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YAMR (Yet Another Mozilla Rant) - Battling "fake news"

This is it folks. This is a 'rotten cherry on the top of the stinking cake' moment with a big fat pit right in the middle of it.

I recently learned that the multi-million dollar Mozilla corporation has decided that i (and you) are idiots; that we are incapable of analyzing news stories in order to determine whether they are creditable; that we should be reading the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and the like to get our "news". And so Mozilla has decided that it is they, the developers of a freaking web browser, that should step in to help steer us back on the right track by saving us from ... FAKE NEWS!

Yes, on 8 August, 2017, the Mozilla foundation launched their incarnation of the Great Firewall of China by deciding to combat "fake news" via The Mozilla Information Trust Initiative, aka MITI. And what news does the Mozilla Information Trust Initiative consider "fake news"? Well, apparently any news that doesn't originate from a mainstream source:

Imagine this: Two news articles are shared simultaneously online.

The first is a deeply reported and thoroughly fact checked story from a credible news-gathering organization. Perhaps Le Monde, the Wall Street Journal, or Süddeutsche Zeitung.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL!?!? "... a deeply reported and thoroughly fact checked story ...". Are You Kidding Me Right Now!

Let's just have a quick look at the track record of the Wall Street Journal which, by the way, is essentially as biased and corrupt as any other mainstream government/corporate mouthpiece:

20 Reasons Not to Trust the Journal Editorial Page | FAIR (1-Sep-1995)

When Anita Hill took a polygraph test to try to substantiate her charges of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, the Wall Street Journal attacked her in an editorial (10/15/91) titled “Credibility Gulch: “Lie detector tests are so unreliable they are rarely allowed as evidence in court.

But just eight months later (6/9/92), when the Journal argued against an Iran/Contra perjury indictment of former secretary of Defense (and editorial page contributor) Caspar Weinberger, this was its main evidence for Weinberger’s innocence: “Mr. Weinberger has taken and passed a lie-detector test on the matter.

[...]

The Continuing Decline of McDonald’s : The Corbett Report (10-Jan-2017)

The global giant’s [McDonald's] influential PR machine has used sleight-of-hand and other tricks to make this restructuring look like a smash success. They used their cheerleaders at the Wall Street Journal to hype “stronger-than-expected profit and sales figures and their boosters at US News & World Report to hype some highly-selective earnings comparisons suggesting that this “turnaround is, to use the WSJ’s phrase, “sustainable.

But one doesn’t have to scratch too hard to reveal the rusty reality beneath this PR paint job.

Wall Street Journal circulation scam claims senior Murdoch executive | Media | The Guardian (12-Oct-2011)

One of Rupert Murdoch's most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation's flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal's true circulation.

WSJ sourced Obama skinny quotes from Yahoo Message Boards (4-Aug-2008)

A journalist at the Wall Street Journal has been caught sourcing quotes for an article on Barak Obama being too thin to be President from a Yahoo Message Board.

In the article Too Fit to be President?, Wall Street Journal political correspondent Amy Chozick endeavored in the best News Corp tabloid style to create a story around the rather bizarre notion that voters wouldn’t vote for Obama because he was too thin, saying that “some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.

In the piece, she includes the quote “I won’t vote for any beanpole guy, and originally didn’t attribute the source. Sadly No reports that the source was a Yahoo Message Board where Chozick actually asked for negative comments using her own name:

Plagiarizing? If the President Can Do it, Why Can't We? - Lawyers.com (article removed) (28-Dec-2009)

An online columnist for the Wall Street Journal was caught plagiarizing. Freelance writer Mona Sarika, who wrote the “New Global Indian online column, used content from the Washington Post, Little India, India Today and San Francisco magazine.

Sarika copied direct quotes from other articles, without providing sources. She also changed the original speakers’ names apparently making up new ones.

WSJ Fakes a Green Shift Toward Nuclear Power | FAIR (24-Jun-2016)

The Wall Street Journal has a long history of editorial page support for nuclear power (4/17/01; 8/5/09; 11/9/09; 4/6/11; 5/24/13, to cite but a few) and against wind power (5/22/06, 3/1/10, 8/24/10, 11/8/12, 5/18/14 and others). In publishing this piece as edited, perhaps it is telling a story it wishes were true. As Harder’s article itself acknowledges, nuclear power is in decline due to a combination of economics, displacement by renewables and opposition. The green groups’ supposed change of heart “comes at a critical time, as several financially struggling reactors are set to shut down even as other reactors already have, due to the low price of natural gas and state policies “that favor renewables over nuclear power. As if to prove that point, the story provided a list of a dozen reactors that have been or will soon be shut down.

