Adblock Plus says Facebook circumventing ad blockers is "anti-user"

By midian182 ยท 25 replies
Aug 11, 2016
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  1. News of Facebook’s decision to circumvent ad-blocking technology by disguising advertisements as native content hasn’t gone down too well, least of all with the companies that make the ad blockers themselves.

    Adblock Plus, which claims to be the most popular ad-blocking browser extension, has reacted to the social network’s move by accusing it of being “anti-user,” and that it “takes a dark path against user choice.”

    In a blog post, subtly titled “Oh well, looks like Facebook just got all anti-user,” Ben Williams, operations manager for Adblock Plus owner Eyeo, questioned just how effective ads were on Facebook. “It’s hard to imagine Facebook or the brands that are being advertised on its site getting any sort of value for their ad dollar here: publishers (like Facebook) alienate their audience and advertisers (the brands) allow their cherished brand name to be shoved down people’s throats. Yikes.” He also noted how Facebook described ads as “annoying” and “disruptive” in its own blog post.

    Williams may have a point; on the same day as Facebook’s announcement, Proctor and Gamble, the world’s largest ad spender, said it was moving away from targetted ads on the social network because they weren’t proving very effective.

    “We targeted too much and we went too narrow. And now we're looking at: What is the best way to get the most reach but also the right precision?" said P&G chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard to the Wall Street Journal.

    There’s a hint of hypocrisy about the outrage coming from Adblock Plus. Its controversial acceptable ads program allows companies to pay for their advertising to pass through the Adblock Plus filter. Eyoe has made a lot of money from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Taboola, who make payments equivalent to 30 percent of ad revenues to be whitelisted.

    Image credit: Pinone Pantone / Shutterstock

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  2. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 366   +236

    If I see ad it means the product is so bad it wouldn't sell on it's own and I skip buying it. Haven't seen any good ad online ever and most of the time if I see them I stop going to the site which has them.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,000   +653

    Since my main use of AdBlocker is to protect against malware, I guess I will be getting my malware direct from Facebook (as they endorse whatever creeps in - tho I bet the TOS makes it 'not their problem'). If the ads are loud/intrusive, I'll leave.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    I'm a Youtubber who has almost 19,500 subscribers. I'm earning around $2000 a month (more during holidays) and I get a lot of *****s who claim that they use ad-blocker to bypass the ads on my channel. As far as I'm concerned, Facebook and Youtube SHOULD be crippling their ad-blockers. Not only because it's obviously in my best interest, but on top of that, they are providing a service for "free" basically and they have to pay for it.

    My problem is that the ads mostly are for products I WOULD NEVER BUY and they couldn't even try to program it into me to consider certain products.
  5. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +648

    If ads were STATIC like they are in print, it would be that big of a deal for me.
    But, when the page takes FOREVER to load, because of an in your face ad, that has the
    sound cranked up, or the ones where you scroll down the page and all of a sudden a video
    ad you passed up starts playing, and you have to scroll back up to find out where it is
    coming from, or one that pops up on a page, and you have hunt around (like on a cell phone)
    to find the $%*((% little x to close it, THAT is the reason I use a blocker. ABP & uBlock.
  6. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 451   +180

    I think ads are a necessary evil on free websites that need to finance their server hosting. However I still block them because of the overall quality of ads. Often they try to trick you into clicking them (like when you go to download software and can't find the real Download link among all the ads). Or they pop up floating over the text you are trying to read. Or the ones that tell you you are the 1000th visitor or are missing a video codec but clicking it installs malware.
    When there are better controls over the type of ads that are hosted and they are better segregated away from what I'm trying to read, then I'd be happy to disable my adblocker and support the website with a few ad clicks.
    I've also seen websites that refuse to open if they detect an adblocker - while I understand their reasons, I also need to protect myself so I go somewhere else.
  7. ArdvarkMaster

    ArdvarkMaster TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +14

    Ads pay for web sites. But ads have gotten to the point where they overwhelm the content. And I should be able to say what data I download with my bandwidth and in what amounts. When a web site can shovel ANY amount of data at you in the form of ads, its time to block them.

