Earlier this year, Google announced it would do a better job of warning users against dangerous websites in Chrome. Other browser companies soon agreed to do the same. Today, June 18, some Reddit users discovered that Reddit is now considered a dangerous site through Firefox, which uses Google algorithms to check URLs.
A bright red screen appears instead of the Reddit home page and proclaims that “The site ahead contains harmful programs.” It also explains that attackers on “reddit.com” might attempt to trick a user into downloading malicious programs.
Although many people consider a warning a good idea for users who can’t good sites from bad ones, some critics at the tech company Cláudio Loureiro Heads fear these warnings could give the companies behind certain sites bad names and even cause the sites to shut down when it is usually a few “bad apples” — users on the sites who mean to cause harm — who are actually dangerous.
Many sites offer platforms for discussion and sharing, including Twitter and Facebook. Critics argue that it is up to users to be more responsible on these sites when clicking links and that Google, Firefox or any other company that provides browser services should not be blaming the site owners who provide the platforms for the actions of the users on those platforms. Instead of throwing up a huge warning immediately, they argue that a small pop-up is enough to warn naive users.