Mozilla is changing how Firefox handles notification requests to try and cut down on annoying pop-ups, the organization has announced. Starting with Firefox version 72, due for release in January, requests to display desktop notifications will come in the form of a small icon in Firefox’s URL bar, and users will need to click this to actually see the notification request. Currently, just visiting many sites is enough to cause them to show a relatively large notification prompt.
In its blog post, Mozilla said that it took the decision after its research showed just how unpopular notifications are with users. Despite ostensibly being a convenient way for sites to share updates with users after they’ve closed the tab, around 99 percent of notification prompts aren’t accepted by users, and 48 percent are actively denied. It also found that repeatedly asking users to show notifications rarely gets them to change their mind.
Browser notifications aren’t just annoying, in many cases they can be used by malicious sites to trick users into downloading malware, or serve dodgy web ads, according to ZDNet. One malware analyst said that notification spam has “largely replaced” adware as a major source of user complaints.
Although Firefox’s biggest changes aren’t due to arrive until January, the browser has already made a small change to how it handles notification in version 70. Now, when you visit a new site that wants to show notifications, Firefox has replaced the “Not Now” option with a “Never Allow” option, so you won’t repeatedly be asked to display notifications by the same site.
Mozilla is the first browser to officially announce plans to block notification requests by default, but Google is experimenting with a similar feature for the Chrome browser, which makes notification prompts less invasive. If you want to turn off notification requests entirely, then you can find our guide on how to do that right here.