After Adblock Plus reblocked Facebook’s ad-block-blocking tool a mere 48 hours after it was launched, Facebook is updating it code that will render Adblock Plus’ workaround useless. If that reads like gobbledygook, you may be in need of a recap as to the events of the previous two days.
In case you missed it, Facebook began rolling out a set of ad customization options for users that allow them to tinker with the types of ads they are served on the social network. The plan was tied into Facebook’s larger strategy to give its users a more pleasant advertising experience.
Updated on 08-12-2016 by Les Shu: Included new info about Facebook disabling Adblock Plus’ workaround.
Updated on 08-11-2016 by Saqib Shah: Included statement from Facebook
The only problem is, the company’s latest move left no room for users that don’t want to see ads altogether. As usual buried within its friendly spiel, Facebook revealed that the HTML of its ads had been added into its content, meaning the site could now bypass ad-blockers.
Popular ad-blocking tool Adblock Plus fired back by claiming that Facebook’s plan was “anti-user.” It also stated that it was hard at work on creating a workaround for the update. Today, just two days after it slammed the social network, Adblock Plus has unveiled a new filter that it claims can get the better of Facebook’s ads.
“We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soon, and, frankly, they’ve beaten even our own expectations,” says Adblock Plus in a blog post.
This is how the workaround would have worked: If you already have Adblock Plus installed, all you have to is update your filter lists to start blocking ads on Facebook again — or just wait a day for the filter list to automatically update itself.
But, as Adblock Plus noted, Facebook could “re-circumvent” ad-blockers at any time, which is what the social network has done, according to a TechCrunch report. Facebook is releasing new code that would disable the workaround. Adblock Plus describes the current situation as a cat and mouse game — somebody pass the popcorn because this is turning into a full-fledged war, complete with Star Wars-style dialogue that claims the social network has taken “the dark path.”
For its part, Facebook is clearly not happy with the Adblock Plus filter. Andrew Bosworth, chief of ads and business at Facebook, had tweeted they would “address the issue,” and they are taking action quickly.
A Facebook spokesperson told Digital Trends the following about its stance on the Adblock Plus update, and ad-blockers in general: “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. 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.”
This battle looks set to rage on until one company somehow manages to land the final blow. For now, Adblock Plus is painting itself as the David to Facebook’s Goliath. In reality, this is far from a one-on-one bout, as Facebook’s manpower (and financial standing) gives it the advantage. Meanwhile, all Facebook’s users can do is await the next round.