Mozilla Apologizes For Breaking Firefox Add-Ons, Issues A Fix And Will Delete User Data
Mozilla this week offered an apology to Firefox users over for temporarily breaking add-ons last weekend, and then issuing a temporary fix that collected telemetry data. Simply put, Mozilla admits it "failed" its users. That said, the company says it has a permanent fix in place, and promises to delete usage data that was collected.
"An error on our part prevented new add-ons from being installed, and stopped existing add-ons from working. Now that we’ve been able to restore this functionality for the majority of Firefox users, we want to explain a bit about what happened and tell you what comes next," Mozilla stated in a blog post.
Mozilla went on to explain that it wanted to push out a fix as quickly as possible, and so it turned to its "Studies" system to deploy an initial resolution. However, that required users to be opted into telemetry collection.
"Some users who had opted out of telemetry opted back in, in order to get the initial fix as soon as possible. As we announced in the Firefox add-ons blog at 2019-05-08T23:28:00Z there is now no longer a need to have Studies on to receive updates anymore; please check that your settings match your personal preferences before we re-enable Studies, which will happen sometime after 2019-05-13T16:00:00Z," Mozilla added.
A separate blog post breaks down the technical details of what happened with add-ons, which makes for an interesting read if you're into that sort of thing (or a dry one if you're not). The takeaway, though, is that Mozilla fumbled Firefox, and specifically its add-ons feature, which snowballed into a larger issue with the initial fix.
As part of Mozilla's mea culpa, it's promising to delete all telemetry data collected during the pertinent time period—that means every bit of usage data collected from every Firefox user, and not just the ones who opted into Studies as part of the initial fix.
In addition, Mozilla says it will be sharing "a lot more detail" in a longer post sometime later, including details on how it ultimate fixed the problem and why it chose the approach that it did.
"You deserve a full accounting, but we didn’t want to wait until that process was complete to tell you what we knew so far. We let you down and what happened might have shaken your confidence in us a bit, but we hope that you’ll give us a chance to earn it back," Mozilla added.
In the meantime, you can disable telemetry data collection by clicking the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner of Firefox and navigating to Options > Privacy & Security. Scroll down to the Firefox Data Collection and Use section and uncheck the box that says Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla.