Protecting Users From An Age-Old Threat

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The Web is evolving quickly and so are the ways that practical jokes are disseminated online. Every April Fools’ day, uncountable person-hours are wasted as hapless netizens desperately attempt to separate fact from fiction, reality from ruse.

At Mozilla, we believe it’s crucial to put people in control of their personal Web interactions and experiences, just as we did earlier this year with the advent of Firefox 4′s Do Not Track feature. In particular, we’re seeking ways to provide Firefox users with a deeper understanding of, and control over, the flow of digital hijinks.

With the integration of the “Do Not Fool” option into Firefox, you will be able to check a “Do Not Fool” box in the “Advanced” screen of Firefox’s Options. When this option is selected, a header will be sent signaling to websites that you wish to opt-out of online tomfoolery. You will not notice any difference in your browsing experience until sites and pranksters start responding to the header.

Following is a proposed workflow of the functionality, assuming that a user were too curmudgeonly to chuckle at Google’s 2010 April Fools’ Day prank.

Proposed "Do Not Fool" workflow

Mozilla developer Zbigniew “Gandalf” Braniecki has created a reference implementation of the proposed industry standard, which can be downloaded from addons.mozilla.org.

Whether one has a sense of humor or not, Mozilla believes that everyone should have the freedom to view the Web the way they want, be it a hilarious playground of practical jokes or a spartan cubicle of serious business. We welcome any feedback you may have.