Firefox Will Soon Free You From Autoplay Hell

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Few things are more annoying when surfing the internet than some random video autoplaying in one of your 10,000 open tabs. Thankfully, Firefox users will finally be able to automatically disable autoplay starting next month.


According to Mozilla, the feature will go live on March 19, once Firefox 66 launches on both desktop and Android. With the update, Firefox will block any audible autoplay audio or video on a newly opened site. Muted autoplay will still be allowed, and if you actually want autoplay to work—WHY????—you can click on an icon that will appear in the URL bar. You can also keep autoplay (seriously though, why??) if you’ve previously granted a camera or microphone permission on that site, like for browser-based video conferencing. (Okay, nevermind. I guess that one makes sense.)

These features are already available on other browsers, like Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. It’s curious that it’s taken Mozilla this long, but hey—better late than never.

“Blocking auto-play is just one step in our plan to reduce user annoyance and to guide websites to design an experience that respects user choice,” a Mozilla spokesperson told Gizmodo in an email. “There are many smaller, often local, sites that do not have the resources to quickly evolve that can be greatly impacted by a change like this. We wanted to take the time to reach out to partners and implement more front end user control before rolling this feature out.”

[TechCrunch, Mozilla]



Even muted autoplay is annoying to me. It’s adding unnecessary movement to the screen, using processor power, and some play indefinitely for hours. By the time I see it it has scrolled through 5 videos and is on something completely unrelated to the article. I especially hate them on the mobile optimized versions of sites.