Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Oh well, looks like Facebook just got all anti-user · 2016-08-09 17:52 by Ben Williams

Earlier today Facebook announced that it would start trying to circumvent users with ad-blocking software and show them ads. 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.

But you kind of have to wonder about the thinking that went into this decision. I mean, let’s also not forget something their blog post said: “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads.” So if that’s true, Facebook apparently agrees that users have a good reason for using ad-blocking software … but yet those users shouldn’t be given the power to decide what they want to block themselves?

In any case, it’s hard to imagine Facebook or the brands that are being advertised on its site getting any sort of value for their ad dollar here: publishers (like Facebook) alienate their audience and advertisers (the brands) allow their cherished brand name to be shoved down people’s throats. Yikes.

So why keep wasting our time on cat-and-mouse games that are a decade old? Wouldn’t it be better to address users (like all of you!) who have chosen to block traditional ads on their own terms? That is to say, don’t you want to be consulted here?

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 …

Comment [93]

  1. E · 2016-08-09 18:18 · #

    They are such idiots at farcebook. This will be a fun challenge. I am sure we’ll continue to be able to block all their ad drivel, no problem.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Ha! Thanks for the support!

  2. anon · 2016-08-09 20:35 · #

    Generally speaking, if a product is free, then YOU are the product. Think about what FBook is SELLING.

  3. Frodo · 2016-08-09 21:39 · #

    I use AdBlock Plus in all my installations because, in very very large part, of all those malware filled adverts that exist on the net. As a technician, removing ads is one of the easiest ways to prevent infection, and if Facebook is serious about this, I may choose to limit my Facebook time to Opera Mini

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Yeah, I feel like a lot of people may react the same way.

  4. JL · 2016-08-09 22:00 · #

    And this is why I stopped using Facebook. Most kids now-a-days (yes just saying this makes me old) use snapchat and the like. Love Ad Block. They will not circumvent you for long. The more they fight the more we win this. Shut down the voices!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Yeah, I’m expecting a speedy workaround (as soon as FB implements it that is).

  5. Kyle · 2016-08-09 22:08 · #

    I feel like the ‘malware’ in ads scare tactic is old and completely invalid nowadays. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that happening to someone who keeps their software up to date (unless you wander around shady site of course).

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Well, malvertising was reportedly up 260 percent from the first half of 2014 to the same period in 2015 and big name sites like the New York Times and BBC have accidentally served it; so I don’t think it’s that overblown at all actually.

  6. brent · 2016-08-09 22:27 · #

    > This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice.

    I think you clearly know that what you’re saying here doesn’t make much sense. From what I just read on WSJ your company takes money from advertisers to display ads on other peoples websites. How is that in the best interest of the users? If the ads generate revenue for AdBlockPlus it’s in the users best interest but not for the actual content creator? That is some pretty messed up logic.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey Brent,
    Nope, you can turn off the Acceptable Ads initiative any time you want, and 90 percent of the companies on it don’t pay anything. All ads on it have to meet these criteria, and the biggest ones who pay do so bc whitelisting them is more work for us.

    So … that’s how whitelisting works. If you don’t like it, turn it off. Or just whitelist some sites. Whatever. Up to you. In FB’s story, on the contrary, you still have to see the ads even if you can “choose” to block certain brands — and after you’ve chosen to use an ad blocker. That’s not choice IMHO.

  7. Para · 2016-08-09 22:42 · #

    Personally, I say Facebook has every right to block ad-blockers, just like how users have every right to use ad-blockers in the first place.

    Everyone should stop lashing out on Facebook for being “anti-user,” because it is merely a matter of competition and revenue.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Fair enough. I’m of course on the other side of things, but I getcha.

  8. Para · 2016-08-09 22:43 · #

    Also I applaud the people ad Adblock Plus who are willing to take the challenge. If the competition goes back and forth, so be it!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Totally! I do agree with that!

  9. c · 2016-08-09 22:44 · #

    I have never donated money for free software like AdBlock before, I think I will start now though. Stop the tracking, stop invading privacy. Keep up the good fight!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the support! Also, we love donations but bear in mind that we are a company, not a nonprofit.

  10. Tom Jones · 2016-08-09 22:47 · #

    In response to Brent (#6):

    This is not a statement against websites or companies using advertising. It is in regard to those parties preventing users from being able to block ads they do not wish to view. I imagine that Adblock Plus ads, wherever they appear, are entirely blockable via Adblock. Therefore the user retains choice.

    The logical rub comes in the form of whether forcing someone to view an ad they don’t want to see (and therefore are not going to be positively affected b) is a wise/just/useful/reasonable business model.

  11. Jim Overturf · 2016-08-09 22:58 · #

    If Facebook forces me to see ads, I will NOT do business with any company that places an ad on Facebook. And I will severely curtail my use of Facebook. Go get em, Adblockplus.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Appreciate the support!

  12. Frank Starling · 2016-08-09 23:10 · #

    I applaud this move by Facebook. It costs money to make content available. People who want the content for free – and the vast majority of AdBlock users fall in this category – just make it more expensive (more ads, pay walls) for those of us who are willing to see ads.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with freedom. No one is forcing anyone to view anything. If Facebook doesn’t let you view their content without seeing ads, then you can feel free to avoid Facebook.

    Hopefully Google will be forced to go full scale war against ad blockers in order to compete with Facebook.

    People keep saying that publishers should find a new way to get revenue and that ads are going to go away, but the fact is, people are generally unwilling to donate, subscribe, etc. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. People who block ads, by and large, are just riding the backs of the others who watch the ads.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    But there has to be a middle way, right? Isn’t it better to compromise rather than to force?

  13. Kris Orsborn · 2016-08-09 23:59 · #

    I understand that ads pay the bills on FB, just like TV and radio (my age is showing). But I finally installed adblocker because of really intrusive moving ads that flicker on the edge of the screen, actually making me seasick. Ditto on the NYT website (where I pay for a subscription!), TV commercial like ads with sound would pop up while I’m trying to read the paper. So, if sites would just stick to non-moving, silent ads, I’d let them through. Heck, I might even click on one!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    That’s kind of the idea behind the Acceptable Ads initiative. i.e ads don’t have to be that bad.

