Some internet users deploy an adblocker as a form of self defence because there’s nothing like visiting a website and seeing nothing but wall-to-wall ads with pop-ups and pop-unders vying for your eye’s attention. The solution, besides an adblocker, would seem to be simple – less intrusive website advertising (of the sort that Stuff uses, yes?). Of, if you’re Facebook, you can just implement a change that will circumvent adblockers and tell users that everything’s fine.
Which is about what the company has done. Facebook has announced that it has made changes to how users control the ads that are seen by making it easier to add or remove preferences. A change which, by the way, sucked up ancient Facebook information (which we thought had been deleted) from our account and set them as advertising preferences. It was, admittedly, simple enough to can those resurrected preferences with a single click per item. But the upshot is that you are going to be shown ads, whether you like it or not.
Which brings us to the company’s new policy on adblocking. Facebook said that “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads. As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”
The company will achieve this, according to The Verge, by making the advertising code for ads on the service “…look just like any other Facebook content.” The reason that ad blockers work is because advertising looks different from the rest of the website. Facebook seems to have found a way around that so an adblocker will be useless. For the moment.
The social network is well within its rights to make these changes, of course. Facebook makes its money farming out user data and serving advertising to its billions of users. If ad-blockers are causing them to lose money then they’re going to try and step around them.
The rabidly anti-advertising users out there have a few choices: abandon the service, monitor their settings aggressively, or just wait for adblocking services to catch up. Even though Facebook believes that “…putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls…” is a good second prize there will always be people who don’t want to see ads at all. Someone’s going to come up with a solution for those folks soon. Everyone else? They probably won’t even notice the changes beyond more accurate targeted advertising fired at their eyeballs.