There's a new "experimental feature" being tested in Firefox 83: sponsored sites in the URL bar.

"Mozilla works with advertising partners to place sponsored tiles on the Firefox home page (or New Tab) that would be useful to Firefox users. Mozilla is paid when users click on sponsored tiles."

You can disable this by setting `browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.showSponsoredTopSites` to `false`.

Found via

"When you click on a sponsored tile, Firefox sends anonymized technical data to our partner ( through a Mozilla-owned proxy service ( This data does not include any personally identifying information and is only shared when you click on a Sponsored Top Site."

Show thread
@andreas wow, this is utter garbage. I don't understand why I'm shocked anymore but I am.

@andreas I don't get this. Isn't what ad tech companies want and promise to provide "personalised" data and ads? Why would they want anonymised data? What do they make of "someone somewhere clicked a link"? Don't they want to know your PII specifically?

They are also obscuring what data is shared, intentionally or not. There's no info in that repo regarding what they share but links to it suggesting that's where that info is found. But apparently it just relays data.

@andreas surely there must be some way to monetize a browser without turning it into compete shit 🤦‍♂️

@andreas Good, they should have these ads a long time before. Why? Because they are not making money and as a Firefox user I would not like the browser do disappear. I believe that there is a way to implement these ads in a civilized way. We will see.

@andreas now is a good time to pivot to Netsurf and Gemini :blobuwu:

@andreas ah yes, the race to make a profit continues

just another one for user.js (as long as they don't cull that someday :blobcatgoogly:

@andreas so @sir when is sourcehut entering the browser business 😉

@andreas I don't see anything about the ULR bar; did I just miss it?
"Mozilla works with advertising partners to place sponsored tiles on the Firefox home page (or New Tab) that would be useful to Firefox users. Mozilla is paid when users click on sponsored tiles. "

It says ads on the new tab page, which I'm pretty sure they already have?

@ari yeah, confusingly the URL bar was only called out in that Reddit thread but not in the support page.


These already exist as of much older Firefox versions (78):



They ought to be disabled by default in #Debian...

Thanks for alerting the Fediverse! :)

@boud I believe the “showSponsoredTopSites” is a new rule in 83 in addition to the older “showSponsored” rule.

@andreas You might have misunderstood the post but it was about the start page not the URL bar. Those are dramatically different things. I was pretty freaked out until I read the article.

@mnw yeah, confusingly the support page doesn’t mention the URL bar but the Reddit author shows sponsored sites do appear there 🤔

Firefox sometimes showes the same links in the search bar as on the top pages site
so maybe thats the way they still go there

@andreas Yiikes, but not surprising

I wish @copyme was getting more responses, would like to see some reasoned debate on this. Open source is obviously really hard to fund. But is this the best way to? Where's the jury?

@andreas Welp, I think each day I'm getting more convinced to either move to Brave or to ungoogled chromium (which is most likely)

@andreas Why not?If that makes Mozilla a bit more independent from Googles millions for default search,I think this is a good thing.

@andreas come in, why are they doint thau crap? That's really not bad...

@andreas not that I don’t believe this, but I am dumbfounded. If this is true, then Firefox is already dead, and we are just waiting for its corpse to cool completely.

@andreas Am I actually going to have to use EWW as my main browser?

Sign in to participate in the conversation
nitrohorse Ⓐ

Personal instance of nitrohorse (