  14. FlyWww · 2016-08-10 00:17 · #

    Keep up the good work Adblock Plus.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks!

  15. Tom · 2016-08-10 00:39 · #

    Facebook and other sites provide free services – paid for by advertising!

    Blocking ads just takes away money the companies deserve for their work. If you don’t like the ads – don’t use the service. You don’t have any rights to use a free advertising supported service if you block the ads

    You have NO about the ads on a site – get used to them – or don’t use the site showing them.

    Why not setup an ad-free web hosting company – see how many people are willing to offer sites/services without the ability to earn an income. See how long staff and servers work with no income.

    I hope google ads go with embedded ads next – adblocking hurts smaller websites too, not just big players like Facebook.

    If adblocking was really about making ads safer and less spammy – the whitelist of advertisers would be FREE!! (What? You need money to maintain a list of advertisers, but site owners can’t show ads to pay for staff and hosting costs?)

    This proves that it’s all about Adblock making money – and taking it publishers pockets!!

    Well done Facebook – fight back for the money you deserve – and these adblocking companies have taken from you.

    Better yet – add to your terms that ads have to be shown to use the service – then sue the adblocking companies for providing the tools to remove the ads (like movie companies do to the torrent sites)

    Long live ads!! The more spammy, flashy and noisy the better!

  16. Nancy L · 2016-08-10 00:49 · #

    I have been an avid and rabid user for the decade.

    I cannot imagine a moment when I have to use the i’net without adblocking privileges, although when I repeatedly had to reinstall many corrupted Windows 10 OS very recently, that is exactly what I endured for as short a time as possible. (In addition to suffering ads and interminable page loading times until I’m minimally restored, I ended up with my first virus ever and had to reinstall Win10 yet again. I had downloaded ABP when I got the virus – an interesting story since I am rarely exposed and almost never vulnerable. BUT, I recently finished Marc Goodman’s book, Future Crimes, so I am convinced that something he described in his book happened to me. I always come here for the download – your home page – and experienced something else.)

    At any rate, I went to FB to tell them that when I am asked to choose between ABP and anybody else, you always win. I have to disagree with the people who allow a little sympathy to the companies like FB who have to make their money selling advertising (poor babies). These tech giants are in the Big Data business. They are selling us, not ads. It’s pure and simple; they are evil.

    I have supported you in any way that I can, and it’s usually verbal. Choosing a different kind of advertising when I have had the luxury of choosing none, is not a choice. People don’t seem to understand the other sides to adverts, and I don’t mean the selling space for $$ part.

    Ads offend me. Being tagged as a consumer who cannot go a moment without thinking of the next piece of junk I simply must buy brands me as a gobbler of precious resources, and I am not. I live long enough to see good triumph over evil some of the time. I remain loyal and committed to Adblock Plus. Life is so much more beautiful when you get to make it and keep it SIMPLE. I’ve got your back.

    Let the games begin.

    As always, thank you for the best little program in the online world.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for using, Nancy!

  17. Garrett · 2016-08-10 01:25 · #

    Edit your firewall, have it block most known advertisement sites. Win-win.

  18. Garrett · 2016-08-10 01:29 · #

    Also, how much of an overall donation or support would you need from customers to circumvent their circumvention in a timely manner?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey Garrett,
    It’s not really about donations, just about the open source community finding a solution … which I’m confident they will very soon!

  19. WIHAI · 2016-08-10 01:30 · #

    (12):
    If users don’t want to view ads, and a site forces them to view ads, then a good portion of those users certainly will stop using that site. I, for one, am definitely included within this portion of users. However, if a site I would like to support has unintrusive ads which don’t bother me, then I’m quite likely to disable ABP on that site to support them with ad revenue. Wanting Google to go full-scale war against ad blocking programs is simply absurd, though. The moment they did, they’d receive an incredible amount of backlash from a huge group of people. If users allow them to block perfectly legal programs and services whose morals aren’t even too shady, then they may take that liberty to start banning any other thing that hurts their revenue, regardless of its utility or legality. I know that I certainly would boycott any company that did that.

    (15):
    You start off sounding sincere, but I’m convinced you’re a Poe thanks to that last line you wrote. That’s just ridiculous. And most of these companies, especially the bigger ones, don’t make their money through advertising. They, as (16) said, are making money by selling their users’ data (data of which Facebook certainly has quite a bit). And your idea that companies would be able to sue ad blocking service providers is totally laughable in is outright impossibility. Ad blockers are under absolutely no obligation whatsoever to cater to the companies which utilize advertisements. Their terms aren’t binding to them in the slightest, not the least because the ad block providers aren’t even using the sites. That would be like if I set up a site called ‘freinds’ which had terms specifying that spellcheckers weren’t allowed because it would fix searches of freinds to friends, thus hurting my site’s popularity. It’s just stupid, and would be thrown out of court immediately; in fact, ad block providers could probably counter sue due to the chilling effect in software design these lawsuits would cause, as well as the unbased costs they would inflict upon these service providers. It just won’t happen.

    To make a long story short: Ad blockers are here to stay because any attempts to take them out will be quickly and easily overcome, and the companies that depend on ad revenue to function will quickly lose out to those who innovate in order to find ways to earn money without pissing off their userbase.

  20. Shy · 2016-08-10 01:30 · #

    I’m glad Facebook is putting ad blocking on the agenda.

    And I’m glad they are going to lose so many users because of this bonehead move, including yours truly.

    Every website I’ve had the displeasure of finding out makes use of anti-ABP solutions receives 0 traffic and the firmest negative reviews from me whenever it is mentioned.

    There are alternatives to every site that tries to push ads down your eye sockets to increase their revenue. I strongly urge everyone who reads this to:
    1. Always use ABP.
    2. Never use a site that instructs you to turn off ABP.
    3. Never use a site that instructs you to whitelist them in ABP.

