Why did Firefox change my default search engine without asking me?
With the release of Version 57.0.1, Firefox changed the default search engine for all users back to Google. In some cases users were notified, but in most cases they were not. This is the official reason: in the past there were more ways to change the default search engine for Firefox, but this was abused by malicious software providers. To prevent this, Firefox applied restrictions and made Google the default search engine. Unfortunately, this didn't only affect malicious software providers, but also legitimate alternative search engines like PrivacyWall. You can read more about it here. You can read the complaints against Mozilla here.
Many PrivacyWall customers reached out to us complaining that PrivacyWall suddenly stopped working. Some wrote to us complaining that this was a marketshare grab by Google, because the code update happened on major holiday when everyone was supposed to be on vacation and with their families. For trivia nerds, Firefox engineers made this change on Black Friday 2017, a major American holiday when every able bodied American is supposed to be shopping for holiday gifts for their loved ones - except the hardworking engineers at Firefox who decided to come in to work and deliver Google a sweetheart gift of several million new users. There was also supposedly a lot of money involved in this deal - think hundreds of millions of $.
At PrivacyWall, our mission is to defend and protect consumer privacy. We won't speculate why Firefox did what they did, but simply put out the facts so our loyal customers can stay informed of what happened, and decide and choose for themselves.
How can I make sure I'm searching with PrivacyWall?
Follow the four simple steps below:
- Open the Firefox Menu
- Click 'Preferences' (Mac) / 'Options' (Windows)
- Click 'Search'
- Make sure 'PrivacyWall Search' is selected as your default search engine
What if the above does not work?
If this shouldn't work for you or if PrivacyWall does not show up in the list of search engines, please follow the steps below:
- Go to 'Menu' -> 'Add-ons' and make sure the PrivacyWall Extension is not installed. If it is still installed, please 'Remove' it.
- Go to 'Menu' -> 'Settings' -> 'Search' and make sure PrivacyWall does not appear in the list of search engines. If it still appears, remove it.
- Close Firefox and re-open it again.
- Go to https://www.privacywall.org/update/ff.xpi
- Click 'Add to Firefox' and follow the instructions to re-install the PrivacyWall extension.