Mozilla To Run Tests Within Firefox To Prevent Notification Spam From Subscribed Websites

We all know that it is normal for web browsers these days to support push notifications, it’s quite odd to come around browsers that don’t support the widely used feature.  To receive push notifications from websites, users need to accept the notifications before the site is able to use the feature. Push notifications can be very useful to users, however, it has its drawbacks as well. As soon as notifications are allowed, sites start to spam notification requests at users. Noticing the issue at hand, Mozilla has decided to take some steps against this.

Defense Against Notification Spam

In Firefox 59 a feature was introduced which would allow users to block all notifications requests within Firefox, allowing them to control the notifications on a per-site basis. This feature had capabilities similar to a feature that was introduced in Chrome back in 2016.

However, Mozilla decided that this feature alone is not capable enough to defeat notification spam.  Therefore, yesterday, the company announced its plans to run various tests to gain deeper knowledge about notifications and to learn how to prevent notification spamming within Firefox. This is not the first time Mozilla has touch upon this topic as in 2018, Mozilla had promised that they would do something about in-page popups.

Mozilla announced that they were running two different notification experiments within Firefox to collect data and find out how they were going to prevent notification spamming.

The first experiment will be debuted in Firefox 68 Nightly from April 1st to April 29th, 2019 and it will function in the following ways;

  • First two weeks: Firefox won’t show notifications if user interaction did not precede it.
  • Last two weeks: Firefox will show an animated icon in the address bar if a notification was suppressed by the browser.

While the second experiment uses Telemetry to understand how notification prompts. Mozilla states that they want to collect data regarding “circumstances in which users interact with permission prompts.” This would include the number of times the site has been rejected and the time spent on the site.  The second experiment will be run in the Firefox 67 release channel which is scheduled to release on May 14, 2019.

Don’t want to participate in these experiments? You can disable study participation and data collecting from the settings in Firefox.

Murtaza Islam
Murtaza is a Computer Science student who takes immense interest in mobile technology. He believes the future of computing lies in smartphones because ARM architecture will eventually take over. He also loves to tinker with ROMs and kernels keeping up with the latest in smartphones.

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