    My life has been better for following that simple ruleset. Content is everywhere, and ads shouldn’t be. So put in a good word for the good folks at ABP whenever it’s brought up for helping to make our lives mean more than some marketing department’s bottom line.

    Kudos to ABP! :)

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks!

  21. Garrett · 2016-08-10 01:37 · #

    Sorry for another post but if you could release your domain blocking list until your software can handle blocking then we can manually add them to firewall rules to block or simply edit Hosts file and again, problem solved. F facebook for this crap. Fight back! There are ways around their oppression!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Do you mean the main blocking list? It’s called EasyList. Their website is available here and the list itself is here.

  22. Kiltreiser · 2016-08-10 01:37 · #

    To those complaining about ad-blocking and saying that users just want a free ride, remember that you pay to use the internet. Every ad which is displayed chews up your bandwidth, and the increasing size of ads means more disappears. Seeing as I’m the one footing the bill for access, I’ll choose which content I view. And let’s not forget the huge amount of advertising which contains malware.

    If you are at all aware of how the internet works then ad-blocking simply makes sense. It’s rather foolish not to use it and will remain so until all sites carrying ads A) limit their size and B) are held legally responsible for any and all malware carried in the ads they show.

    Thanks for providing an essential service Ad-block. Much appreciated.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for using ABP.

  23. Nancy L · 2016-08-10 01:39 · #

    To Brent, some people agree with you. I don’t.
    ABP goes after certain companies, certain ads, and certain sized ads. We are not talking about a level playing field anywhere. Not between FB and its users, not between FB and its advertisers, and certainly not between ABP and FB.

    The best interest of users is that they can decide to block all ads or allow some of the advertising that Adblock has allowed in. I trust their model, but I still block all ads. My choice.

    Tom, Frank Starling,

    When I occasionally visit Forbes, they politely ask me to turn off my adblocker (Adblock Plus) to view their content and then they thank me for doing so.

    I am not freeloading. You cannot shame or blame me for the cost of anything. Either respect people’s rights to opt in or out or get realistic. They have ads in places ads don’t belong – on school campuses and in bathrooms. In every nook, cranny, and corner. If they can make a decent product that people want/need, they should survive on the merits, instead of being everywhere all the time.

    These corporations want to track your little children and tag you and videotape you and watch and listen and tap and spy. Is nothing sacred? They want to cultivate brand loyalty from cradle to grave. Earn it, you bastards.

    Do I need your sugary drink or fat-laden cakes, or processed foods? Do my children, or my children’s children?

    Stop polluting the planet and stop trying to make Consumerism a good thing.

    People should pay for content. Pay your local newspaper to keep them online. Pay the great journalists to keep them reporting. If you think that I am convinced to buy something I don’t want or need (or even think I want or need) because some advertiser just showed me a 15-second spot, then you are just the consumer whom they target. They don’t need me; I resist advertising, whether in the form of commercials or television.

    If Facebook will give me back my privacy for a fee, I will gladly pay them to correspond with old friends and acquaintances from high school.

    Hopefully Google will… essentially crush adblockers. Are you kidding? Google is not in competition with Facebook. They are not competing for the same revenue and viewers. They both have monopolies but little need to worry about anti-trust laws because they have friends in Washington. You want to pick on Adblock Plus? Power to the PEOPLE, dude. Besides, these corporations are in the Data Brokering business.

  24. Donna Paine · 2016-08-10 01:53 · #

    As one of the millions of users who have no financial choice of a better, bigger, faster computer and/or ISP service, these intrusive ads cause considerable frustration and then anger. With these slow services and old machines, pages load and scroll slow enough as it is, and ads, especially video ads, tend to cause some pages to be completely unresponsive to the point where they are not even accessible. I despise those ads, and will refuse to do business in any way with the companies who produce those content-heavy, in-your-face, obtrusive and irritating ads. Hello negative income.

  25. Frank Starling · 2016-08-10 01:54 · #

    “So, if sites would just stick to non-moving, silent ads, I’d let them through. Heck, I might even click on one!”

    @Kris Orsborn

    I hear you. Really I do. But the problem with those non-moving, silent ads is that they don’t work. People don’t pay them any attention.

    The “Acceptable Ads” movement is a step in the right direction, but it’s too strict to be realistic. It eliminates ad effectiveness.

    Most reasonable people can agree that ads should not:

    -Pop up
    -Expand on their own
    -Auto-play music

    But to expect ads to have no movement or animation of any kind basically defeats the purpose of advertising.

    I make my living as a physician, but I have a blog that has a pretty good readership. I do it for fun and interest, but I don’t want to lose money on it. Just want to break even. To pay for my server costs, I have Adsense ads – one in the header and one in the footer.

    If I limit those Adsense ads to static image and text ads, 90% of the earnings are lost, and I am paying for my blog out of my pocket. As soon as I allow movement (no popups, no audio), the revenue is back, and my hobby pays for itself. Have tried getting rid of ads and asking for donations. Very, very few people even willing to pay $5 per year despite the fact that I have thousands of people who take time to read my stuff every day.

    Bottom line is that if I make my ads compliant to be included as Acceptable Ads, they almost completely stop earning money. I go from $10 per day to $1 per day. Companies like Google pay Adblock Plus for their ads to be considered “Acceptable”, and as a result of these payments, they don’t have to meet the same unrealistic standards (no animation or movement) that I and other “small fries” have to meet.

    I am not going to share my real name or site here because it seems to me that some people are really extremists when it comes to ad blocking, and I don’t want to be targeted by them. But everything I said here is 100% fact.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey Frank, appreciate the earnest chat, but I have to correct you on something important: no one pays to bypass the criteria. Nobody. See this page for a complete explanation and the criteria.

    Don’t believe me? I invite you to find an ad on this page, where we list every whitelisted one, that doesn’t meet the criteria. If companies pay, they first have to meet the criteria.

    Also, if you’re interested in whitelisting, you don’t have to whitelist ALL your ads. Just do one that may fit the criteria. Contact us, we’re here :)

  26. routehero · 2016-08-10 02:48 · #

    Too all the anti-ad folks: if you really are dogmatic in your belief, then switch to uBlock Origin. It’s a technically superior plugin — uses less resources, is faster, and is not corrupted by Acceptable Ads.

