From privacy concerns to misinformation, the internet has become a messed up place.
But it can be fixed.
That’s the point Mozilla is trying to drive home in a new campaign for its internet browser Firefox released on Thursday that calls on internet users to help it “unfck” the internet.
The digital campaign, which includes a 15-second sizzle reel, banner ads, GIFs and a 30-second audio spot, urges people to play their part in restoring the internet to a positive force in society. The spot compiles graphics that highlight ways the internet is messed up, asking people to “unhate,” “untroll,” “unfilter” and “untrack.”
“Mozilla has been doggedly in this fight to build a better internet and protect the web for 20 years,” said Lindsey Shepard, Mozilla’s CMO. “We've been thinking a lot about, what tactically do we need to do to build a better internet?”
The campaign leads to an online hub where Mozilla lays out tangible actions people can take to clean up the internet, including sending political ads on Facebook and YouTube to a public database and downloading browser extensions that allow people to flag bad YouTube recommendations and stop Facebook from tracking them around the web. The landing page also guides people to resources to learn more about how internet tracking and data collection works and highlights independent tech companies people can use instead of the big guys.
Although issues around big tech, online privacy and the dangers of social media algorithms are becoming more mainstream, the challenge for Mozilla was getting a message across to consumers about what can be dry and complex technical topics.
“A huge part of that from a marketing perspective is trying to understand how people are thinking about these issues,” Shepard explained. “There's so much out there and it can be a heavy cognitive lift. How is this showing up to people?”
The creative strategy aimed to break down the issues around internet privacy and security in a way that allows people to piece them together as symptoms of a larger structural problem.
“Folks don't realize that so many of these issues they encounter online are part of a bigger system of incentives that is really geared toward profit and not people,” Shepard said.
While big tech companies such as Apple are addressing privacy issues on the internet, they’re talking to consumers about how they alone are going to fix it. Mozilla, which is backed by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, aims to spread awareness and educate consumers about how the internet works and get people involved in the fight for a safer internet. To do that, Mozilla enlisted influencers in the campaign to involve real people in the conversation.
“We don't want to just talk at people,” Shepard explained. “We want to have a conversation. We can't do this ourselves. We want people to be part of a movement to ask more of the internet, of big tech, of the system.”
While the goal of the campaign is in part to encourage people to use the Firefox browser, which automatically blocks third-party cookie tracking, it’s also a PSA and a rallying cry to clean up the junk that’s piled up on the internet and restore its positive influence.
Mozilla will continually update its online hub as new internet-related issues arise or become more relevant to its users.
“Our goal here was to state plainly the obvious: The internet is awesome, important and vital, but it’s also fucked up,” Shepard said. “We believe in a better internet, and we also understand that to get there, it can't just be us.”