The battle between advertisements and privacy; publishers and ad-blocking tools; free vs premium has reached a new crescendo after Facebook decided to block adblocking mechanism on their platform.
From now on, every Facebook user who had used ad-blockers such as Adblock Plus will have to accept advertisements on their desktops. The message is pretty simple: If you want to use a free service like Facebook, then you have to accept advertisements.
In a blog post, Facebook said, “Facebook is one of those free services, and ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected.”
However, Facebook has also made sure that privacy of their users is not compromised. To provide more control to the end-users, Facebook has rolled out a stronger ‘Ad preference’ feature, which will allow their users to opt out of certain advertisements categories which they don’t like.
It is a well known fact that certain adblocking companies accept money from publishers to show advertisements and Facebook found it wrong. So, instead of paying money to such adblocking tools, they have decided to block them on their platform, and give the control to end-user when it comes to viewing ads.
They said, “Some ad blocking companies accept money in exchange for showing ads that they previously blocked — a practice that is at best confusing to people and that reduces the funding needed to support the journalism and other free services that we enjoy on the web.”
How Will Facebook Block Ad blockers?
Ad Blocking tools identify special tags, within HTML content to determine whether a block of code is an advertisement or organic content.
To bypass this mechanism, Facebook will now make their advertisements indistinguishable from organic content; which means that the code of their ads will no longer contain special tags, characters which can be identified by ad blocking tools.
From available reports, it seems that this new anti ad-blocker initiative from Facebook would be implemented only on desktop ads to start with.
In layman terms, adblocking is now useless on Facebook as they are completely bypassing the very mechanism which blocks ads.
Why Facebook Is Blocking Adblockers?
Advertisement is, ofcourse, one of the biggest revenue pullers for free services like Facebook and for thousands and thousands of content creators and publishers.
However, Facebook was intrigued when they found that 200 million Internet users all over the world use ad blocking tools actively to block advertisements. Facebook asked research company Ipsos to investigate why Internet users block ads in the first place.
As per the findings of Ipsos: “The main reasons cited for using ad blockers include avoiding disruptive ads (69%), ads that slow down their browsing experience (58%) and security / malware risks (56%).”
Now, as privacy isn’t the main concern here, Facebook decided that if they can make advertisements non-interruptive, secure and fast, then their users won’t complain.
In their blog post, Facebook said, “We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software.”, adding, “As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”
Adblock Plus Terms It ‘Anti-User’
Adblock Plus, which is considered as one of the largest and widely used ad-blocking software has termed Facebook’s decision as ‘anti-user’. In a blog post published after Facebook’s decided to bypass adblockers, they said, “This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice.”
They have described this step as part of a ‘cat and mouse’ game, and have declared that Facebook’s latest salvo clearly showcases that ad-blocking is big, and it has reached a critical mass.
Their blog post said, “If nothing else, all this attention from Facebook shows that ad blocking has finally made the big time. We’re ready for our close up..”
We will keep you updated as more details come in.
"Facebook Comes to Rescue of Advertisers & Publishers; Will Block Ad-Blockers by Default!",