    Acceptable Ads is a way for EyeO/Adblock Plus (and, arguably, Easylist authors) to profit from all ad-backed content published on the web.

    The Easylist authors have long been financially supported by EyeO/Adblock Plus. They paid for the previous infrastructure, hosted forums for them.

    One of the primary Easylist authors, for his part, has been writing the majority of the Acceptable Ads whitelisting rules, the rules that help pad the pocket of Ben Williams and friends.

    Easylist authors have control over the viewership of 20% globally. In some countries, we have seen far higher adoption rates. Yet this group of 3 individuals is supposedly working every single day, without recompenses, helping crusade against Internet Advertisement.

    3 people quietly censor the internet, using their own judgement, breaking countless sites, and demanding proof for problems that they create to be fixed.

    https://forums.lanik.us/viewforum.php?f=62

    Should those 3 people really be able to prevent you from seeing content? What if Easylist decides to censor things they don’t agree with morally? How would you know?

    If the advertisements are so bad, then it would make far more sense for governments to regulate the industry.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    You work for an ad company, don’t you? ;) C’mon, don’t lie …

    Fine that you don’t like Acceptable Ads, but don’t lie about it: we don’t make any bones about how we’re financed or why. Besides, why not just turn Acceptable Ads off? And I gotta say … seriously, you’re calling for the government to regulate the internet? What could ever go wrong?

  27. Chris Meadows · 2016-08-10 03:15 · #

    As I noted over here, I can’t imagine this state of affairs will last very long. Ad-block developers have a huge incentive to route around this. And they will; probably within days.

    For example, it seems like it should be simple enough to add a right-mouse-button context-menu option, “Tag element as ad,” that people can use when they encounter an ad in their Facebook. Aggregate all those tags back to the server, and push out blocks for any image that’s been tagged by more than X number of users. Instant crowdsourced image analysis.

  28. Frank Starling · 2016-08-10 03:34 · #

    “I strongly urge everyone who reads this to:
    1. Always use ABP.
    2. Never use a site that instructs you to turn off ABP.
    3. Never use a site that instructs you to whitelist them in ABP.”

    @Shy

    If everyone took your advice, then the only sites you’d be able to continue to enjoy are the ones which either 1) required you to pay directly, 2) had some other revenue stream, or 3) didn’t want to make money.

    Very few sites are #2 or #3, and I doubt you are ready to pony up for #1 on all the sites you currently enjoy.

  29. T K · 2016-08-10 03:40 · #

    I never used adblocker on Facebook until I started getting adds in my newsfeed. If those come back with this new change I may stop using it again. But then again, I’m the kind of person who keeps my newsfeed set to most recent because I actually try to use facebook to keep connected with my friends and colleagues.

  30. Frank Starling · 2016-08-10 03:40 · #

    “People should pay for content. Pay your local newspaper to keep them online. Pay the great journalists to keep them reporting.”

    @Nancy

    If you are willing to do this, you are part of a very small minority of people who are. I’m in that very small minority too. I pay for the ad free option on several blogs and media services. I also buy books at my local bookstore despite prices which are much higher than Amazon because I like having a local bookstore. Ditto for my local camera store.

    Most people aren’t willing to pay for much of anything on the internet when they can get it for free because other people are paying for it by watching ads.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    @Nancy, too.

    Just wondering, but do you know about our Flattr Plus project? Could be interesting for you — it’s for people who want to fund the content they love but may also hate ads.

  31. Loraine Fraser · 2016-08-10 04:57 · #

    Reply to: 15. Tom · 2016-08-10 00:39 – FB is taking more from us than we are getting, unless of course you’ve no problem with random pop-up, full-volume, Ads relating to places you’ve been in the vicinity of in the previous 24 hours or so. Personally, this creeps me out because I don’t know if it’s my cell-phone network card or the GPS on my dash-cam that’s giving up the data on the places like to eat, shop and play. It’s called GeoFencing, and I cannot help but wonder if FB and Google are trying desperately to catch up with PokemonGo can right now.

  32. Deborah · 2016-08-10 05:21 · #

    I noticed this right away today when ads started popping up all over my Facebook Newsfeeds, which is really annoying to me. I thought perhaps AdBlock wasn’t working for Firefox so I deleted it and started over. Still didn’t help so I switched to AdBlocker Ultimate…to no avail. Hopefully these adblock software companies figure it out and get ahead of the game soon.

  33. Frank Starling · 2016-08-10 06:24 · #

    Last comment from me.

    I think it’s absurd that ABP is trying to claim the moral high ground vs FB when ABP is running a flagrant protection racket, charging huge sums to companies like Google to consider their ads “Acceptable”. Please!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    See my comment above.

  34. bluonek · 2016-08-10 07:24 · #

    While kudos to Adblock Plus for assisting users who continue to use FB, I must say, stop supporting such a terrible product and close your FB account. WTF is wrong with you people?

  35. S.F. · 2016-08-10 07:28 · #

    It’s unfortunate that the “cat and mouse” games have to continue causing more work in a misguided direction.
    What FB should be worried about is why are users blocking the ads and is there a middle ground that works better.
    But no, they are more concerned about making more revenue, not the people/users they make their money from already.

    FB isn’t a necessary site, it’s filled with the same inspirational pics and click bait sites, if they make it too difficult to stop ads, I’ll just stop using FB.

  36. anon2 · 2016-08-10 09:23 · #

    <<anon · 2016-08-09 20:35 · #

    Generally speaking, if a product is free, then YOU are the product. Think about what FBook is SELLING.>>

    Is’nt adblock plus free ?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Yup, totally free. You can choose to “pay” with your attention by viewing Acceptable Ads that meet our criteria for better ads. Here’s how we monetize and why if you’re interested.

    Or you can turn off Acceptable Ads if you think it’s a shit idea, and, well, not pay with attention, money, bartering, etc.

