A Firefox browser extension promoting quality online content?

We are excited to announce the launch of the “What’s your idea for a Firefox extension for promoting credible content?”, a competition sponsored by Mozilla and posted to MindSumo, the world’s largest crowdsourcing community of Millennial and GenZ solvers. The goal of the competition is to create an extension (or other browser technology solution) to help internet users identify credible voices and credible sources of information online.

The Problems Plaguing the Internet of Today

Imagine the internet that is a place where meaningful and credible content is easily found. A place where everyone feels safe, empowered, and accurately informed.

Is this the internet we’re having today? Unfortunately, not. Today’s internet is unsavory mix of intrusive advertising, misinformation, and toxic social media full of offensive language, harassment, and harmful content. The problems plaguing the web are magnified by the economy that benefits from engagement of the most extreme and attention-grabbing material. Instead of improving a civil, informed online discourse, the internet of today is degrading it.

Solutions to the internet problems exist. Interestingly enough, they are owned by the large tech companies that allowed the problems grow and fester. However, the tech giants are reluctant to implement these solutions because doing so may negatively affect their bottom lines.

Mozilla is a recognized leader in the field of online Privacy & Security. Our commitment to the open and human internet anchored in the Mozilla Manifesto is solidified by our unwavering desire to put people before profits. This commitment was on display again recently with Mozilla’s launch of Enhanced Tracking Protection that blocks third-party tracking cookies by default.

Removing “Bad” Content or Promoting a Quality One?

Ensuring safe internet browsing is only part of Mozilla’s efforts to protect its users; equally important is fighting online harassment. Two general approaches can be considered here. The first is to design online tools to remove or filter “bad” content. However, serious doubts have been expressed whether this approach is technically feasible at all. Besides, this approach is also threatening free expression and the open internet ecosystem.

Instead of asking how we can filter hateful and misleading content, we’re asking: How can browser technology amplify credible and quality content and conversations?

As part of this new paradigm, we’ve launched a crowdsourcing challenge to identify approaches to using Firefox extensions or other browser technology solutions to find and promote credible sources of information online. (For a primer to technological approaches to access credibility online, see this report.)

How to Participate

The challenge was posted to the MindSumo platform, the world’s largest crowdsourcing community of Millennial and GenZ solvers. The competition will run until July 7 and the submitted proposals will be evaluated by the members of Mozilla’s Privacy & Security and Product Management teams. Up to $1,600 in prizes will be awarded to the best proposals.

The challenge is open to everyone (except for Mozilla employees and their families), and we especially encourage members of Mozilla’s communities to take part in it.

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