Last week, Google unveiled the first draft of a collection of changes to the Chrome extensions platform, known as Manifest V3, which received almost immediate backlash from the developers of ad blocking extensions. The developer of Tampermonkey is now joining in on the Manifest V3 conversation, detailing how it would stop the popular extension from working altogether on Chrome.

Raymond Hill, lead developer of uBlock Origin, was the first to speak out about Manifest V3, explaining how one aspect of it would prevent most ad blockers from working as they do today. The developers of competing ad blocker Ghostery were the next to chime in, even suggesting that they may file an anti-trust complaint against Google should Manifest V3 be implemented as described.

Bleeping Computer reports, the latest Chrome extension developer to publicly oppose Manifest V3 is Jan Biniok of Tampermonkey fame. While the ad blocker extensions take issue with the new WebRequest API, Biniok pointed to a passage under a section about remotely-hosted code.

Beginning in Manifest V3, we will disallow extensions from using remotely-hosted code. This will require that all code executed by the extension be present in the extension’s package uploaded to the webstore.

In theory, this is a very positive change, one that will help Google combat malicious extensions. However, extensions like Tampermonkey are entirely built around the idea of running “userscripts” which alter the behavior of websites, such as by redirecting from Amazon to AmazonSmile, or providing download links on YouTube videos.

These userscripts are written by the users themselves or by other developers like those on Greasy Fork, and added to the Tampermonkey extension after installation. If Chrome requires “all code […] be present in the extension’s package,” as Manifest V3 currently outlines, then Tampermonkey would cease to function altogether.

Biniok further explained what it would likely take for users to continue using their userscripts under the current Manifest V3 proposal.

Every little userscript would then have to become an own extension. Anyone who wants to do that has to pay $5 to be able to publish an extension. There are so many use cases for userscripts so I hope that this planned change is reconsidered.

Google has yet to comment directly on the issues that Tampermonkey will face, but had this to share about the current state of Manifest V3.

These changes are in the design process, as mentioned in the document and the Chromium bug. We want to make sure all fundamental use cases are still possible with these changes and are working with extension developers to make sure their extensions continue to work.

9to5Google’s Take

If Chrome does implement Manifest V3 as currently proposed, it’ll arguably be safer for it, but that safety will come at the cost of power users. These power users will likely switch to one of the ever-decreasing number of browsers not based on Chromium, like Firefox.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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