Posted on 06-08-2020.
Brave, a popular privacy-focused browser, has faced a backlash from the community after users noticed affiliate links popping up in the autocomplete form in the browser’s address bar. In a discussion on Twitter, Brave CEO Brendan Eich called the links in autocomplete a mistake and promised not to let such a thing happen again. The recent autocomplete issue was highlighted in a post by a cryptocurrency podcast host Yannick Eckl (@cryptonator1337) on June 6th. When he tried to type in the URL binance.us, the autocomplete in the browser suggested an affiliate link with Brave’s identifier added. https://twitter.com/cryptonator1337/status/1269260767913795584 Brave CEO Brendan Eich responded by calling the incident a mistake and assured that all links on the pages and URLs typed in are served as is, no hijacking. https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1269313200127795201 Brave is known to be Binance’s partner. The browser offers a Binance widget integrating simple trading features into the user experience. The affiliate links included in the autocomplete suggestions haven’t been clearly presented or discussed with the community, which is why some felt like the developers tried to sneak the addition in. Since Brave is heralded as being focused on privacy and putting users in control of ads they see, the community started questioning the credibility of the developers. https://twitter.com/JuliusCrypto/status/1269334946474102784 Importantly, Brave’s open-source code on GitHub included affiliate links to other websites as well. The Block’s researcher Larry Chermak tweeted about the same thing going out with Ledger, Trezor, and Coinbase. He mentioned that the links were originally discovered by Dimitar Dinev of JRR Group. https://twitter.com/lawmaster/status/1269321803815673856 Aside from adding an affiliate tag to binance.com, binance.us, coinbase.com, ledger.com, and trezor.io, the browser tagged search queries for bitcoin, btc, ethereum, eth, litecoin, ltc or bnb. It also turned out that Brave users have been noticing affiliate links in the browser as far back as 2018. In March 2020, there’s also been a debate about Brave’s promotion of eToro exchange
“This ignores the legally required disclosures for affiliate links—the disclosures that Brave also ignored for the eToro links in March. In the US, the FTC has required full disclosure of affiliate marketing since 2009—you have to put it right there on the page. Similar rules apply in the UK and the EU,” author and cryptocurrency critic David Gerard wrote.Brave’s Brendan Eich said that there’s a way to toggle the affiliate links in autocomplete in the browser settings and announced that the feature will be turned off by default in the following releases. Notably, despite the generally negative response from the community, some users expressed their support to the project, emphasizing that Brave is still a privacy-focused browser that has advantages over products of Google and Facebook. https://twitter.com/agnelvishal/status/1269655292280627204 As of the press time, the latest version of the Brave browser available for download still came with affiliate links in autocomplete turned on. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and join our Telegram channel to know what’s up with crypto and why it’s important.