At Wall Street Journal, Government-Enforced Monopolies = ‘Free Market’ | FAIR (22-Jul-2015)

Ingram bizarrely touts the “flowing pipeline of new wonder drugs spurred by a free market, which he warns will be stopped by “government price controls. This juxtaposition is bizarre, because patent monopolies are 180 degrees at odds with the free market. These monopolies are a government policy to provide incentives for innovation. Ingram obviously likes this policy, but that doesn’t make it the “free market.

Yes, Wall Street Journal, It's Possible to Be Not Generous Enough | FAIR (10-Mar-2015)

The Wall Street Journal is soon to run a piece on improper denials of disability claims.

That’s inevitable, since any fair-minded newspaper that ran a column on improper approvals would surely want to balance it out.

At Wall Street Journal, Reporting Assault Through Israel’s Eyes | FAIR (13-Jul-2013)

In a news report on the Israeli military’s investigation of its own deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, the Wall Street Journal (7/13/10) passes off as fact, with no qualifier, the Israeli government’s claim that members of IHH, a Turkish humanitarian organization, “attacked the Israeli soldiers as they boarded the ship.

On Islamist Terrorism, WSJ Entitled to Its Own Opinions—But Not Its Own Facts | FAIR (16-Mar-2011)

This is a complete misrepresentation of the Rand report. The report is exclusively about Muslim radicalization and jihadism, not about domestic terrorism in general, as the WSJ would lead you to believe—if anything, it’s surprising that there are any non-Muslim jihadist plotters. (The exceptions were two men who agreed for their own secular purposes to collaborate with undercover FBI informants purporting to work for Al-Qaeda.)

The vast majority of “homegrown terrorist attackers—those of all ideologies who successfully carry out an attack—are not Muslim, the report finds: Of the “83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three…were clearly connected with the jihadist cause.

I could go on and on for months and months digging out the literal fake news pumped out by the Wall Street Journal or any other mainstream publication, but you can do that yourself if you're so inclined. The point is, it is the mainstream media that is garbage; that is FAKE NEWS. Why? Simple: greed. Whenever there is greed involved -- greed for money or greed for power or greed for control -- there will always be corruption. Now granted, there is certainly boatloads of disinformation and misinformation all over the world wide web, but mixed in there are also some highly ethical people and small organizations that actually report the facts and back them with references. And who the hell is a multi-million dollar corporation (Mozilla) to dictate to you or i who is creditable and who is not? I have been watching probably an average of 50-100 news sites almost daily for many years and as a result of studying these sites and fact checking their content, i can confidently suggest some real news sites to follow if you're interested:

How about NPR, Mozilla? Are they a creditable resource? I'll bet they are in your eyes.

It is sites like those listed above that are actively being targeted by war-mongering, self-serving, psychopathic globalists who profit from endless war and stunting the development of the human species. The truth is irrelevant; all that matters is that you and i swallow whatever story it is that supports whatever agenda is being promoted at the moment by whatever government or corporation promoting it and now, to my surprise, even Mozilla has joined the ranks of those that want to control what information is available on the web, an architecture that was built with the free flow of information at its heart.

There must be some sort of funding that is being dished out to those willing to get on the "fake news" bandwagon. There is quite obviously a huge push to combat so-called "fake news" and return the masses to digesting the puke that spews out of the rancid bellies of corporate giants like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and all the rest of the mainstream presstitutes. Facebook, Google, Youtube - they are all doing the same thing. Are they getting paid to censor? Is Mozilla getting paid to take part in this? I don't know, but i just may dig in and find out one of these days.

From The Mozilla Information Trust Initiative article:

This is why we’re launching MITI. We’re investing in people, programs, and projects that disrupt misinformation online.

Why Mozilla? The spread of misinformation violates nearly every tenet of the Mozilla Manifesto, our guiding doctrine.

Disrupt? So you want to use your corporate leverage to "disrupt" the flow of information? Sounds a lot like censorship, doesn't it? Is that the principle on which the internet was built? From the Mozilla Manifesto:

The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.

Well tell us Mozilla, how is it that the internet can remain open and equally accessible when corporate gate-keepers intend to steer the rest of us in a direction that benefits the powerful few and leads to total information control for the rest of us?

I think i'll take their survey once again. In the mean time, go screw yourself Mozilla - i'll do my own homework and decide what's fake news and what isn't.

Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations

This tutorial will cover how to sanitize and add search engine plugins for Mozilla Firefox in order to protect your privacy.

See the revision history at the end of this document.

When 'free' software isn't

Have you ever wondered how Mozilla gets paid by the privacy-hating mega-monopolies like Google? Simple; when you use the default search engine plugins that are packaged with the browser, parameters similar to these are added to your search query:

client=firefox
name="appid" value="ff"
name="hspart" value="mozilla"

These parameters inform the search engine that you're using a Firefox/Mozilla product and that, in part, is how Mozilla is able to rake in millions annually. I would have no problem whatsoever with Mozilla making money were it an ethical company, but it isn't. If you do not wish to support Mozilla for partnering with highly unethical companies like Google or want to punish them for the many other stupid things they've done, read on.

