Pocket: forcing appearance of sponsored content


After reading A Privacy-Conscious Approach to Sponsored Content - Future Releases – via https://redd.it/8g6lbb – I enabled Pocket then updated www/firefox from 59.0.3,1 to 60.0,1.

Re: https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/6wxfp3/-/dpv0keb/ I made browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.highlights true – imagining that sponsored content is a type of highlight – but then, nothing Pocket- or sponsor-related amongst new tab preferences.

After reading https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/6wxfp3/-/dmbo7ei/, at about:config?filter=browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section I changed browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.topstories from its default, false, to true.

Pocket Recommendations in Firefox FAQ - Pocket Support includes a screenshot of:

:ballot_box_with_check: Recommended by Pocket


  • I do see Pocket recommendations, above highlights
  • I do not see the Recommended by Pocket preference.

Linked from the recommendations section of a new tab:

– with a screenshot of a nested preference:

:ballot_box_with_check: Show Sponsored Stories

Given the nesting, I don’t expect the Show Sponsored Stories preference to appear, but I do wonder …

How soon might I see a sponsored story?

UK here. Should I set something at about:config to force eventual appearance of sponsored stories?

Or, might my locale and/or language preferences prevent appearance – until Mozilla rolls out the feature to en-GB users?

Effects of synchronised history

I use Waterfox for nearly all browsing. There’s removal of Pocket-related code, so I don’t expect recommendations to improve without using Firefox.

However, history is synchronised.

Will occasional use of Firefox (60 or greater) – with recommendations enabled – be enough to allow the Pocket code in Firefox to use synced history to improve recommendations in new Firefox tabs?

Thanks for airing the concerns @grahamperrin AFAIK this test is running in the US region only. If you were to use a US VPN you could potentially gain access to this test.

You might be seeking deeper info? For full details I suggest to check out the Activity Stream repo: https://github.com/mozilla/activity-stream

I personally make use of:

This method could enable you to use each browser with a different profile, with greatly reduced concerns around something like syncing history.

As Mozilla is using this to transparently test a new funding model, which the current one relies upon a default search partnership with Google, I’m fascinated to see how this innovation pans out.

Please also recognise this functionality can be disabled, as discussed in the original post you link to. EDIT: For more on the information collected/transmitted in Activity Stream – https://github.com/mozilla/activity-stream/blob/master/docs/v2-system-addon/data_events.md

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No concern here, I positively enjoy the sync.

Availability of sponsored content

The direction to GitHub was ideal, thanks –

– if I understand correctly, I’ll not require anything like that.

A glance at Fix Bug 1458701 - Enable pocket stories for en-CA by Mardak · Pull Request #4137 · mozilla/activity-stream (1458701 RESOLVED FIXED in Firefox 61) suggests that the user-preferred locale alone e.g. intl.locale.requested determines whether the stories will be offered.

(Have I taken that PR out of context? Anyone, please, correct me if I’m wrong.)

Whilst I’m in the UK, I use a non-localised installation of Firefox. So I guess that if I simply wait long enough, a sponsored recommendation will be offered.


about:config?filter=intl.locale.requested finds nothing, is that normal for Firefox 60? From Multilingual Gecko Status Update 2018.1 – stream of bytes, and from the recent duplication of 1425941, I assume so.

Note to self: FreeBSD bug 221916 – cease www/firefox-i18n dependency on old, incompatible xpi-quick-locale-switcher

intl.locale.requested is only set in some cases, you may have to create it, yes.

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OK, I created it with a single value, en-US.

The wait begins :slight_smile:

Any experiment news to update this thread with @grahamperrin?

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Thanks for asking.

Not yet – no sponsored content in Firefox – maybe because

Forced appearance aside, I’m pleased to report that some of the about:newtab Pocket GUI misbehaviours are less severe (less frequent) in recent days. Note to self: update the bug(s).

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I’ll enable in Nightly and report back any news.

In about:config I searched then subsequently added (right click >> new >> string) the above recommended intl.locale.requested and the string en-US.

Further in about:config then toggled browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.topstories to true. I may have previously toggled this, so it might already be true for others.

This resulted in the expected standard 3 articles “Recommended by Pocket” ut no sponsored content:

Will perform a restart. EDIT: Nope - no test sponsored content.

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For a while I had an extension setting the home page.

Today I disabled the extension.

Still no sponsored content.

In Reddit:

Is there a way to enable pocket personalized recommendations outside the US? : firefox

Today I had a string of recommendations and remarkably, the entire set was of zero interest to me.

(On every previous occasion, I found at least one thing of interest.)

I can no longer receive recommendations:


Now, looking at the foot of the earliest Wayback Machine capture of answers to FAQ about recommendations, I guess that prior receipt of recommendations – in the UK – was a bug.


https://getpocket.com/a/recommended/ is a poor substitute for the streamlined interface that I enjoyed with a past version of Firefox. The web interface requires two clicks :-1::-1: in a modal dialogue :-1: for each item that’s to be hidden.

I found a partial workaround, thanks to https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/b33m0t/-/epsarfh/


Making browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.topstories true is:

  • effective for about:newtab
  • not effective for about:preferences#home

There’s the old problem of things saved to Pocket appearing as recommendations (not saved to Pocket), I guess the bug will be transient.

All resolved.

I now get recommendations – with sponsored content :+1:




  • was previously set to GB
  • is now US


All recommendations at once. Perfect! No longer limited to a single row. I can use a single page to perform all dismissals.

From this:


– to this:


– to this: