Firefox Will Soon Free You From Autoplay Hell

Firefox to block auto-playing audio starting March 2019

Firefox to block auto-playing audio starting March 2019

The most important one is for sites that Firefox users "whitelist" themselves.

According to Mozilla, the upcoming release will prevent any audio or video from playing without a prompt from the user.

Mozilla is changing the way its Firefox browser handles automatically playing multimedia.

The feature functions like an ad-blocker: It can silence a video that autoplays and stop the video from running altogether. Fingerprints can be used to fully or partially identify individual users or devices even when persistent cookies (and also zombie cookies) can't be read or stored in the browser, the client IP address is hidden, and even if one switches to another browser on the same device and can be used to compile long-term records of individuals' browsing histories even when they're attempting to avoid tracking, raising a major concern for internet privacy advocates.

Firefox is making the change after Google tried to tackle audio-based autoplay previous year.

"Muted autoplay is still allowed". For instance, if you've entered a website through the homepage, autoplay on video is allowed. Essentially, all autoplay is blocked.

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Something to look forward to: Nobody likes having their web experience interrupted by an autoplaying video that suddenly kicks in at full volume, but it's something Firefox users have to endure.

"Any playback that happens before the user has interacted with a page via a mouse click, printable key press, or touch event, is deemed to be autoplay and will be blocked if it is potentially audible", Pearce said.

"At this time, we're also working on blocking autoplay for Web Audio content, but have not yet finalised our implementation but expect to ship the feature sometime in 2019", Pearce noted.

"We only allow a site to play audio or video aloud via the HTMLMediaElement API once a web page has had user interaction to initiate the audio, such as the user clicking on a "play" button".

Firefox 66 is expected to debut on March 19, and when it does, it will stop any source of audio from playing until you ask it to. However, the autoplay-blocking feature is already available in the "Nightly" beta versions of the software, which tech-savvy web surfers can download now.

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