Mozilla appeared to be trying to promote computer privacy, awareness and security with its Mr. Robot tie-in extension. Mr. Robot is a popular hacker TV program and Mozilla appears to have used this connection with its browser add-ons.
While well intentioned with this move, Mozilla faced backlash from its user base who reported that a strange extension has been forced onto their browser with no explanation as to why. The description of the extension reading only “MY REALITY IS DIFFERENT THAN YOURS” did not help shed any light to users, many of whom immediately believed they were under an obscure cyber-attack.
On a Reddit thread on the issue, users began to criticise Mozilla for scaring them with the poorly handled implementation of the extension. Many users stating they had no idea about the TV show and that they could not be expected to understand the reference.
The Looking Glass extension had been installed remotely on their browsers through the partnership with Mr. Robot but stopped when received a backlash from customers. The extension was then removed from all browsers and instead offered on the Mozilla app store for people to choose to install if they wanted to.
Mozilla’s marketing chief stated that the company has learned a “good deal” during the incident and that they only even had “the best intentions”. Mozilla worked quickly on correcting this issue but are no doubt scratching their heads at what went wrong.
The incident highlighted just how much control some organisations have over what happens on our computer’s and even well-meaning companies could make very costly mistakes. Many analysts have commented that Mozilla should have known better than that have gone through with this plan.
The remote installation of this extension was done via a tool that Mozilla uses to test its browsers’ features. Many Firefox users have since said that are disabling this function in their browsers, showing that this episode has somewhat damaged trust with the organisation.
This extension was only installed onto browsers used by people within the United States and was checked to make sure it did not collect any user data.
Mozilla has stated that it was not paid by Mr. Robot to carry out this tie in and that it was a friendly gesture between them and the show’s audience. Mozilla felt that there were many similarities between fans of the show and Firefox users, hoping to create a fun tie-in with this extension.