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August 12, 2016

Facebook, Adblock Plus Duke it Out Over Ad Blocking on Social Network

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Well, that was quick.

Adblock Plus on Thursday debuted a workaround for Facebook’s newly-launched ad blocker buster, effectively nullifying Facebook’s plan to make it impossible for ad blockers to determine if a post is a status update from a friend or an ad.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 12.10.52 PMFacebook also updated its Ad Preferences, enabling users to opt out of ads they are not interested in.

That happened on Tuesday. By Thursday, Adblock Plus had announced a new filter to foil Facebook’s update.

Adblock Plus, in a blog post, said it fully expected Facebook to “re-circumvent at any time.”

“This sort of back-and-forth battle between the open source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented; so it’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless — at any time,” the blog post reads. “If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again, etc.”

Adblock Plus was right. It did not take long for Facebook to strike back.

Within hours, the social networking firm had come up with a code to disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. Facebook’s fix is currently rolling out to all users.

Facebook, in a statement to Tech Crunch, delivered a subtle slap in the face to Adblock Plus.

“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,” the statement reads. “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.”

Facebook, in a blog post earlier this week, said its ad block bypass eliminates the need for ad blockers altogether.

“We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software,” reads the blog post. “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads. As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”

It will be interesting to see how the ad blocking community will respond to Facebook’s latest update and its statement that ad blockers are no longer necessary.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.