  37. Jack J. · 2016-08-10 09:53 · #

    To everyone (including Facebook) bashing on ABP for showing ads in exchange of money, remember one very simple thing that makes the whole difference: You can disable it.

    By default ABP has a whitelist which allows ads FROM CERTAIN NETWORKS and this list can be disabled, giving users the ability to block all ads everywhere they want.

    Want to side with Facebook and all those self-entitled online news services that turned into viral and cat blogs? Get back at me when they decide to give an option for their users to not be vulnerable to more scams and malware that constantly goes through their screening process (if there’s any at all).

    You all kept riding on the wave of ignorant that don’t know better than not to click on dangerous advertisements, massive pop-up spams, page lockups with alert boxes, etc. Now that you are finally seeing the consequences of your actions in significant numbers you still keep trying to do what you have always been doing, shoving even more now, instead of fixing the problem at its source.

    You know what will happen? More users will start using adblock extensions. One day you will wake up and understand that the fundamental solution was on your hands the whole time, you just decided to kept being greedy the entire time.

  38. Oly · 2016-08-10 10:10 · #

    I’ve been a NYT reader for years – all employees at my job receive the digital version free of charge by some enterprise agreement with my company. We receive the ads, too, and I make liberal use of AdBlockPlus to get rid of them. I also block Flash. I block anything that distracts from the text/images of a traditional newspaper. If NYT finds a way to work around ABP I will simply find another source of news. They already use my data, track my location, and all sorts of things to monetize my readership. I don’t owe them a penny more. So if this is potentially good-bye, NYT, so be it.

  39. Matti · 2016-08-10 12:34 · #

    Hi guys

    Since Facebook is circumventing ad Block users, would it be possible to block the ads by name? I mean, they’ll probably make there content indistinguisable from ads by changing it’s nature or something like that. If we made an extention that blocks content based on the name of the advertiser we’ve won this round. If I was in IT myself I would make it myself though

  40. Thomas Huynh · 2016-08-10 12:55 · #

    Hi Ben,

    You should dedicate a team of your best programmers to combat Facebook’s new decision here. You can’t control what they do but you can certainly control what you do. Keep up the great work!

    Thomas

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thomas,
    Thanks, there are people much smarter than me working on it in our open source community. I think it will go quickly.

  41. MS · 2016-08-10 12:58 · #

    Advertisers seem to think, that they need to jump into my way all the time: “Hey! YOU! Hear that sound? Disturbing, eh? Yeah, now I got your attention! Look at me! Here! That’s right, you can’t see the content until you click me… haha! Gotcha!”

    Why is that disturbing? Well, I have ADS and I’m somewhere in the Asperger spectrum. Something like a flashing, blinking, bleeping ad isn’t just “a little bit annoying” or “something you need to get used to”. In my case, It can cause severe cognitive disturbance – to the point of feeling really sick or even worse – think of somebody constantly poking you in the side while you’re trying to focus on something. Could you get used to that? To somebody like me, blocking ads isn’t about preventing companies from making money – it’s self defense.

    So – Facebook wants to go to war with AdBlock services. Ok, that’s not a big loss, since I stopped using Facebook a long time ago for various other reasons.

    BUT… let’s assume they find a way to circumvent AdBlockers. If this really works (I seriously doubt that), they’re going to sell the technology to other companies. And my internet will be flooded with jumping, flashing, noisy, distracting bullshit again… which basically means, I would be unable to use it.

    I hope this is never going to happen, so – keep up the good work & thanks for giving me some peace.

    As a sidenote, I had ADP disabled on some of my favourite sites lately, and I almost did not even noticed it was disabled, because their ads were simple pictures, no movement, no nothing. Seriously, I can live with THAT

  42. narcolepticinsomniac · 2016-08-10 13:11 · #

    ABP making money off of acceptable ads is a necessary evil. The people who maintain the lists should be compensated. It’s not difficult work, but it’s tedious and annoying.

    I prefer Ublock, but you can turn off acceptable ads in ABP if you want. The fact is, none of these extensions do anything without the lists, and ABP is their sponsor. I hope the maintainers are getting their fair share.

  43. me · 2016-08-10 13:38 · #

    Between ABP and FB sure we trust … Adblock plus.

  44. routehero · 2016-08-10 13:48 · #

    Acceptable Ads is not a necessary evil.

    uBlock Origin does not participate in Acceptable Ads. It’s faster and more effective than Adblock Plus.

    https://easylist.to/pages/about.html

    MonztA, one of the primary authors of Easylist, also creates most of the rules for Acceptable Ads:

    https://hg.adblockplus.org/exceptionrules/shortlog

    What would stop EyeO from purposely breaking a site in Easylist, via MonztA, getting payment via Acceptable Ads and having him whitelist the site in Acceptable Ads?

    This entire workflow is broken and corrupt. Regulations should be legislated by elected authorities.

    We shouldn’t allow 3 people to censor the internet.

  45. Tom · 2016-08-10 14:25 · #

    I’m fine with uBlock, but here is something like a discussion. As long as the ads weren’t blocked, I write this to alle the advertisers I see:

    hi, i have seen an ad on facebook from your company although i’m using an ad-blocker. as you and facebook make me feel uncomfortable, i won’t buy anything from you or do any business with you. don’t pay facebook for ads that harass me. if i see another ad from you in my stream i will add your domain to my hosts file and link it to 127.0.0.1.

  46. CE · 2016-08-10 14:40 · #

    One of the reasons for ad blocking is to reduce the amount of data use by users. Facebook and other content sites are missing the boat by forcing ads on people or asking them to pay for a subscription when service providers have been implementing data caps.

    Ad blocking is one way to reduce data use. If Comcast and AT&T place limits on data use, then users will not have any other choice but to conserve data in any way they can.

    If content providers are whining that they cannot make money, then they really need to look at data caps as a serious problem for both mobile and desktop.

    Perhaps if ads didn’t count towards data caps, then we may be more likely to tolerate them. As long as they are not completely annoying like autoplay video ads.

    I do not feel bad at all by blocking ads and saving data since Comcast, AT&T, and the like want to cap data for users.

