Firefox will show sponsored content that’s personalized but private

Firefox will show sponsored content that’s personalized but private

May 16, 2018 Off By gabbyabir

Enlarge / The Pocket recommendations on Firefox’s New Tab page.

Mozilla plans to add sponsored content to its Firefox browser in a bid to increase and diversify its revenue stream.

Since the start of the year, the company has been showing some Firefox users links to recommended content on its New Tab page. Some proportion of the recommendations are sponsored, with content producers paying to be included in the list of recommendations. Those links are now also available in the nightly and beta releases. In Firefox 60, due to ship on May 9th, the feature will roll out to all Firefox users in the US.

The recommended links are personalized, with Mozilla saying that the links should be valuable content that’s worth taking the time to read. Normally, such personalization raises privacy concerns because effective personalization requires the tracking of personal preferences and habits to ascertain what things a person is likely to be interested in. But Mozilla’s personalization is different: it happens entirely on the client side. The browser will download a list of recommended links each day. Each link will also have a list of related websites, with similar kinds of content to that in the sponsored links. The browser will then compare these related sites to your browsing history; if there are lots of matches, Firefox will assume that you’re interested in the recommended content and show it to you.

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