Types of search engines

The two primary types of search engines are meta search engines and search indexes and it is important to understand the difference. Google, Yahoo and Bing for example use software "robots" called "crawlers" to discover and index web content. In other words these companies actively seek out updated and fresh content to store in their databases so it's ready for you to find. On the other hand, meta search engines do not index the web and instead rely upon third parties such as Google and/or Bing to provide their search results (most use Bing). When you use these so-called "alternative" search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, Startpage, Searx, etc., you are still subject to the filter bubbles and censorship that is practiced by the corporate giants. That said, privacy-respecting meta search engines may still have value because they offer a method to access the data-harvesting corporate giants without the privacy violations that accessing them directly would incur. Understand though that they are not true alternatives as they are often described, but more like proxies. These "alternative" search engines are also subject to local laws, such as secret surveillance requests issued by a government.

Indexing the web involves storing massive amounts of data and having the bandwidth to deliver the search results and this is an incredibly difficult and expensive proposition that requires significant resources and infrastructure. This is why meta search companies like DuckDuckGo, Startpage, Qwant and others rely heavily upon corporations like Alphabet's Google and Microsoft's Bing. There are better alternatives that both respect your privacy and are censorship resistant however. Ever hear of a peer-to-peer distributed search engine? Imagine a free, open-source, decentralized search engine where the web index is created and distributed by ordinary people using personal computers, each storing a piece of the whole. This is what the developers behind YaCy have done with their search engine and i think it's a great way to escape the filter bubbles created by big tech, however YaCy is not yet a viable search engine as of this writing. Mojeek, although it's a centralized search engine, is very focused on privacy, maintains it's own index, and is quite usable. For a list of alternative search engines, see Alternative Search Engines That Respect Your Privacy.

Adding search engines to Firefox

To mitigate potential risks to your anonymity posed by the default Firefox search engines, simply disable all of them and use alternatives. One easy way to add a search engine to Firefox is to find one you like and then right-click the address bar and click the "Add..." menu item. Most search engines can be added to Firefox in the same way, but there are additional methods also.

Another easy way to add a custom search engine to Firefox is with the Search Engines Helper add-on by Soufiane Sakhi.

Yet another way to add custom search engines is by using the mozlz4-edit add-on by 'serj_kzv'. This extension allows you to edit the search.json.mozlz4 search engine plugin file directly from within Firefox, though a browser restart is necessary before the changes are realized. This file is located in your Firefox profile directory and it is here that Firefox stores the code for all of its search engine plugins. If you use this tool, be careful not to touch the default search engines in the file, else Firefox will discard all your changes. Instead you can create copies of the default engines and edit the copies if you want to use them.

Manually editing search.json.mozlz4

If you would rather avoid the hassle of manually editing the default Firefox search engine plugins, see the 'Download preconfigured search plugins' section below where you can download my search.json.mozlz4 file.

If you don't want to manually edit the default Firefox search engine plugins you should at least use something like the ClearURLs add-on or the ClearURLs for uBo list which requires uBlock Origin and which strips the tracking parameters from the search result links. You should also disable JavaScript for all mainstream search engine websites where possible, especially Google and Bing. For this i would again recommend uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill.

If you have already added custom search engines to Firefox, create a copy of search.json.mozlz4 and work with the copy, reason being that if you mess up, Firefox will will delete all of your modifications and restore the default search plugins. If you don't want to see or use the default engines, simply disable them in the search preferences of Firefox. And no, as far as i know you cannot remove the default search engine plugins. If you don't know where your Firefox profile is located, load about:profiles in the address bar and you'll figure it out.

To edit the search engines contained in the search.json.mozlz4 file using the mozlz4-edit extension, just click it's tool bar icon, then 'Open file' and point it to your search.json.mozlz4 file after you've made a backup copy. I'm not sure it's possible to sanitize the default search engine plugins which are packaged with Firefox any longer because the URL parameters discussed earlier are no longer contained in the file, but if you want to modify them in any way you must copy them and edit the copies being sure to give the copies different names since no two search plugins can share the same name.

Download preconfigured search plugins

If you'd rather avoid editing the search engine plugins, you can download a copy of my personal search.json.mozlz4 file that should work for Firefox version 57 and up ("up" meaning until the next time Mozilla decides to break everything again). The download contains the default engines which come with the U.S. English version of Firefox along with a pile of additional search engines i use. All in all there's around 35 search engine plugins.

Download: search.json.mozlz4.zip

Install: Backup your existing search.json.mozlz4 file(!), then extract the the one from the archive to your Firefox profile directory and restart Firefox.

