Science and Tech


OkCupid Shuts Out Firefox Users Over Mozilla's New CEO

Dating site OkCupid is asking its users to boycott Mozilla's Firefox browser over a contribution Mozilla's new CEO made to support anti-gay laws.
Posted at 10:36 PM, Mar 31, 2014

Dating site OkCupid is calling it quits with tech company Mozilla and has sent a pretty strong break-up letter to users of Mozilla's Firefox Internet browser.

The trouble started last week when Mozilla chose Brendan Eich as the company's new CEO. A founding member of Mozilla, Eich is known for his work on Netscape and Javascript — but also for a $1,000 contribution he made in 2008 in support of California's gay marriage ban.

The backlash to Eich's hiring was swift and fierce; advocacy groups and Mozilla employees began calling for Eich to step down, and both Mozilla and Eich put out apologetic blog posts reiterating the company's commitment to diversity.

Now OkCupid has decided to take things a step further by actively pushing its users away from Firefox.

If you try to access OkCupid through Mozilla's Firefox browser, you'll be redirected to this message, which reads in part, "OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure." The page also links to a selection of alternative web browsers, like Chrome, Opera, Safari, or something called "Internet Exploder" — not sure if that's a typo or a jab at Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

We should note, this isn't a complete embargo on Firefox. Users can still click through OkCupid's message to access the site.

But OkCupid's decision to take a stand has not gone unnoticed. A Gizmodo writer calls it "an impressive expression of political beliefs ​that could potentially alienate a lot of users.​ ... This is a bold step."

Though it's a step that could hurt OkCupid in the short term: as Re/Code points out, ​"Firefox currently holds nearly 20 percent of desktop browser market share. ... That’s a large chunk of visitors to potentially turn away from your site."

But the high-profile dating site's disapproval also stands to do some serious damage to Mozilla's image. The head of The Mozilla Foundation, Mark Surman, wrote in a blog post he's worried people are getting the wrong message about his company. 

"I worry that we do a bad job of explaining ourselves, that people are angry and don’t know who we are or where we stand. And, I worry that in the time it takes to work this through and explain ourselves the things I love about Mozilla will be deeply damaged." (Via Commonspace)

LGBT backlash isn't the only problem Mozilla is facing after Eich's promotion to CEO. The Wall Street Journal reported last week three of Mozilla's six board members stepped down after Eich was hired, reportedly after unsuccessfully lobbying for a different hire to help the company's transition to mobile.