Mozilla chief regrets internet's addictive quality

November 8, 2018 by Julie Jammot
Mozilla chief Mitchell Baker expressed unease at the way the internet was appealing to the darker aspects of human nature

Web users are being drawn into a relationship with the internet that resembles gambling addicts using slot machines, the head of non-profit tech company Mozilla said Thursday.

Mitchell Baker told the Web Summit in Lisbon how "...the biggest uses, the biggest companies, the biggest commercial uses, are built-in systems that look like addictions.

"It's disappointing, the practice of 'Come to my site, keep you there, keep clicking, keep spreading this information as fast as possible...,'" she added.

"That's a lot like an addiction, it feels a lot like pulling the ," said Baker, who chairs the open-source technology innovator.

"(The) ease with which so many of us can turn to anger and violence is disappointing so that's revealing something about humanity that's a bit disappointing," she added.

Mozilla, which developed the web browser Firefox, earns money from like many other online companies, and Baker admitted to discomfort at the arrangement.

But Katharina Borchert, chief open innovation officer at Mozilla, told AFP: "Advertising is still the model that fuels the vast majority of the web, so we're not against advertising or monetising content."

But she added: "We want to find better balance between user agency, autonomy over data and user safety and security and monetisation opportunity."

Firefox has five percent of the market share for online browsers, well behind Google's market leader Chrome, on 60 percent, according to industry analysts Statcounter.

But it is trying to develop a number of features to set it apart from the competition.

They include an anti-tracking function to appeal to wary of having their every move recorded by the internet giants for advertising purposes.

Explore further: Insider Q&A: Mozilla exec says to demand better internet

Related Stories

Public reports will show Firefox user activity, behavior

August 29, 2018

If there is one blue-ribbon word that Mozilla team members love, it is "open." And this month marks the new Firefox Public Data Report, which unboxes Firefox user activity and behavior—complementing its older relation ...

Google loses US search share, Yahoo on rise

January 9, 2015

Google saw its share of the US Internet search market slip to its lowest ever mark, while Yahoo notched its highest share in five years, an independent analytics firm said Thursday.

Mozilla unleashes sleek new Firefox Web browser

March 22, 2011

A fast, sleek new version of Firefox was released on Wednesday to vie Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and Google Chrome in the fiercely competitive market for Web browsing software.

Recommended for you

Galactic center visualization delivers star power

March 21, 2019

Want to take a trip to the center of the Milky Way? Check out a new immersive, ultra-high-definition visualization. This 360-movie offers an unparalleled opportunity to look around the center of the galaxy, from the vantage ...

Ultra-sharp images make old stars look absolutely marvelous

March 21, 2019

Using high-resolution adaptive optics imaging from the Gemini Observatory, astronomers have uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. The remarkably sharp image looks back into the early history of ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Nov 09, 2018
Thank you for posting that article. This is exactly what I like on, that articles descibe not only technological and science advance, but put them in perspective as well. The problem of addictive construct of web pages is real and somewhat goes unnottices by the most part of society. Or at least it's described only in relation to social media, while in my opinion it is the case of most profit driven pages. Well, capitalism..

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.