Dear Twitter and Firefox:
I don’t know which one of you started it. But I’m pretty sure that you’re both at least partially to blame.
In a previous post, I discussed my disgust with constant technology upgrades, and how they screw users in favor of device manufacturers and advertising firms.
I totally understand that money makes the world go ’round. I’m not even sure that’s a bad thing. But this cat-and-mouse game is getting ridiculous.
I’m going to blab here about an experience I had last fall/winter (of 2016), simply because:
It frustrated me so.
I can’t be the only one experiencing this problem.
And when I went to try to find information about it, there wasn’t any. So I’ll write about my experience here, in hopes of providing some, in case anyone else experiences this issue.
I experienced a fist-fight between Firefox, Twitter, and the AdBlock Plus extension for Firefox. Truth be told, I highly suspect that the first two are the guilty parties, and the third is an innocent good Samaritan, trying to do the right thing, trying to be the lone voice of sanity in what is otherwise a tornado of vested interests.
Please allow me to explain…
A few months ago (in late 2016), I took the plunge and upgraded my browser. The current release at the time was version 48.
After the installation process was complete, I logged back into Twitter, only to find that my “tweet” and “follow” buttons had all but disappeared. Not grayed out/inactive. Not scrambled or corrupt in any way. Just gone. Disappeared. Missing in action altogether.
For those who aren’t on Twitter, those are two of the most important functions. Without them, you can’t bond nearly as well with others (the function of the “follow” button) and you can’t speak except in reply to someone else (the point of the “tweet” button). You’re cut off at the knees at that point. Might as well log out.
I did just that. And I logged on to Google instead. I wanted to see what others were saying. Surely I couldn’t be the only one facing this problem.
I found nothing. No information whatsoever. Indeed, there were all kinds of articles about how to make social media buttons disappear, and how to embed social media into your website and all that, but the cyber-universe was keeping totally mum about the missing Twitter “tweet” and “follow” buttons.
Something wasn’t right. Certainly I wasn’t the only person who used both Firefox and Twitter. I’m not exactly that unique. And yep, I had even included words like “Firefox”, “browser”, “new version”, and even the specific “version 48.0” in my search strings. Yes, strings, plural – I ran about eight searches while trying to get to the bottom of this mystery.
I had a hunch, though, about the root of this issue, so I followed said hunch. I’m running AdBlock Plus, an internet browser extension that essentially strips the ads off of the website (or at least, blocks their scripts, preventing them from running on your browser and thus delivering the ad to your eyeballs), providing you with a clean and pleasant web-surfing experience. You know, the way the web is supposed to be.
Getting back to my hunch… I wondered if maybe, just maybe, the new Firefox browser version was somehow interpreting Twitter’s “tweet” and “follow” buttons as akin to an advertising script, thus making them invisible to me? After all, I suspected (and had begun to suspect a long time ago) that Firefox’s newer versions didn’t exactly benefit the user. They were getting further and further under the covers (in bed) with advertisers and website administrators.
Then, I added “AdBlock” to my Google search string.
Still nothing. Only articles like “AdBlock: How It’s Affecting Your Online Advertising” (which is an informative article, even if the authors subscribe to a scumbag mentality) and shit like that.
OK, this was getting ridiculous. Certainly I wasn’t the first person to get hit with this. Why the silence? I’ll never know.
So, I ran an experiment. I temporarily disabled my AdBlock Plus plug-in and reloaded Twitter.
Sure as shit, the “tweet” and “follow” buttons magically re-appeared! To confirm my suspicion, I turned AdBlock Plus back off, and the buttons disappeared once again.
It appears that Firefox and Twitter might have joined forces somehow against AdBlock Plus. Because although Firefox purports to work with AdBlock Plus, that doesn’t mean that they can’t conspire with opposing forces and work with them even more. Firefox and AdBlock Plus might be acquaintances, but Firefox and Twitter (and its advertisers) might be f**k-buddies.
Everybody’s dutifully keeping mum about any closed-door arrangements, and the internet is keeping eerily silent about users experiencing this issue. So, naturally, I wanted to supply information, even if the extent of the information is a simple case report, a mere single anecdote.
Because I suspect that many users were using Firefox, AdBlock Plus, and Twitter. And I suspect that I’m not the only one who experienced The Case of the Disappearing Twitter Buttons.
Shenanigans like these have actually made me even more weary of updating my Firefox browser. In fact, I now tend to avoid updating at all.
Releasing updates also affects my plugins, which puts pressure on them to release updates, too, which keeps them working harder, which makes it tougher for them to remain free (or puts pressure on them to resort to shadier means of raising revenue more quickly from other sources).
So I’m howling a fat “Just Say No” message into the din. I may not get heard (and even if I am, I probably won’t get listened to), but I refuse to remain silent.
This is getting old. It’s getting childish. It’s starting to resemble “1984”.
I’m calling you out.
~an average user who holds a viewpoint you don’t like but is more common than you’re willing to admit