The back-and-forth between Facebook and ad-blocking software companies has become almost farcical at this point: After Facebook said it would block the use of ad blockers, the leading ad-blocking company announced that it will block the use of Facebook's ad-blocker blocker. And now Facebook says it is rolling out a fix that will disable the ad-blocker's blocker blocking. As humorous as this cat-and-mouse battle may seem, there is a serious principle at stake for Facebook. If it can't reliably ensure that users are seeing its advertising, then the 1 billion it currently makes on desktop ads is potentially in jeopardy, and questions might also be raised about its ability to display ads on mobile too, which is a 5-billion business. That's why the giant social network rolled out its ad-blocker force field earlier this week, with a blog post that spent a lot of time on the controls that Facebook gives to users that allows them to choose which ads they want to see, and very little time on the technicalities of blocking ad-blockers.
Facebook said it would take steps to keep ad-blocking software from allowing Facebook desktop users to strip the social network of ads. SAN FRANCISCO -- Popular ad-blocking software says it can override Facebook's measures to force people using ad blockers to view Facebook ads on desktop computers. Adblock Plus gave users instructions to outwit Facebook and peruse an ad-free version of the social network on Thursday. The steps require users to change code in the software's settings. Ad-blocking software makers are responding to Facebook's announcement Tuesday that it would make it tough for the software to distinguish between a status update and a sponsored ad on the desktop version of the social network.
Adblock Plus said Facebook's move to circumvent ad blockers shows it has taken the "dark path against user choice". Facebook has reportedly started rolling out an update that disables a move by Adblock Plus to skirt around the social network's ad-blocker bypass. Facebook on Tuesday rolled out its bypass for ad blockers on its desktop site. However, within hours, ad blockers figured out a workaround to Facebook's measure, once again allowing ads to be blocked in desktop browsers. Adblock Plus said Facebook's move to circumvent ad blockers shows it has taken the "dark path against user choice".
Until now, people who had installed ad blocking software on their computers were able to skip adverts on Facebook. However, the social media site says it will start using software to bypass the blockers. From today, Facebook users who access the site via their desktops will be shown adverts, regardless of whether they have a blocker installed. From today, Facebook users will be presented with new options at the top of their news feed, showing them what Facebook thinks they like. They will also be shown a list of which advertisers are using their contact information to target them on the network.
Ads can seem like the bane of the Internet. They take up real estate and slow Web pages while they load; at worst, they splash across the screen for interminable seconds, shout loudly and unexpectedly from an invisible corner, or surreptitiously infest the host computer with malware. Around two hundred million users worldwide have tools to block these ads and prevent them from loading, according to reports from the ad-blocking-circumvention startup PageFair. Blocking ads, however, also keeps the Web sites you read from making money. And so, typically, sites try to earn back this business with appeals to visitors' empathy: they ask you to please "white-list" the site and let it stay in business.