When you use the search engines you'll notice that all the non-default ones are tagged as follows:

[I] = indexing search engines that actively crawl the web in order to build their own index. These engines are essential for thwarting the censorship practiced by Google and Bing which is then passed on to all the meta engines that use their results including DuckDuckGo, Startpage, Qwant, Swisscows, Searx, MetaGer, etc..

[H] = hybrid search engines which rely upon both 3rd parties (usually Bing) and index their own content.

[M] = meta search engines which rely only upon 3rd parties, usually Bing.

[S] = special purpose search engines which serve a specific purpose, such as for searching for scientific documents.

Any engines which are not tagged are the default search engines, all of which you can/should disable in Firefox's preferences (about:preferences#search).

You'll probably want to rearrange the search plugins from Firefox's preferences so each type is grouped together.

Removing Firefox system add-ons

In addition to search engine plugins, Mozilla also packages system add-ons with Firefox, installs them without your permission, and doesn't provide an easy way to remove or disable all of them. These system add-ons have been used for controversial purposes in the past. To remove them, see the 'System add-ons' section of the Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs.

Resources

Special mention goes to 'Thorin-Oakenpants' (aka 'Pants') as well as the 'arkenfox' crew and their GitHub repository where they host an excellent privacy-centric user.js for Firefox and its derivatives, as well as an extensive Wiki full of valuable information.

Resources at 12bytes.org:

External resources:

Recent changes

18-Nov-2022

  • uploaded a fresh search.json.mozlz4 file
  • corrected some links
  • minor edits

Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs

Want to configure Firefox and other Gecko-based browsers for better performance and security?

Project moved to Codeberg

The Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs has been moved to Codeberg however you can still leave comments and suggestions here if you wish.

A note regarding user comments

When reading the user comments on this page, keep in mind that this guide has been around since 2015 and, given the dynamic nature of the web and Firefox, some of the information in comments, including information provided by myself, may be obsolete or entirely wrong. Nevertheless i decided to retain all comments because... nostalgia. If you have any questions, ask.

Firefox Extensions - My Picks

Mozilla Firefox is a popular web browser that is easily extended with add-ons, of which there are literally thousands. These are my favorites...

Mozilla Firefox is a popular, extensible, open source (mostly) web browser that is highly configurable and easy to use. Somewhat bare out of the box however, its functionality is easily extended with free add-ons, or 'extensions', of which there are many thousands in the Mozilla add-on repository at addons.mozilla.org (AMO).

Beware

With so many "free" add-ons you might be tempted to install lots of them, however i would strongly suggest installing only those you really like or need since the potential to break things and compromise browser security and your privacy increases with every add-on you install.

The Dangers of Browser Extensions

AMO Malware
A typical day at the Mozilla Firefox Add-ons repository, 2019.

Another problem is unethical extension developers who include unwanted and unnecessary functionality which is not relevant to the primary purpose of the add-on. Often this results in data collection, tracking your web activities, injecting unwanted content in pages, such as ads, or worse, all of which i categorize as malware.

The problem of malware at AMO has grown exponentially as a result of a very flawed automated review process for add-ons and the company's move to the WebExtension API which made it easy for unethical developers who have infected the Google Chrome Store with their garbage to port their add-ons to Firefox. Indeed, probably at least half of the add-ons at AMO are sketchy. Although the Web Extensions API is greatly limited as opposed to the older XUL/XPCOM extension API, tracking, data collection and advertising are permitted and, on occasion, far more dangerous add-ons escape detection.

Add-on selection guidelines

You've been warned! Many extensions are accompanied by a warning on their AMO pages which indicates that the extension is not monitored by Mozilla and therefore is more risky to install. While monitored extensions -- those with a 'recommended' label -- are scrutinized more carefully and may be more trustworthy in general, many others are perfectly fine as long as you trust the developer and/or review the code yourself.

Tool-bar or FOOL-bar? Be very wary of tool-bar add-ons since many of these contain 3rd party spyware/malware components for monetization purposes.

Who the hell are you??? Always check to see what other add-ons the developer has created and how those are rated. Be wary when the developer is named as a company and not an individual, or when their name is anonymous, such as "Firefox user" followed by a random number. See what kind of content is on the developers website if they link to one and look for marketing hype or unethical activity. Also be wary of developers that make it difficult or impossible to contact them or submit bug reports.

The 0-day 'bonus'. Never install newly released add-ons from a developer whom you're not familiar with, especially if it's their only add-on. Mozilla uses a deeply flawed automated system to evaluate add-ons, so wait at least a few days until others have had a chance to review it or flag it for removal. If the add-on quickly disappears or gets poor reviews, be thankful you didn't take the bait.

When "free" isn't. Always check the software license and be wary of developers who use a restrictive license. Most ethical developers will use a liberal, free software license, such as the General Public License (GPL) or the Mozilla Public License (MPL).

