Facebook vs. Adblock

Facebook, today’s most popular social network is flooded with so many ads, some of which are quite annoying. It’s no wonder that many users will use Adblock Plus or other ad blockers to prevent ads from popping up on their news feed.

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However, Facebook has recently announced that they had made certain changes. They implemented changes to the site that would thwart ad blockers. Now one of the most popular browser plugins Adblock Plus returns fire. They made a filter update that restores its commercial killing powers to the Facebook world.

Facebook’s vice-president Andrew Bosworth made a statement on 9th of August. He announced that ad blockers will no longer be able to make “sponsored posts” disappear on computers and laptops. However, Facebook will now allow users to have more control over the types of ads they see in news feed.

“If you don’t want to see ads about a certain interest like travel or cats, you can remove the interest from your ad preferences. We also heard that people want to be able to stop seeing ads from businesses or organizations who have added them to their customer lists, and so we are adding tools that allow people to do this”, said Bosworth.

On the other hand, Adblock Plus promised its large community of users that they wouldn’t take these changes sitting down. Soon after this promise Adblock Plus announced an update to their filters that restored the plugin’s ad-blocking powers to the world’s most popular social network.

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Adblock’s blog:

“As many of you know, the filter lists that ‘tell’ Adblock Plus what to block are in fact the product of a global community of web citizens. This time that community seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook.”

Facebook also claims that Adblock blocks non-advertising posts from users’ friends.

“We’re disappointed that ad blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook as these new attempts don’t just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages. This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue. Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we’ve instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people’s hands,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

There are certain rules that advertisers must follow. One of those rules is that “ads must not disrupt the user’s natural reading flow”. Also, ads must be placed above, under or to the side of the main content. One more rule to be followed is that ads can be clearly distinguished from non-advertising content.

Facebook’s sponsored content is placed in the center of the news feed. This can easily hamper the ability to follow the advertising rules mentioned above.

According to Page Fair around 198 million people use some form of ad blocker; this number is expected to triple over the next few years.

The battle between ad-blockers and advertisers lasts since the ad block was invented, and it will probably end when one of those disappears, which means that the end is nowhere to be seen. All we can see is that Adblock is winning, for now.

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