Just a couple of days after Facebook decided to block ad-blocking software, the Internet community has reacted by producing a workaround that enables Adblock Plus, one of the more popular ad-defeating plugins, to counteract Facebook’s actions.
On Tuesday, the social media giant said that it was changing the way that some ads would behave on the platform and that users who employ ad-blocking software will still see them on the Facebook desktop.
“We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software. 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,” Andrew Bosworth, vice president of the ads and business platform at Facebook, said in a blog post.
The privacy and security community reacted quickly and harshly to the change, which many people saw as being directly opposed to users’ interests. Members of the Adblock Plus community were less than enthused, as well.
“It’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless.”
“This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice. But it’s also no reason to overreact: cat-and-mouse games in tech have been around as long as spammers have tried to circumvent spam filters,” Ben Williams wrote on the project’s blog.
On Thursday, Williams published a new filter that users can add to the list in the Adblock Plus plugin that will circumvent Facebook’s actions. Users can add the filter to their browsers manually right now, or wait for a day or so and the filter will be added to the master list automatically, Williams said.
For users, this is a temporary fix. Facebook likely will counter this move with a change of its own. The company’s business depends on its ability to show users ads on a highly targeted basis, so it won’t let this issue drop anytime soon.
“As we wrote in the previous post, this sort of back-and-forth battle between the open source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented; so it’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless — at any time. If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again, etc.,” Williams said.