Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Much ado about ... nothing new? Facebook's terms go into effect today · 2015-01-30 12:28 by Ben Williams

As of today, Facebook users will automatically be subject to more invasive privacy policies under the updated Terms of Service. This may be frightening, but their moves to individualize advertising – even outside Facebook – are really nothing new. However, it is now official. If you don’t like it, you can either quit Facebook or, along with checking a few settings, just activate Adblock Plus’s privacy features.

But it’s the “officialness” that’s gotten people’s attention in Germany, including the German Bundestag. Just two days ago the Bundestag’s Committee on Legal Affairs met to try and get to the bottom of just what user information would be stored and whether this squared with German privacy laws. This German spotlight probably explains why Facebook included a special set of exceptions only for German users.

Ready or not, here it comes …

Like it or not, if you logged into Facebook today you accepted the new terms. Ads will now be targeted to users based upon their activity outside Facebook, like how they surf the Internet and the apps they use. Also, if you tell Facebook where you are, they will recommend things like restaurants and bars close by.

Facebook wanted to opt you into the new Terms starting January 1, but there were protests against it; so they postponed it till today. Much to their credit they do provide this eminently digestible guide about privacy and this lengthy explanation. You can also opt out of some ad network tracking here.

But … the only way to be 100 percent safe from Facebook’s new advertising conditions is to simply not use the social media site altogether.

We still got your back

For those of us who can’t bear the thought, there is of course Adblock Plus: Adblock Plus allows you to block trackers easily and effectively and stamp out social media (like) buttons – which are like Facebook’s “little birds” sent outside the castle’s gates to bring back information from other sites. Altogether, though, you can’t really accuse Facebook of being shady about this, and the changes they’re enacting aren’t new – incidentally, the solution isn’t new either: clean out your cookies often, adjust your personal Facebook settings and use ABP and other extensions to hide your tracks.

Comment [4]

  1. Karen · 2015-02-02 05:24 · #

    That’s why I use ABP to block Facebook.com—not the ads, the site itself.

    I deactivated my FB account in 2012. I really should delete it entirely, but I’ll do that from a computer at some other location, not my nice new-ish laptop that has never logged on to FB.

    I also use ABP to block the website of a local newspaper where other readers post some offensive (and unmoderated) comments. You think we use this only for ads? Ads are only part of the problem—there are sites I don’t want to see, and sure don’t want them to see me.

  2. netcom · 2015-02-04 03:45 · #

    I still use facebook, the ads not to bad so I don’t use ABP for facebook but yes for the other website.

  3. Calai · 2015-02-06 00:28 · #

    Just installed Ads Block! Wow, what a relief! Back to peaceful browsing like the good ole days some 10 years ago!!

  4. Karen · 2015-02-20 18:04 · #

    Deactivated my FB account three years ago, and plan to kill it altogether. Meanwhile, I am trying to write a custom filter for ABP but it didn’t work.

    I’ve now extended it to the following:
    http://www.facebook.com/*
    http://facebook.com/*
    https://www.facebook.com/*
    https://facebook.com/*

    Haven’t found much helpful on message boards, but am working my way through documentation.

    Has anyone had success writing custom filter(s) to block FB entirely? (Not just ads, the entire site.)

    Thanks.

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