You may not have heard, but this weekend the web browser Brave, known for being designed to protect the privacy of its users, was the subject of a controversy that even led to the incitement to a boycott: the finding by a user of affiliate links when accessing cryptocurrency sites.
That is, when browsing with Brave and entering these sites, the links automatically became affiliate links, which usually assumes that whoever redirects – in this case, the browser and the company behind it – will receive financial benefits derived from the possible expenses made by the user. This is a very common tactic throughout the Internet, but if it has been a reason for complaint this time, it is because it was not carried out transparently, at least informing the user previously.
And of course, coming from a web browser that claims to put the privacy of its users first and not implement anything strange behind their backs, and which in fact denounces the competition when it considers it should, the discovery has done very badly. But it was not intentional, but a mistake for which the CEO of the company has already apologized, promising to fix it as soon as possible. The problem was caused by an autocomplete of the affiliate code that they did not know about in Brave, since they use it for other purposes.
1 / We made a mistake, we’re correcting: Brave default autocompletes verbatim «https://t.co/hJd0ePInEw» in address bar to add an affiliate code. We are a Binance affiliate, we refer users via the opt-in trading widget on the new tab page, but autocomplete should not add any code.
– BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) June 6, 2020
As we already told you when the first stable version of Brave was launched at the end of last year, this is a very peculiar browser and among its features is to reward users for seeing ads that do not track them. And how they do it is through a blockchain system that distributes payments through tokens that can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies.
Thus, Brave is indeed an affiliate of the services to which it was adding its codes, but what it was doing does not correspond to how the integrated payment system works. AND is already being resolved. However, it is not something that affects the majority of users of this browser.