'We care about your privacy' ... LOL. If an add-on has a privacy policy, read it and see what data the add-on may collect, where it's sent, and how it's used. In general, if the document is a wall of text (long), it's probably a poor privacy policy. One of the best privacy policies i've run across is that written by the developer for the Stylus add-on:

Unlike other similar extensions, we don't find you to be all that interesting. Your questionable browsing history should remain between you and the NSA. Stylus collects nothing. Period.

Yes it can/no it can't. The Mozilla add-on website lists the permissions that add-ons require, though there seems to be some problems at this time in that all permissions used by an add-on may not be listed, or permissions which the add-on does not use may be listed, so don't trust this completely. That said, look for permissions that seem unnecessary given the expected functionality of the add-on.

What's under the hood? In general it's best to avoid developers that attempt to hide their source code. Most ethical developers will publish their work on platforms like GitLab, GitHub or Codeberg where people can submit proper bug reports and feature requests. In such cases there is usually a homepage and/or support link on the add-on page, or a link somewhere in the add-on settings, menus, etc., that leads to the code repository. If the source code is not published, you can still view it by decompressing the add-on or by using the excellent Extension source viewer (CRX Viewer) add-on.

You should always check is the extensions manifest.json file and you don't have to be a geek to do so. Open the address about:debugging#/runtime/this-firefox in Firefox (or just remember the address about:about from where you will find the debugging page) and click on the 'Manifest URL' link for the extension you want to inspect. What you want to look for are any network links for unexpected addresses. For example, an add-on like Maximize All Windows (Minimalist Version) only modifies the behavior of Firefox, therefore there shouldn't be any remote addresses in the manifest. On the other hand, an add-on like uBlock Origin needs to communicate with every tab you open, as well as be able to download fresh filter lists and so on, and so its manifest contains http://*/* , https://*/* . and <all_urls> . Other add-ons may be dedicated to a single website, such as BitChute, and so bitchute.com should be the only remote address in the manifest. Also see the Extension source viewer add-on below.

He said, she said. Always read the user reviews to see how well an add-on is liked and be wary if it is rated 3 stars or less, or not rated at all, or was rated highly by only a few people. Sometimes a developer will be the first to "review" their add-on, giving it 5 stars. Regardless of the rating however, always check the comments of the people that gave it the lowest rating to see if their gripes seem legitimate (many aren't) and whether they were addressed. That said, there are many add-ons that have been rated very highly by hundreds or thousands of people that contain malware, so don't give too much weight to user ratings alone.

But everybody's using it! Many developers of hugely popular add-ons have been contacted by malware distributing 3rd parties wanting to buy their work or influence its development. Adblock Plus by Eyeo GmbH (Wladimir Palant) is used by millions of people, yet it is a glaring example of an unethical developer who created an "ad blocking" extension which allows ads by default. For larger entities, Eyeo GmbH charges advertisers 30% of the revenue from Adblock Plus users who click the ads, so not only does Adblock allow ads, it's also spying on its users. Giorgio Maone, the developer of the hugely popular NoScript add-on, engaged in similar chicanery a while back.

Should i or shouldn't i? If you're not sure whether you'll like an add-on, test it by downloading the .xpi file, then opening about:debugging#/runtime/this-firefox in Firefox and clicking the 'Load Temporary Add-on' button.

Automatic update MALWARE install. Automatic checking for add-on updates is fine, but always disable automatic installation of updated add-ons. Before updating an add-on, read the version history to see what has changed and make sure the privacy policy, if there is one, remains strong. The problem with automatic add-on updates is that a developer may decide to monetize their work at any time and without warning, or sell their extension to an unethical party such as the developer of Stylish apparently did. Ingo Wennemaring, the much-liked developer of the once popular All-in-One Sidebar add-on, warned about this in a blog post:

It was always very important for me to be honest and fair to the users. I had very good offers to sell the extension, but I didn't want to see that AiOS turn into adware or spyware.

Have I got a DEAL FOR YOU! I would strongly suggest avoiding any add-on that asks for or requires personal information or other data which could be used to identify, track, or profile you, or which could be monetized in any way. Such extensions include, but are not limited to, those which promote coupons, discounts and free services, certain automatic form fillers, any add-on which store data remotely such as many password, bookmark and synchronization add-ons, cryptocurrency, banking and other financial related add-ons, website/service specific add-ons marketed by corporations and many VPN (Virtual Private Network) add-ons.

Hide and seek. Regarding VPN add-ons, there are 172 of them at the time of this writing and most of them are highly suspect, yet millions of clueless people use them. Furthermore, a VPN add-on for a web browser may protect only browser traffic while leaving all other network traffic unprotected, such as email and, potentially, DNS look-ups. If you want to use a VPN, and i would certainly recommend considering it, it should be incorporated at the system level or, even better, at the router level.

