Skip to main content

New extension blocks annoying Facebook-created ads … but we have some concerns

new extension blocks annoying facebook created ads but we have some concerns abp
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Earlier this year, we dove deep into the moral dilemmas of Adblock Plus, an undeniably useful service that also has some rather questionable company ethics. Back then, a tipster contacted us and told us that Adblock Plus was running a pay-for-placement deal with companies, where for a price it would push their ads through its barrier and allow them to show up on users’ screens.

The fact that Adblock Plus does this was announced by the company itself years ago as part of its Acceptable Ads Initiative. In order to keep the Web running, ads are necessary, and Adblock Plus was going to help identify the “high quality” ones. The new information, however, was that the company was approaching potential clients and goading them into paying them in order to get their content through.

Suffice it to say that within the past year or so, eyebrows continue to rise regarding Adblock Plus’ business ethics – although its most recent release appears to truly have users in mind. The extension has long blocked Facebook ads (sidebar content, sponsored stories, promoted posts, etc), but now you can customize it so that you don’t see Facebook-created “ad” content as well – like the “People you may know” and “Games you may like” prompts.

Here’s the full list of what the expanded extension can hide:

  • Music Pages you may like 
  • Entertainment Pages you may like
  • People you may know 
  • Rate to add to your Movies
  • Rate to add to your TV Shows
  • Rate Books You’ve Read
  • Rate These Places
  • Get Important News
  • Recommended Pages
  • Rate Movies You’ve Watched
  • Add to Movies
  • Add to TV Shows
  • Rate TV Shows You’ve Watched
  • Suggested Groups
  • Friend Finder/Find More Friends
  • Games You May Like
  • Play It Again
  • Suggest Friends
  • Nearby Places

That’s a hefty amount of content. Content that we as an Internet have pretty unanimously decided is annoying and disruptive – many are among our largest Facebook complaints. So is there anything to be skeptical of here, given Adblock Plus’ shaky reputation?

Specifically, no. But if Facebook were to become one of Adblock Plus’ Acceptable Ads partner, wouldn’t all this content just come flying back onto our pages? Why would I even worry about that? Well because Ablock Plus has recently started courting Twitter for such purposes. When Twitter filed its S-1 paperwork last month, the company immediately and publicly reached out.

“Your current ad offerings are actually not far from what we’d consider non-annoying … but the idea of a fundamentally changed Twitter, now with ads round every corner, may direct users to Adblock Plus for no other reason than that they want their ‘old’ Twitter back. So why not work together? We would like to partner with you to engineer acceptable, non-intrusive advertising that would conform to our guidelines and make it to our whitelist. That’s right, we want you to advertise. But we want you to do it responsibly, by adhering to our Acceptable Ads guidelines.”

We sincerely wanted to reach out to them right before they went public in the hopes that they would partner with us to make non-intrusive ads,” Adblock Plus PR Manager Ben Williams tells me. “Twitter is about user-created content; we’re about a user-determined Internet experience. We felt that a service like theirs, so devoted to what its users produce, would naturally share some common ground with us, a company devoted to user control.” 

The proposition reopens many ongoing conversations – like what exactly is a “acceptable, non-annoying” ad, and why should one entity be the single judge? And to Adblock Plus’ point, how can we unify the want for free content and non-spammy advertisements? Still, Adblock Plus has millions of users whose eyeballs are worth advertising money, so questions have to be asked – especially when it’s known that money is indeed changing hands.

By all accounts, the initiative is an active one that Adblock Plus takes great lengths to update and adjust as needed, and it’s possible that this might be the best way to approach Web advertising without destroying it (which we’ve all come to accept would mean the death of free online content altogether).

Still, while the latest Facebook ad blocking releasing is useful, there’s a sense of “for now” that comes along with it. Who knows what ad creator will be whitelisted next?

Editors' Recommendations

Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use GIFs.com for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more
I paid Meta to ‘verify’ me — here’s what actually happened
An Instagram profile on an iPhone.

In the fall of 2023 I decided to do a little experiment in the height of the “blue check” hysteria. Twitter had shifted from verifying accounts based (more or less) on merit or importance and instead would let users pay for a blue checkmark. That obviously went (and still goes) badly. Meanwhile, Meta opened its own verification service earlier in the year, called Meta Verified.

Mostly aimed at “creators,” Meta Verified costs $15 a month and helps you “establish your account authenticity and help[s] your community know it’s the real us with a verified badge." It also gives you “proactive account protection” to help fight impersonation by (in part) requiring you to use two-factor authentication. You’ll also get direct account support “from a real person,” and exclusive features like stickers and stars.

Read more
Here’s how to delete your YouTube account on any device
How to delete your YouTube account

Wanting to get out of the YouTube business? If you want to delete your YouTube account, all you need to do is go to your YouTube Studio page, go to the Advanced Settings, and follow the section that will guide you to permanently delete your account. If you need help with these steps, or want to do so on a platform that isn't your computer, you can follow the steps below.

Note that the following steps will delete your YouTube channel, not your associated Google account.

Read more