  47. V · 2016-08-10 14:46 · #

    Agreed, I hate Facebook and all that its become. If they do this it will limit my already weak login rate and I also will refuse to click on any ad whatsoever. If it so happens that I see something interesting, ill literally go out of my way to open up a new tab and search it up myself.

  48. Aaron · 2016-08-10 14:57 · #

    I am not a FB user. I’m actually one of the few that has never been. But I sell online advertising. Actually I have sold just about all forms of advertising.
    But to my point.
    FB is claiming that we need to pay for content… Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the users of FB providing the content? Shouldn’t FB be paying the providers of said content?
    I understand that the WSJ, NYT or NBC would require advertising. They provide the content. They pay their journalists. FB forces their journalists to view unwanted advertising.

  49. Will Read · 2016-08-10 17:25 · #

    Facebook Purity has already solved the issue mentioned in this post& with their Beta update. Since using FBP I have not had any problems.

    I have included their link above.

    As FBP is an ad blocking service I won’t be surprised if Adlbock removes this comment though it is very much related to this blog post. Cheers.

  50. Michael · 2016-08-10 17:38 · #

    Another way to block ads, is by updating your HOSTS file, see http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

  51. Michael · 2016-08-10 18:00 · #

    Three words for Facebook, “Bring It On!”. This battle has been played out for over a decade, guess who’s still standing? Begins with “A”. If Google and Facebook are facing money problems, ask uncle NSA for a raise. All bets are off when websites start sending cryptolocker .

    I’m not responsible for your broken business model. Business model built upon p******* off the user.

    Adblock Plus 4 Life!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks, Michael, really appreciate the support. And I agree with you: why shouldn’t the open source community once again win this cat-and-mouse game?

  52. mike c · 2016-08-10 18:11 · #

    fbpurity.com blocks FB ads. Adblock Plus has been allowing too many ads for my liking lately, i imagine this is because adblockis also made by the same people that are connected to several ad companies. Unsurprisingly their ads aren’t blocked with the AdBlock Plus default settings. changing to another solution here today.. i came to this page because i wanted to see what adblock had to say about the situation and i guess they are bending over and taking it from FB.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Lovely image, thanks!

  53. Michael · 2016-08-10 18:40 · #

    A message to the Ublock origin spammers. Acting like Bible sales men isn’t going to win you new users.
    A chimp could easily uncheck the Acceptable ads box.

    How low can you go, spamming on a Adblock Plus page.

  54. Michael · 2016-08-10 19:20 · #

    Forgive me for going off topic. Thank you Ben Williams and Adblock Plus team for creating this wonderful product.

    Indeed, installing Adblock Plus felt like He-Man’s battle cry, “By The Power Of Greyskull”. That Power has protected my devices since 2006. Keep up the good work guys.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Awesome, love the He-Man metaphor. Actually, I use that in presentations I give about ABP, no shit :)

  55. Norman · 2016-08-10 21:16 · #

    Brands should be focused on creatina contente for Facebook instrad of throwing ads on People. But then they’d have to think…

  56. chrstn · 2016-08-10 22:14 · #

    If the product was any good, they wouldn’t need to advertise!

    Facebook does not need to make any more money, its not like they produce anything. It is immoral for them to try and make money by selling me, their customer.

  57. Amin Sabet · 2016-08-10 22:21 · #

    From where I stand, the Acceptable Ads program is not being managed fairly.

    I applied in March 2015. Received a response and some questions in October 2015. I replied to those questions right away. Now 10 months have passed, and I’ve heard nothing.

    How many sites actually get approved? Based on the forum Ben Williams linked above, it looks like maybe a few hundred sites get approved. I’m guessing the number that apply while meeting the criteria is far, far higher than that. But while we small fries wait indefinitely, the big players get to pay their way onto the list.

    And the idea that they are paying because they create more work strikes me as highly disingenuous. The number I read was 30% of additional ad revenues. No way it takes that much work to whitelist.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Amin,
    Sorry about the bad customer service. Please send an email to press@eyeo.com, and I’ll make sure you get back in touch with our team. If your ads meet our criteria, or if you can make adjustments to them to get them to meet the criteria, should they be lacking, whitelisting them should not be an issue.

  58. Tommaso Paradisi · 2016-08-10 23:19 · #

    How are Facebook’s ads annoying to users? They are stuck in the right side of the page, with specific and fixed dimensions, no audio and no video. If those ads need to be blocked then I’d really like to know which types don’t.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Good question. But they do also have auto-playing video, which according to a lot of research, including some we’ve commissioned, is one of the most annoying formats.

    But at the root of your question is something more important that is easy to confuse: whitelisting is a process where we work with people to get their ads into Acceptable Ads standards. Unfortunately, there is no bot that can just “see” that certain ads meet the criteria and then whitelist them automatically. We have to go through that process with every whitelisting partner. While that is tedious it also ensures that the standards are upheld.

  59. Jack J. · 2016-08-11 00:22 · #

    @Tommaso Paradisi #58

    Facebook has also been injecting ads along with timeline posts, in case you haven’t noticed already. They aren’t just on the sidebar, they are also mixed inside your timeline and they are just like any friend’s post which makes it even worse, disguised ads.

    Those are the types of ads that need to be blocked, not the passive static sidebar ones.

  60. Brian · 2016-08-11 00:38 · #

    I despise advertising, I love ABP! I pray you guys figure this out… Thanks for the great S/W ABP!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks you!

  61. Eric · 2016-08-11 01:07 · #

    The only sad thing in this story is that it shows how long it will take for a company like Facebook soon to be irrelevant in the same way Microsoft is to the general public these days.

    There is something inherently wrong with how this all works for a company with an old outdated product to be able to survive for so long because of its reserves somehow.

    Let’s face it, Facebook is a has been company and this move on Adblock is a sure sign of it all.

  62. Gene Wirchenko · 2016-08-11 01:15 · #

    ABP, I use NoScript myself, and that seems to be enough for me. If I need you later, I know where to find you.

    I am not anti-ad, but I am very anti-stupid-ad.

