OKCupid asks users to boycott Mozilla Firefox

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OKCupid asks users to boycott Firefox

The online dating website OKCupid has said Mozilla's CEO Brendan Eich "is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples," and has asked its users to boycott all Mozilla software, which would include the popular browser Firefox.

The call comes shortly after Eich was appointed as CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, a not-for-profit whose stated aim is to "promote choice and innovation on the internet".

In fighting at Mozilla?

After Eich began his new role as CEO last week, three of the six other members on the Mozilla board resigned from their posts. The Mozilla foundation addressed subsequent media speculation that they had left because of their opposition to Eich's appointment. They said:

"The three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected."

The discussions on social networking websites such as Twitter suggests that beneath the surface there is deep unrest at Mozilla.

Many cite that fact that Eich was the donor of $1000 to a campaign to ban gay marriage in the state of California in 2008: proposition 8. Initially the law passed but the proposition was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

Eich's support for proposition 8 has lead some employees to call for his resignation. Many have voiced concerns that his political stance is out of sync with the company mission. Sydney Moyer, of Mozilla's engagement team, tweeted:

"I cannot reconcile having @BrendanEich as CEO with our org's culture & mission. Brendan, please step down."

Other members of staff are more stoic about the dispute. Speaking on her href="http://subfictional.com/2014/03/24/on-brendan-eich-as-ceo-of-mozilla">blog, head of education Christie Koehler said:

"It's hard working with people but you have to do it anyway."

Whatever happens, it doesn't seem like Mr Eich will hand over control of the ship anytime soon. While he has said he will support the Mozilla community, and wants to "express sorrow at having caused pain," he has not formally apologised for his support of proposition 8.

A big problem on the horizon?

When users visit the dating website OKCupid using Firefox they see a message: "We would prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OKCupid."

OKCupid is owned by IAC/InterActive corp, which also owns match.com and the mobile dating app Tinder. The corporation's portfolio includes web properties such as about.com and The Daily Beast, but does not appear to be in any direct competition with Mozilla.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "This is clearly a difficult time for Mozilla. A workplace striving for diversity will always have to overcome difficulties; but when other companies comment on the decisions of your board, you have to seriously reflect on those decisions."