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.