Add-ons

ClearURLs by Kevin R. [privacy/security]

ClearURLs automatically removes tracking parameters from clicked hyperlinks. This add-on is not needed if using uBlock Origin with the ClearURLs for uBo filter list (see the suggested settings for uBlock Origin page for more information).

Dark Background and Light Text by Mikhail Khvoinitsky [enhancement]

Dark Background and Light Text replaces Dark Reader as my preferred add-on for darkening the entire web. These 'darkify' add-ons, of which there are many, change the colors used by all websites to a darker theme and this one seems to be the best of those i have tested and i've tested many.

Caveats: All of these 'dark web' add-ons fail miserably in some cases and this one is no exception, however it seems to work better overall than all of the others i've tested and it does offer a few different styles that can be assigned to specific websites when the default style fails. Due to a shortcoming in the code, this add-on cannot be disabled for local content, such as paths beginning with file:// .

Disable WebRTC by Chris Antaki [privacy]

Disable WebRTC adds a toolbar button to conveniently toggle several media.peerconnection.* preferences. Disabling WebRTC (Real-Time Communication over the web) is important for privacy reasons when using a proxy or VPN.

Enforce Browser Fonts by Jayesh Bhoot [enhancement]

Enforce Browser Fonts allows one to choose whether to use the fonts specified by the website, or those that you have defined in Firefox preferences (Language and Appearance). Personally i hate when websites override my personal font choices and this extension takes care of that. Enforce Browser Fonts defaults to enabled and will remember the websites for which you disable it.

Caveats: For the privacy minded who enable privacy.resistFingerprinting , forcing the use of your preferred fonts will increase the likelihood of your browser being uniquely identified. It can also uglify some websites.

Extension source viewer by Rob W [enhancement]

Extension source viewer is a handy and well thought out utility to quickly view the source code of a Firefox extension right from the Mozilla add-ons website without having to download and unpack it manually. The extension has the ability to search the contents of the files in the source code by prefixing the search with ' ! '.

Caveats: For advanced users.

Flagfox by Dave G [enhancement]

Flagfox is a neat utility that adds an icon to the address bar which represents the flag of the country in which the web server is located. When the icon is right-clicked, a context menu is revealed with many more tools, such as a WHOIS lookup, URL shortening services and more. You can also add your own services.

Caveats: If you choose to display the menu icons, they are not stored locally and have to be fetched the first time you open the menu which some might see as a privacy issue.

Format Link by Hiroaki Nakamura [enhancement]

Format Link offers flexible solutions for copying content and formatting it in different ways, such as HTML, markdown, plain text, , etc., before pasting it somewhere.. I don't like it as much as Link Text and Location Copier, however that add-on is unmaintained and buggy.

Caveats: Format Link is a little buggy and needs some attention, but it's still a better solution than Link Text and Location Copier. If you have trouble copying content, try pausing for just a second after initiating Format Link. I've found that if you switch tabs too soon, the content may not be placed on the clipboard.

LibRedirect by alefvanoon, ManeraKai [privacy]

LibRedirect redirects many websites, such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, etc., to alternative front-ends that are more respective of user privacy. While there are many such add-ons, LibRedirect is perhaps the best of them due to its many configuration options, its ability to automatically switch instances when a service is not responding, update the list of instances, add your own instances, etc..

Caveats: While most/all alternative front-ends are built with free, open source software and are more respective of user privacy, it is possible that those running the service may have modified the code to act in a malicious manner. Many/most of these alternative front-ends will work without enabling JavaScript however.

List Feeds by igorlogius [enhancement]

List Feeds detects news feeds (RSS, ATOM, etc.). Some time ago the M&Ms (Morons at Mozilla, corporate) decided to strip all support for detecting and reading news feeds at a crucial time when news feeds were never more important. Their excuse for doing so was a lack of money and user interest, however there is little doubt in my mind that this was done in order to sway people to get their news from "trusted" sources rather than independent journalists. List Feeds essentially restores and enhances the feed detection capability which Mozilla removed. Also see: How to access RSS feeds for websites that don't advertise one.

LocalCDN by nobody42 [privacy/security]

LocalCDN, a fork of Decentraleyes, can increase privacy and decrease page load time for many websites which depend on 3rd party Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). It accomplishes this by storing and loading several common JavaScript and font libraries locally instead of having to fetch them from the server.

From a privacy point of view, LocalCDN is not strictly needed if using the 'arkenfox' user.js or appropriate settings.

Caveats: Can break some websites, though this seems to happen very rarely in my experience. There are 'Filter HTML source code' and whitelist options to address such problems.

Mark-It by Matt [enhancement]

Mark-It is a simple, handy add-on that replaces your new tab page with one that allows you to write notes in markup format. I find this add-on to be really handy for storing commonly used bookmarks, notes and text that i paste frequently in forums and such.