    And if a site chooses to block users for blocking ads, chances are their "content" can be found elsewhere.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  8. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,300   +1,397

    First they sell your personal information, now they want to make more money by forcing ads in your face. Profits over people.
    Chesterfried and mbrowne5061 like this.
  9. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 745   +357

    Exactly. They sell ad profiles, my sympathy level when they want to sell ads as well is really low.
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    No, you don't understand. You won't be getting your malware via FB, FB is the malware itself.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Who cares about anti user, privacy, respect and all that other noble crap? It's all about selling ads and making money, that's all that counts. Zuckerberg wants money, lots of it, and to hell with how he gets it.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,918   +750

    So what you are saying is that you promote products you would never buy?
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,918   +750

    After all, that is what Facebook has always been and will always be about.

    Nothing to see in this thread. Move along!
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,918   +750

    Yeah, I've seen those too. It is often by an overlay that is easily blocked by hiding site-specific elements. Problem solved! :)
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    I will never think this. Ads are only evidence Admins have for lack of creativity and a weak excuse for supporting their site.

    I recently read another member call the user/consumer that freeloads a cancer. No the user/consumer is the dinner plate and the ads are the cancer that provides a fake sense of security. It's the consumers that you should be finding a way into their wallet not the Ad agencies. If you rely on Ad agencies, that means you failed to find a way into the consumer pockets or you never tried. Plaguing the Internet is not the way to go.

    Hell I'd love to have a few pens, maybe even a key chain with a Techspot logo. That in itself might benefit Techspot more than an Ad agency.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  16. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 330   +100

    The way ArsTechnica went about it so far has proved to be very successful and worthwhile. Surprised more news sites havn't followed suit by providing a subscription service that offers a few extra perks too.

    And not that I use Facebook (only have it for messenger for international text messaging with friends) I had to go to it the other day to change a setting. Didn't see any ads...Although I use uBlock Origin which is far more effective and dynamic than Adblock Plus ever was.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    Same here
  18. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,667   +987

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  19. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Addict Posts: 144   +75

    I feel you but prefer a different solution? I am a network engineer by trade and I run a tight ship at home. All ad domains are blocked. :-( Most of my favorite Youtubers use Patreon ( to give them money directly versus watching the ad's which I have the ability to block the ad domains at the router. Facebook can't circumvent that and neither can Youtube without breaking the law. But if I view your content regularly then yes, I want you to get paid, just not the pittance you are getting from advertising.
  20. FF222

    FF222 TS Booster Posts: 93   +33

    An ad blocker won't protect you from malware. Ads can only be used to distribute the very same malware any web page can distribute. So, unless your ad blocker also blocks all web pages, it won't protect you from them.

    On the other side ad networks are mostly far better secured than the average web page. So, in order to be safe from malware you should rather block web pages and watch ads all day long instead.

    Not saying you really should. Just that using an ad blocker to protect you from malware is completely pointless, besides being also wrong.
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,087   +1,266

    This will be funny when this backfires and people get malware from a facebook ad.
    axiomatic13 likes this.
  22. I'm not paying a subscription to use a website like Facebook or TechSpot like some of the comments above suggested as a alternative to ads. If I use a website a lot I will turn off the block as long as the block count is not 8 or more. I use IGN a lot but I'm never going to turn off the ad block because it hits 20-30+ blocks on every page which is insane and definitely effects the user experience. On my personal websites I run I make sure that I only have 2-3 ads on each page and never any popup or adult ads.
  23. Also I think the fact that AdBlock Plus allows companies to buy themselves onto a whitelist is extremely corrupt and they have no right to complain about Facebook being anti-user when you are only upset they won't pay you to show their ads on their own website.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  24. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Addict Posts: 249   +63

    You don't see them if you use u block origin
  25. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,918   +750

    As an adblock plus user: No one is required to use their whitelist. In fact, one can compile their own adblocking rules. I've done that. It works very well, IMO.

    My understanding is that their whitelist is an attempt to recognize that some sites rely on advertising for their operating expenses. But, like I said, adblock plus does not require any of their users to use their whitelist.

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