've never consented to their EULA. Are there third-party restrictions? There should be.

  3. Mark 85

    Mozilla isn't the only one pulling ads.

    Some news sites are reporting that more than a few advertisers are pulling their ads from FB. Beginning of the end?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mozilla isn't the only one pulling ads.

      Nope. Not even close even should every First World citizen drop them like a hot rock. There's always the rest of the planet to exploit. Well the rest less China. They will adapt. They always do.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: Mozilla isn't the only one pulling ads.

        I think it's the beginning of something, even if it's only to demonstrate to the masses what many of us have known since day 1; that is, if you post it online you share it with the world.

        Again, Mozilla might not make much a dent in ad budget, but it's quite a signal (although I'm kinda surprised to hear they even advertised on there at all).

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Mozilla isn't the only one pulling ads.

      > more than a few advertisers are pulling their ads from FB

      Rather, a few advertisers are doing some public virtue signaling to reassure their clients.

      Of course they won't cut the bonds with Facebook, Facebook is their pal, they work in the same industry, they understand each other. They are just taking some distance (publicly) for a month or two, so they can claim "ethics" in their communication.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advertising is borderline scamming per definition

    Although I definitely agree that the whole thing isn't very ethical I also believe people should really clue up already. I mean... they're using "free" services on the Internet but as one should know by now there is no such thing as "free", there's always a price and/or a catch.

    This ranges from Facebook right down to Google's online services. Take GMail. Yeah, it might seem free enough but it's not: you pay through advertisements and other commercial crap which they spew all over you. People get really upset with Facebook all of a sudden while simply totally ignoring that Google, Twitter and pretty much every other online "media platform" does exactly the same thing.

    If you don't want your data to be sold by 3rd parties then... well, here's a weird idea: How about not placing it online in the first place?

    1. Alister

      Re: Advertising is borderline scamming per definition

      If you don't want your data to be sold by 3rd parties then... well, here's a weird idea: How about not placing it online in the first place?

      Unfortunately, as mentioned above, it doesn't work like that. If your friends, family or work colleagues have a social media account, then the chances are your details will be sucked up as well through their accounts.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem is Big-Tech is driven by Alpha-Male Sociopaths

    They just see people as data, an opportunity waiting to be exploited etc. There is no remorse and they absolutely will not stop ever! In short, they're Terminator like! There is no study of history, no understanding of the Stasi. Its only about minting money. Because this is the America Fuck Yeah way:

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Problem is Big-Tech is driven by Alpha-Male Sociopaths

      I'm inclined to go for sociopath given the dumb fucks quote.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Hitting where it hurts

    It's nice to see that some parts of CorporateLand are not completely borgified by the money god, because if there is one thing that has a chance of making a company change, it's hitting it in the bottom line.

    Delta and others dropping NRA support was an enormous surprise to me, and now Mozilla and others are not spending ad money on FaceBook.

    I feel a slight temperature drop Down Below. Somebody just might be in need of a sweater.

    That, or I have a fever and I don't know it.

  7. Voland's right hand Silver badge


    The Society's position statement says the data-slurp,

    They were happy to use it and are still happy to use it - that is why they are on Facebook. It provides them with targeted advertising. The pretense that they are not happy with the rather obvious fallout is rather disingenuous.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    After running some ad campaigns on Facebook I am not sure its as good of a platform for advertisers as everyone makes out. Sure you can target very specific demographics of people, but i found from my (admittedly limited) tests that you could get a lot of likes and comments but very few people actually clicking through to leave Facebook and go to your external links. So it might be ok if your goals for your ads are to increase brand awareness or get interactions on your Facebook fan page. But if you actually want to get the people to leave Facebook and got to your own web site it is quite poor platform and I found Google ads are better as you only pay for actual clicks to your site.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what these companies combined know about you.?

    Its all well and good being able to see what a single company has in your profile what i want to see is the interconnected web that links the data each company has, facebook have in their records my google email, google have a different set of data to Facebook. so if a company like cambridge analitica could get these two data sets and combine them using intersecting data the resulting combined dataset is infinitely more usefull.

    Can they link my multiple disparate online personas back to my actual real world idenity. thats the real question i need to find the answers to.

    my coat is the one with teh tin foil hat in the pocket.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pulling its ads from Facebook

    this week.


    what? do you wanna bet they resume soon, QUIETLY? All those publicized gestured over the last few days, businesses, politicians, "data protection bodies", etc. this is just to turn a flop into an OPPORTUNITY (for self-promotion)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: pulling its ads from Facebook

      Why do you assume they will return? Mozilla is a non-profit, and advertising browsers on a platform that is mostly accessed via mobile these days is probably not the most productive use of their advertising dollar anyway.

      I mean, there's no reason for iPhone users to download Firefox (if there even is a version for iOS) since it would have to use WebKit, and there's no reason for Android users to download it because they've already handed Google all their data so worrying about browser privacy is kinda pointless.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The MSM finally calling Facebook out:

    "Facebook’s business model is pretty simple. It offers a free service to connect users with loved ones and others of similar interests. In return, it collects data about what its users do online (and, increasingly, OFFLINE). It then uses this data to sell targeted advertising. The whole thing works brilliantly."

    "FB like so many others that profit from selling access to their users’ data -- seems reluctant to describe so explicitly how it makes money. Instead, in response to news that data from as many as 50 million users was gathered and shared by a third party without their knowledge, Facebook issued a statement that begins: “Protecting people’s information is the most important thing we do at Facebook.”

    "There is always some distance between what a company says it does and what it actually does. For Facebook, it’s greater than most. And -- unlike for many companies -- this disconnect is no longer an abstract concern. As the network assumes a central role in public life in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is warping politics and misleading voters. Facebook’s cherished myth that it’s simply “bringing the world closer together” is becoming hard to defend."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      2 nice choice links in that article:

      Facebook Doesn’t Tell Users Everything It Really Knows About Them


      What Happens When You Don't Like or Share Anything

      How Facebook Uses Your Real World Shopping to Target Ads

  12. GnuTzu

    Source of Malware

    Since advertising had been tagged as a source of malware, little has been done to sanitize scummy advertising. And, why should they? The way advertising currently works, the advertisers have control over the way advertising is delivered because it's hosted on their systems--not the systems that users are visiting. What the bigger services like Facebook should do is require their clients turn over their advertising to them to sanitize and moderate. And, because the advertisers won't have to pay for their own hosting, they'll be able to pay Facebook and such more.

    You see, the more I work with HTTP, HTML, and JavaScript, the more creeped out I am by the notion that I can go to a web site and see background requests to garbage sites all over the World. Advertisers who host their own content in that way are just the creepiest thing out their, and that's long been the default on the Internet. It's time to change that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Das ist der Topf, den Kessel nennt. :-/

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