    Dear Marketing and Sales Folk: I do not want to see the same ad over and over. Or be presented ads that are totally not applicable to me. Or be presented an ad with no skip option. Or be presented a loud ad. Or be presented an ad with a running time of just over an hour; they did, at least, have a skip option. If you peddle using stupid ads, better hope that I do not remember your company’s name.

    Keep up the good fight, ABP.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the support!

  63. Margaret L · 2016-08-11 01:17 · #

    What I have been seeing on Facebook is a lot of “subliminal” ads… one in particular is a small newspaper-like article about Donald Trump, I can’t tell pro or con, but seems like it probably is PRO… Also for handbags, decorative cushions and the like. They flash on long enough for you to see it, then BOOM! it’s gone! Spooky…. as I would consider subliminal advertising as dangerous (perhaps more..) than malware! That would fall under the category of “attempting to influence an election.”

  64. fusebox · 2016-08-11 01:22 · #

    Just tell me how do I donate to you guys to help tackle this FB Big brother shit!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Best thing is to contribute by adding code or by writing filters. More on both those here.

    Appreciate the gumption!

  65. Robyn · 2016-08-11 04:35 · #

    I LOVE adblock plus, but this last Facebook move has so turned me off. If I did not use it to keep track of family and the numerous FB only friends I have made through the years, I would kiss it goodbye. If I wanted to object myself to ads, I would pick up a magazine, the newspaper, or watch TV. All I do the whole time I am on there is “hide ad” every other scroll!! Now it is even showing up in the notification section! Total malarkey!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Malarkey indeed! I’m really confident that there will be a fix soon, though. Hang in there!

  66. eyedraw · 2016-08-11 08:16 · #

    so annoying. If they wanna make money somehow they should do it the non-aggressive way .
    for ex. I disable my ad block on smashing magazine. The ads there don’t bother me and it’s my way for “paying for the service”.
    But facebook ads are everywhere! Without AdBlock I have more ads on my facebook than messages from actual friends…

    I hope we can get around this…

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Yup, me too. But I’m confident a workaround will come soon.

  67. Sathya Narayanan Subramanian · 2016-08-11 08:40 · #

    If facebook is getting all anti-user, why did ABP remove the ‘block element’ function on its Chrome Extension just for facebook domain? It seems to work fine with other sites. Are you saying that facebook wrote a code to disable your script for ‘block element’? Mind explaining about it?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    We didn’t remove Block Element on Facebook. What happened is that Facebook started making it harder for ad elements on their page to be identified as ads … and therefore blocked.

    But rest assured, I expect a solution soon.

  68. Samir · 2016-08-11 09:29 · #

    I don’t quite understand your point. When FB was paying AdBlock Plus, their ads were waitlisted and adblock plus users saw the ads.

    It appears that they are just unwilling to keep paying you guys, which while not fun for you, doesn’t make much of a difference to the average adblock plus user.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Facebook was never on the whitelist.

  69. Helena · 2016-08-11 11:52 · #

    “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads.”

    It’s funny how they always choose to go there, and gloss over their complete refusal to take responsibility for the malware-laden crap their ad providers allow through.

    “Aw, baby, why would you want to use protection? You can totally get treatment AFTER I give you herpes!”

    …yeeeah, my adblocker stays where it is, thank you very much.

  70. Johanne Smidhtunger · 2016-08-11 12:49 · #

    Or, one could just not use FaceBook… I mean, if you are bother’d by that sort of thing; just use something else — jesus.
    And as for ad-blockers allowing some ads by default: what about uBlock Origin?

  71. truth · 2016-08-11 12:51 · #

    look like zucker “dick” berg and his employee are using fake account to defend facebook !

  72. Jon · 2016-08-11 13:04 · #

    Facebook is currently worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but apparently that’s just not enough. Not nearly enough. So they’re going to force advertising down the throats of their userbase, whether or not they want it, agree to it or have opted in for it. I’ve managed to block the majority of the adverts by using facebook.com###u_ps_jsonp_2_0_a[class^=“4-u2 mbm _”], but they use other numbers in the jsonp* section, and the 4-u2… part is also used for some normal posts. Which means I’ve probably blocked some of the posts I want to see. But you know, it’s worth it. I’ve always hated Facebook and would not be there now except that I run a couple of groups with membership of over 13,000 users. I don’t want to just let that work go to waste. But here’s official notice: I will never, under any circumstances, EVER, spend a single cent with any organisation that forces paid advertising for their products or services onto my newsfeed on Facebook. And furthermore, any adverts that do make it through my ad blocker will have their pages reported as a scam and permanently blocked. Yeah, I’m just one person and my refusal to let the bastards wear me down means nothing in the greater scheme of things, but it makes me happy and means I can keep my self-respect.

  73. James Edward Lewis II · 2016-08-11 15:13 · #

    Garrett (from #21), most of the EasyList rules wouldn’t work well in a firewall or an ad-blocking HOSTS file, because they rely on information collected by browser APIs (a firewall wouldn’t be able to tell, for example, that a particular URL was requested based on being an image used on a certain domain, but the browser can), and in the case of HOSTS files, you’re limited to blocking all of the content on specific hostnames (without even the ability to specify “this domain and all subdomains”), something much less granular than ABP rules.

    Of course, you can still get plenty of mileage out of the broad ad-domain blocks in EasyList, along with the blocklists in many currently maintained HOSTS files, and firewall rules have the advantage of being able to block by IP address (HOSTS files cannot do this, and ABP rules can only do this for requests to bare IP addresses, rather than to hostnames).

    TL;DR: ABP, HOSTS files, and firewall rules are better together.

  74. Amin Sabet · 2016-08-11 15:46 · #

    @Ben Williams

    Thanks for putting me in touch with support re Acceptable Ads application

    I just wanted to say here on the same page where I made the complaint that I was incorrect. The delays in processing my application were due to my emails being broken, not due to bad service from ABP.

    Sorry about that, and again, thanks.

    -Amin

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    No worries, hope you can get some ads whitelisted.

