Facebook’s Battle With Adblock Plus Continues

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Facebook will continue to thwart Adblock Plus efforts for as along as is necessary

Facebook has been desperately trying hard to restrict ad blockers from properly functioning on its hugely popular social media website. But it seems that Adblock Plus has still managed to bypass all of Facebook’s attempts to block it on its website.

So here is the deal; Facebook allows you to use its superbly built social media network website, and you can visit the site for free.

You are allowed to make friends, share photos and read news about the topics that interest you, and if you happen to like a particular piece of content (your friend’s photo, video, status update), you can hit the like button to show your appreciation.

These actions further strengthen your relationships with people you care about and want to spend time with.

In return, Facebook gets to know about your friends, you personal life, your likes/dislikes, your taste in food and everything else you engage in while on its social media platform. Facebook also knows which places you like to visit.

And nothing at the moment is prohibiting Facebook from selling all of your personal information to marketing firms who can then serve you targeted advertisements.

You might also be glad to know that, Facebook itself can also show you more relevant ads because it has all your personal data at its disposal and of course when you click on these ads, Facebook makes a ton of money.

Not a bad deal right? Well, maybe not for Facebook but imagine if, in some distant future or a near one, the roles stay the same except that you get paid for selling your personal information to marketing firms instead of Facebook.

Wouldn’t that be thrilling? You could be making money equivalent to minimum wage by doing nothing but selling information about your online activities to companies that will only use that information to serve you better ads.

Oh yeah, before I forget, these companies might also sell your information to other organizations such as the NSA and CIA.

Not to mention, your health care package companies, car insurance companies along with every other insurance company that you can possibly think of, wouldn’t mind getting a hold of what you do in your private time in order to better judge what rates should these companies charge you.

You could get rejected from a loan assistance request on the basis of your health-related searches on Google.

So to basically not hold up your end of the bargain, all you need to do is install Adblock Plus on your browser if you browse the internet from a desktop computer.

Or access the internet through your mobile phone using “incognito mode” in your browser. Or you could just install a VPN service and access the internet from an encrypted server.

Now, you should have a pretty good idea as to why Facebook wants to stop Adblock Plus from blocking its advertisements that it serves up to its users when they use Facebook.

It took a total of two days for Adblock Plus to bypass Facebook’s efforts to restrict ad blockers on its website.

In other words, the developer behind Adblock Plus managed to find a workaround to continue blocking Facebook ads in less than 48 hours. Not a pretty sight for a company that can throw infinite amounts of money and expertise to solve any given problem let alone that of Adblock Plus.

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Facebook and Adblock Plus have different worldviews. So the battle between the two giant is likely to be waged for a considerable amount of time.

And make no mistake, this is just the beginning of the war that is being fought between Facebook and ad blockers of all sorts, not just Adblock Plus.

A couple of days ago Facebook announced that it would be bringing in new features to its social network website which would stop software that removes advertising sections on its website.

As mentioned before, Adblock Plus responded with a solution in less than two days.

As far Facebook site visitors are concerned, all that the end user needs to do is to update Adblock Plus filters and rest easy because that action alone would be enough for Adblock Plus to eradicate those annoying ads once more.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook recently stated that the company did not pay ad blocking businesses to be whitelisted.

What the social network giant did do is that it changed the way the code behind advertisements worked.

In other words, Facebook changed how its ads were recognized. These improved ads, as far as Facebook is concerned, also gave the end user more oversight over the type of ads they were shown.

Ben Williams, who must have made a fortune himself by blocking annoying ads, wrote in a blog post that this kind of back-and-forth assault between open source ad-blocking companies and ad-serving companies had been going on since ad blocking software was invented.

He also said that it is entirely possible that Facebook would write some newer code which will render the Adblock Plus filter useless again.

Ben stated that it was only a matter of time before Facebook implements its new code. Then he continued to explain that if Facebook again blocked Adblock Plus’s services, then the ad blocking community would be able to find another workaround.

One can easily see that this cycle is very likely to repeat itself for some time to come since Facebook isn’t going to stop coming up with newer solutions in order to block all Adblock Plus’ efforts to let the user not see irritating ads.

However, Ben also pointed out that the newly developed Adblock filter hasn’t been comprehensively tested yet. He said that his company, Adblock Plus, will adjust its code after it has received some feedback from its users.

On the other hand, Facebook hasn’t exactly appreciated Adblock Plus’ efforts either and has said that these ad-blocking filters might actually remove regular posts from Facebook feeds as well.

A spokesperson for Facebook told The Verge that Facebook was disappointed on the fact that ad blocking companies were punishing people who visited Facebook since their “new and improved” code behind Adblock removed not only ads but also blocked posts from Pages and friends.

The spokesperson also said that because of adblocking companies, people who visit Facebook are having a less than ideal user experience and the company intends to address the issue appropriately.

Can Facebook really be blamed for trying to disable AdBlock filters on its website?

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Facebook block Adblock Plus. Then Adblock Plus blocked Facebook ads. This cycle has repeated thrice in the past couple of hours.

The answer is no because Facebook’s stance against ad blockers is only due to the fact that the company heavily relies on revenue that is generated through these advertisements.

As far as adblocking community is concerned, judging from their quick response to Facebook’s new code, it seems highly unlikely that the developers behind adblocking companies are going to relent anytime soon.

Update: According to a report from TechCrunch, Facebook has begun to roll out code that will, again, disable AdBlock Plus from blocking ads on its website.

Facebook said that Ad blockers are a “blunt instrument” and that the company wants the users to be in control of what they do and don’t want to see when they visit Facebook.

A source that is considered to be close to Facebook told TechCrunch, that Facebook would be able to put out new code that will address the issue of Adblock Plus within a few hours.

If that is indeed the case, then Facebook would have circumvented Adblock Plus’ efforts much more quickly that Adblock Plus subverted its.

And if that wasn’t crazy enough already then Adblock Plus has now said that it has already found a new workaround that will again thwart Facebook’s new code.

Update 2: And Facebook has, again, released new code that will circumvent Adblock Plus filters.

In a new blog post, Adblock said that even a giant like Facebook couldn’t be allowed to trample on the free will of users.

This cycle of blocking and unblocking ads will not end in the foreseeable future. But Adblock Plus is at a significant disadvantage here.

That major disadvantage comes from the fact that users who use Adblock Plus have to update their software or Adblock filters manually in order to keep Facebook’s ads blocked.

That means that if Facebook continues to roll out newer code, Adblock Plus might have to update its Adblock Plus software on a daily basis.

Even that might not be enough as Facebook can implement its newer code unilaterally for all users without them doing anything manually.

In other words, by the time Adblock Plus’ users have updated their Adblock Plus filters, Facebook might have already come up with code that counters Adblock Plus’ update.

In effect, Facebook will find it much easier to stay one step ahead of Adblock Plus all the time. The quick (and then more immediate) response from Facebook also makes sense because Facebook loses much more money for every ad blocked by ad blocking companies. Ad blocking companies don’t nearly experience as much financial gain from blocking ads.

We’ll continue to provide you more updates as this story further develops.

 

Zohair
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