Proposed revision to Chrome Extension Manifest could cripple content blockers

A proposed change to Chrome would neuter content blockers:

While we’re still waiting for a Chromium-powered version of Microsoft Edge to materialize, we do know that it is intended that the browser will end up supporting Chrome extensions. However, according to a draft of the Chrome Extension Manifest V3 implementation, it appears that there could be some bad news for content blocking solutions designed for the browser.

According to the draft, use of the webRequest API currently used by content blockers “will be discouraged (and likely limited) in its blocking form” while a non-blocking implementation would allow nothing more than observation of network activity. Instead, developers will have access to the new declearativeNetRequest API. However, the proposal has drawn the ire from content blocker heavyweights such as Raymond Hill, best known as the author of uBlock Origin and uMatrix.

This clearly feels like a slippery slope where eventually all forms of content blocking will be either made impossible or very limited. Google is an advertising company, after all, and content blockers must in some way influence the company’s bottom line.

Luckily, there’s always Firefox.


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