  75. Sami · 2016-08-11 16:16 · #

    My fb feed is now flooded with spammy forex and money ads. At first I thought adblock plus is not working, so I force updated. Now it’s became disgusting. Not cool facebook! Hope Adblock plus team will find a way and won’t compromise with facebook.

  76. A Heretic · 2016-08-11 17:55 · #

    So, how do we configure Adblock Plus, to block content from Facebook (I think the URL is facebook.com)?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Just update your filters. Instructions are here: https://adblockplus.org/blog/fb-reblock-ad-blocking-community-finds-workaround-to-facebook

  77. Brian · 2016-08-11 19:49 · #

    Great work! Round II goes to Adblock Plus! I just donated twenty bucks to the cause and challenge all who love this software to meet or beat!

    Thanks Ben, Brian.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the donation!

  78. TJ · 2016-08-12 07:10 · #

    “When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads.”

    Uh…ya’ think?

    All I know is ABP is one of the most useful and appreciated things I’ve ever run across online. Facebook is free to do what it wants with its site. Just like you’re free to do what you want with yours. And what you do is make the online experience SO much better. Thanks for that.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks, TJ, agreed!

  79. killhippie · 2016-08-13 09:42 · #

    Since this cat and mouse game seems to have no end what is AdBlock Plus’s long term goal with facebook? This cat and mouse thing cant continue surely. Also is it legal for them to bypass my own viewing preferences? I block ads to stop annoying ads and to help protect myself from malvertising. Surely facebook can’t bypass my personal decision to block adverts, its my computer, their site, but my right to see what I want to see on online and to protect my computer? Anyway I decided for now to close my account on facebook., Keep up the great work.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    In other circumvention it can drag on for some time. Depressing reality that people really, really want to show you ads — even if you don’t want to see them. AFAIK there’s nothing illegal about it. Thanks for the support.

  80. ABP user · 2016-08-13 11:03 · #

    (function() { function remove_ads() { $(”.userContentWrapper:has(.uiStreamSponsoredLink)”).remove() $(”#pagelet_ego_pane”).remove() } var throttled = _.throttle(remove_ads, 1000);

    // so that the space will collape nicely when we remove sidebar ad $(”.home_right_column”).css(“min-height”, “inherit”);

    // remove ads on the first load remove_ads();

    // keep removing ads when you are scrolling // (which causes Facebook to load stuff via ajax) $(document).on(“scroll”, throttled);
    }());

    source: https://github.com/tiratatp/facebook_adblock/

  81. Eric Alvaro · 2016-08-14 04:24 · #

    Hi user number 80, thank you very much. Your post helped eme a lot!

  82. Piano Man · 2016-08-15 00:01 · #

    Will you be able to create a filter for the ads FB places on the news feed? AB+ works great for killing the side of the page ads, but not the recent news feed ones.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    The open source community is busy finding a solution. Hold tight.

  83. local_yokel · 2016-08-16 08:27 · #

    Sooo .. did i hear President Snow down at Mountain View smirk and say “May the odds be in your favour” ? okayyyy .. :D Let the Games begin !!

    On a more serious note, from an admittedly biased user perspective, the efficacy and reach of online ads seems quite overhyped. Hope the clients see through this deception bfr investing their $$.

  84. nadine reid · 2016-08-17 01:49 · #

    Interesting commentary , Just to add my thoughts , if anyone is searching for a TSP-16 , We found a blank version here <code>https://goo.gl/JNyEjm</code>.

  85. michael · 2016-08-17 02:09 · #

    Honestly, the “suggested posts” and “sponsored posts” are making my newsfeed mostly useless. If they want to circumvent the blockers, they should shove in the side bar ads.

    If there had to be a compromise (which I don’t think there does) then put back side bar ads and leave my feed alone.

  86. WhizzKid · 2016-08-17 16:47 · #

    Don’t know if it helps anyone but I’ve removed all Facebook ads using TamperMonkey and GreasyFork’s Script here – https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/22380-hide-facebook-ads

    This is without using ABP at all. Maybe someone can see how it’s done and implement it into ABP?

  87. Cheriam44 · 2016-08-20 23:52 · #

    Oh, that’s why I am getting soooo many ads. Also I am unable to hide them, they just come back when the page is refreshed. I had no idea. Thanks.

  88. Steel Hyaena · 2016-08-21 10:45 · #

    I eagerly await ABP’s reaction to this thrown gauntlet. I’ll try the GreasyFork fix for now, but prefer my nice ABP to fardling around with GreaseMonkey.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hang tight, we’ll have something soon!

  89. Anti Adblock · 2016-08-21 11:15 · #

    Facebook has became more and more aggressive over time, there must be a solution for this, they said we have the option to opt-out from ads but we don’t have any option.

    And what about anti adblock solutions like blockadblock that are becoming more and more popular?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey, thanks for the comment. I think that there will always be a cat-and-mouse game, both with big, unique sites like FB and with circumvention tech (AKA anti-user tech).

    My hope is that the “other side” will eventually quit taking away choice, and realize that the internet always flows in the direction of user control. Till then, we’ve got yer back.

  90. Steel Hyaena · 2016-08-22 12:56 · #

    I have all the faith in the world in AdBlock!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    AWESOME! Thanks!

  91. WhizzKid · 2016-08-23 14:23 · #

    My ads are still blocked and Facebook still haven’t circumvented it – yet! :-D
    Thanks GreasyFork. Sorry ABP.
    But hurry up ABP, I’m sure you’ll get there soon! ;-)

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey, no reason to be sorry! Use whatever is in your arsenal: it’s your internet after all. We’ve got a fix in the works, but it will take a little testing before we add it. Hang tight!

  92. Lars · 2016-09-06 16:57 · #

    The users are still dumb fucks. THEY DON´T CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLES PRIVACY AN CAN USE PICTURES OF YOU OR MENTION YOUR NAME OR WRITE A LOT OF LIES ABOUT YOU.

  93. GoatHole Abuser · 2016-09-16 12:54 · #

    Challenge accepted

    fuck you BookFace

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    YES!!!!!

Commenting is closed for this article.