You could play with the CSS i use to divide the page into two columns for less wasted space, plus make some other changes. You'll need to open about:debugging#/runtime/this-firefox and replace <Internal UUID> in the first line with the the Internal UUID for Mark-It. If the CSS doesn't load, be sure toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets is set to true in about:config:

Click to expand...
@-moz-document url("moz-extension://<Internal UUID>/newTab/newTab.html") {
/* display notes */
html.dark, body.dark, textarea.dark {
background-color: #252525 !important;
color: #c8c8c8 !important;
}
#markdownTarget {
width: 90% !important;
padding-left: 1% !important;
padding-right: 1% !important;
font-family: unset !important;
font-size: unset !important;
}
a {
color: #97ff8d !important;
text-decoration: none !important;
}
code {
background-color: #000 !important;
color: #ffa93b;
}
ul, ol {
padding: 0 !important;
margin-left: 20px !important;
}
#changeModeButton {
background-color: #929292 !important;
left: unset !important;
font-family: unset !important;
right: 33px !important;
bottom: 90px !important;
}
#savingIndicator {
bottom: 0px !important;
left: unset !important;
right: 0px !important;
}
/*columns*/
.left {
display: block;
float: left;
width: 49%;
}
.right {
display: block;
float: right;
width: 49%;
}
/* edit notes */
textarea {
width: 90% !important;
padding-left: 5% !important;
padding-right: 5% !important;
font-size: unset !important;
font-family: unset !important;
}
}

mozlz4-edit by Siarhei Kuzeyeu [enhancement]

mozlz4-edit allows one to edit, format and otherwise manipulate several types of compressed files including the search.json.mozlz4 file which is where Firefox stores all of its search engine plugins. If this is too much for you, try the Search Engines Helper add-on below.

Caveats: For advanced users.

Privacy-Oriented Origin Policy by claustromaniac [privacy/security]

Privacy Oriented Origin Policy (POOP) helps protect your privacy by preventing Firefox from sending Origin headers, though how it works is configurable.

Caveats: For advanced users. May break some websites, though it is easily disabled and sites can be whitelisted. There is a lengthy discussion about what led to the development of this add-on on GitHub if you're interested.

Redirector by Einar Egilsson [enhancement]

Redirector automatically redirects selected pages, links and more to another resource of your choosing. For some examples of how you can use Redirector, see the Redirecting this to that section of the Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Styles and Things page.

Reverse Image Search by Andreas Bielawski [enhancement]

Reverse Image Search is a privacy friendly add-on used to find different versions of a given image using 3rd party services such as TinEye. Reverse image searching is a great way to find higher resolution versions of an image or to find when an image may have first been published to the web, the latter of which can be beneficial for researchers. Reverse Image Search also allows to add custom services to its menu.

Scroll Up Folder by Bruce Bujon [enhancement]

Scroll Up Folder adds an icon in the address bar that, when clicked, opens a list of the segments of the current document address. Clicking the list items makes it really easy to navigate up to a higher level of the address without having to manually edit it.

Search Engines Helper by Soufiane Sakhi [enhancement]

Search Engines Helper makes it really easy to add, import and export custom search engines for Firefox. It also allows using base64 code (data URLs) for the site icons.

simple-modify-headers by Didierfred [enhancement]

simple-modify-headers allows one to modify HTTP request and response headers. For example, i use this add-on to remove the style-src policy of the Content Security Policy (CSP) response header for websites that prevent CSS injection (addons.mozilla.org being one of them).

Caveats: For advanced users only! It is very easy to compromise security and break websites with this add-on.

Skip Redirect by Sebastian Blask [privacy]

Redirects sometimes happen when you click on a hyperlink expecting to go directly to the destination and, instead, your request is passed through an intermediary. Redirects are often used to track your browsing history or display ads before you are forwarded to the target domain. Skip Redirect simply tries to bypass this annoying behavior. I would suggest keeping the notification enabled when Skip Redirect does its thing as this makes it easy to troubleshoot a problem.

Caveats: May break the functionality of some websites in which case they can be added to a whitelist.

Smart RSS Reader by zakius [enhancement]

Smart RSS Reader is a well-rounded, multi-pane news feed reader and a pretty good one at that. There are a few little niggles with it, but overall it functions very well and the developer is friendly and open to suggestions. If you subscribe to multiple feed from the same domain, i might suggest setting the "Concurrent downloads:" preference to "1" in order to potentially prevent problems retrieving feeds.

