Mozilla faces flak for secretly installing Mr Robot plugin on Firefox

The Looking Glass extension was quietly installed on many user's Firefox Quantum browsers. It is a part of Mr. Robot's Alternate Reality Game and makes some changes to specific websites when enabled.

Published Date
18 - Dec - 2017
| Last Updated
18 - Dec - 2017
Mozilla faces flak for secretly installing Mr Robot plugin on Fir...

A Mozilla Firefox extension called ‘Looking Glass’ was secretly installed on various user’s browsers without any notification. The plugin was supposed to promote the third-season finale of Mr. Robot which aired recently and is a part its Alternate Reality Game(ARG). Its description was updated today to provide more information but previously it only said, “MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT FROM YOURS.”, which was enough to cause panic amongst many Firefox users.

One Firefox user wrote on Reddit, “I have no idea what it is or where it came from. I freaked out a bit and uninstalled it immediately,” Another user took to Mozilla’s support forum and said, “I did not remember installing this add-on, I would not knowingly install it. Firefox, Antivirus and OS are all up-to-date. Any explanations welcome because I can't find any reference online.”

A documentation for the plug-in on Mozilla’s support page reveals that it was developed in collaboration with the company and the Mr. Robot team at USA networks. The updated description of the extension also confirms this as it lists both USA network’s executives and Mozilla developers as the creators. It is also mentioned that the extension won’t activate unless users have opted into Mr. Robot’s ARG. 

The incident raises many privacy concerns and many users asked the company for an explanation. “Firefox worked with the Mr. Robot team to create a custom experience that would surprise and delight fans of the show and our users. It’s especially important to call out that this collaboration does not compromise our principles or values regarding privacy. The experience does not collect or share any data,” Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, chief marketing officer of Mozilla, said in a statement to Gizmodo. “The experience was kept under wraps to be introduced at the conclusion of the season of Mr. Robot. We gave Mr. Robot fans a unique mystery to solve to deepen their connection and engagement with the show and is only available in Firefox.” Mozilla then moved the Looking Glass extension to Firefox’s public add-on store and has released its code on Github.

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