While there is no dark theme option for Smart RSS, it does have an option to add your own CSS. Here's my CSS for a dark theme if you wish to use it. This works for the vertical 3-pane layout:

Smart RSS Reader dark theme
/*
* Smart RSS Reader - dark theme for 3-pane layout |feeds|titles|content| (30-DEC-2020)
*/
/*
* GLOBAL
*/
html, body {
color: lightgray;
background: #2f2f2f;
}
.context-menu {
background: black;
}
.region:not(.focused) .selected {
background: black;
}
a {
color: lightgreen;
}
#properties {
background: black !important;
}
#properties input, #properties select {
background: #67ff91 !important;
}
/* 
* TOP TOOLBAR
*/
.toolbar {
background: lightgreen;
}
.toolbar > .button {
border: 1px solid #2f2f2f;
}
.input-search {
background: black;
color: white;
}
input[type="search"] {
max-width: 260px;
width: 260px;
border: unset;
}
/*
* FEEDS PANE
*/
.has-unread .source-title {
font-weight: unset;
}
.source-title {
font-size: unset;
}
.source-counter {
color: black;
background: lightgreen;
}
.sources-list-item {
font-size: unset;    
}
.sources-list-item.selected:hover .source-title {
color: white;
}
#indicator-progress {
background: black !important;
}
#indicator-stop {
background-color: red !important;
}
/*
* TITLES PANE
*/
.date-group {
background: black;
}
.item-title {
font-size: unset;
}
.full-headline > .item-title {
white-space: break-spaces !important;
overflow: hidden;
}
#article-list > .unvisited, .unvisited .articles-list-item-author {
color: lightgray;
}
#article-list > .unread {
font-weight: normal;
color: lightgreen;
}
#article-list > .region:not(.focused) .selected {
background: #2f2f2f;
border-bottom-color: unset;
}
#article-list > .selected * {
color: lightgray;
}
#article-list .item-author {
color: darkgray;
font-weight: normal;
}
#article-list .item-date {
color: darkgray;
}
/*
* CONTENT PANE
*/
#content h1 {
color: #fdfdfd;
font-size: 1rem;
max-height: unset;
}
#content > header p {
color: darkgray;
padding-bottom: 10px;
}
#content > header .pin-button {
opacity: 1;
}
#smart-rss-article-body {
color: #c1c1c1;
background: #2f2f2f;
font-family: unset;
font-size: unset;
line-height:1.3;
}
#smart-rss-content > .more-link {
color: lightgreen;
}
#smart-rss-content-footer {
border-top: 2px dashed darkgray;
margin-top: 20px;
}
#smart-rss-content-footer a {
background: #2f2f2f;
}

Stylus by Armin Sebastian [enhancement]

Stylus is used to write, store and inject custom CSS styles into websites, or even the entire web if you wish. Though you can use FireMonkey for this, working with Stylus is so much nicer. Note: Do not use Stylish, a similar add-on which the developer sold to an unethical party.

Caveats: For advanced users that have at least a basic knowledge of CSS.

uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill [privacy/security]

uBlock Origin is a superior content filter (or firewall, if you like) that can replace several other content/ad blockers including Adblock Plus/Edge, NoScript, etc.. It is capable of using the same filter lists as Adblock Plus/Edge as well as many more that they cannot. Two of the most welcome differences with uBlock Origin is that it does not slow page loading to any noticeable degree and it uses less memory then the competition. Another major advantage is that it can block both 1st and 3rd party requests for images, scripts and frames when configured to use its advanced mode. See my Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs article for more information regarding uBlock Origin. Lastly, use only uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill and not any other ripoff.

Caveats: For advanced users. As with any content filtering extension, uBlock Origin has the potential to break website functionality until it is configured correctly.

Web Archives by Armin Sebastian [enhancement]

Web Archives makes it easy to find archived version of webpages. It is fairly configurable, though it does not have an option to add your own archive resources, nor does it have an option to send a webpage to an archive, however i find the latter unnecessary since the archive sites i use allow you easily archive a page if one isn't isn't found.

Enabling add-ons for addons.mozilla.org

By default Firefox does not allow add-ons to run on https://addons.mozilla.org/. if you want to override this behavior you can add the the following preferences to your user.js file or your user-overrides.js file if you're using the 'arkenfox' user.js:

user_pref("privacy.resistFingerprinting.block_mozAddonManager", true);
user_pref("extensions.webextensions.restrictedDomains", "");

Troubleshooting add-on related issues

See Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Styles and Things.

Listing removed add-ons

While i'm sure there's a more geeky way of listing extensions which one has removed, this one works for me: In your Firefox profile folder, navigate to /extensions/staged and there should be folders with the names of the removed extensions. You can delete this folder if you like.

Doing it without an add-on

The fewer add-ons you install, the better, and there's a lot you can do to customize Firefox without add-ons. See the Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Styles and Things page.

Enhancing privacy and security

See: Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs or The Firefox Privacy Guide For Dummies!

Giving back

If you like an add-on, or any other free and open source software, please donate to the developer. Trust me when i tell you that most developers of free software usually receive little or nothing for all the days/months/years of hard work they invest and the support they provide. Developers are usually very appreciative of a donation regardless of how small it may be.

Recent changes

  • minor edits