The Future of Facebook Ads (and how Adblock Plus will deal with them) · 2013-05-07 15:16 by MonztA

Advertising on Facebook started in 2006 with a simple banner ad syndication deal with Microsoft and a one-year marketing experiment by Chase credit card. Fast-forward to 2013 and Facebook now offers Facebook Ads, Sponsored Stories, Sponsored Stories within the News Feed, Promoted Posts, Sponsored Apps and Event Sponsorship. Next, it is rumored that Facebook will begin selling $1 million-dollar-per-day video ads that auto-play and cover both the left- and right-hand rails of users’ screens.

We here at Adblock Plus are thinking of buying one of those $1 million video ad slots to run a campaign telling people that the future of Facebook ads doesn’t need to be so… well, noisy.

Adblock Plus’s position is not to pass judgment on whether advertising is good or bad, but rather to give users the tools to decide for themselves what type and what level of online advertising they will accept. So below, we’ve outlined how we’re going to help you deal with the expanding Facebook advertising presence.

Blocking Sponsored Posts

Highlighted in the screenshots here are examples of the multiple types of Facebook advertising.

Facebook without Adblock Plus

The most important ones are:

  1. Sponsored ads in the right sidebar,
  2. Sponsored “Pages you may like”,
  3. Logout ads,
  4. Sponsored results,
  5. Sponsored pages your friends like,
  6. Sponsored related posts of pages your friends like,
  7. Sponsored suggested posts not even your friends or you liked

The good news: as long as it is tagged as “sponsored”, it can be blocked by Adblock Plus. When running Adblock Plus set to our default filter settings, your Facebook experience will look something like this:

Facebook with Adblock Plus

Blocking Facebook “Recommendations”

Of course, not all Facebook advertising is explicitly labeled as such. There are other “advertising-like” components of Facebook — for example “People you may know”, “Games you may like”, “Games your friends are playing” and “Recommended pages”. In response to the many requests from our users, the filter list community at Adblock Plus has been manually identifying and tagging these promotions. However, because these promotions are technically speaking not ads, we currently do not remove them by default.

Continuing on, for people who do not play online games on Facebook (like me), “Games you may like” and “Games your friends are playing” are rather annoying and irrelevant. Facebook does not provide an opt-out for users like me and they keep showing these suggestions even though it is totally useless for many users. Fortunately, Adblock Plus can help you here. Due to a large amount of requests, we decided to post short instructions on our Facebook page on how to remove these suggestions. If you have Adblock Plus already installed, it is actually pretty easy:

On Firefox: click the “ABP” logo (most likely in the left corner on the bottom), then “Filter preferences…”, then “Custom filters” on the top, “Add a filter group” and type anything you like, right-click it and choose “Show/hide filters, go to “Add filter” on the right and paste this filter: facebook.com##.ego_column.egoOrganicColumn

On Chrome and Opera: right-click the “ABP” logo in the address bar (on Opera it is on the right at the search bar) on the right and choose “Options”, click “Add your own filters”, paste this filter facebook.com##.ego_column.egoOrganicColumn in the text field and click on “Add filter”.

But there is more: if you want to remove “Trending videos”, “Most Shared”, “Upcoming Concerts” or “Games Your Friends Are Playing” from your news feed, add this filter: facebook.com##.uiStreamAttachments ._4hh

Update: Looks like “Games Your Friends Are Playing” needs this filter now: facebook.com##.-cx-PRIVATE-ogAggregationTrendingList__wrap

To remove “Recently Released Albums” from your news feed, add this one: facebook.com##.uiStreamAttachments ._4hl

“Page X is posting about Page Y” can be removed by adding facebook.com##.storyContent > .storyUnconnectedPost

The Future of Facebook Ads

Facebook will keep ‘innovating’ on new ad formats, for sure. But once a new ad format is discovered, our community is usually pretty quick to add it to the filter.

For example, once Facebook’s new news feed is up and running, we’ll make it our top priority to enable our users to block all ads in the new format, if they so choose, as well as provide easy filters to block other annoyances.

For mobile advertising, the story is a bit different. Mobile usage – both in terms of the Facebook App and the Facebook mobile site – is growing, and in many countries makes up even the majority of usage. Unfortunately, using Adblock Plus for Android to block these ads on mobile is not possible, since it cannot analyze HTTPS traffic. However, we are keeping an eye out for other possibilities.

So, whatever the future of Facebook adverting is, you can be sure that the Adblock Plus community will continue to find ways to enable you, the user, to choose to either enjoy it or block it. The decision belongs to you.

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Comment [13]

  1. AgentOrange · 2013-05-07 16:43 · #

    Adblock is one of the greatest programms on the entire planet!
    thank you community for making it as good as it is today!
    and that thing with the android; you will get a resolution for that too i think :)

  2. Jeremy · 2013-05-07 16:47 · #

    Don’t advertise on Facebook and support them. Just contact pages and ask them to put an ad for adblock plus. It will be much more effective and cheaper. :D Thanks for all your work.

  3. Ellen · 2013-05-07 16:55 · #

    Is it possible to get ad block to work on mobile devices? I’m getting a lot of those sponsored posts. I do have your ad block on my home computer.

    Reply from MonztA:

    That is actually mentioned in the article: “Unfortunately, using Adblock Plus for Android to block these ads on mobile is not possible, since it cannot analyze HTTPS traffic. However, we are keeping an eye out for other possibilities.”

  4. FirefoxMobile User · 2013-05-07 17:44 · #

    On Android you can install FirefoxMobile and use the Addon “Adblock Plus”.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox

    Easylist blocks all Sponsored Posts/Ads on
    https://touch.facebook.com/

    That is the “secure HTTPS://” Mobile Site for Iphone/Android Smartphones.
    Just type fb.com and activate/use the “Secure Browsing” feature.

    Does AdblockPlus support Opera Mobile or Chrome for Android?

    Reply from MonztA:

    Opera Mobile and Chrome for Android do not support extensions unfortunately. However, Adblock Plus for Android blocks ads in those browsers.

  5. Kirsten Roberts · 2013-05-07 18:02 · #

    Let me love you!! Thank you for all of your hard work and for making the internet fun again :)

  6. Paul Davies · 2013-05-07 23:03 · #

    Adblock Plus for president

  7. Ab Sáyago · 2013-05-08 00:03 · #

    I had been dreaming of this for a while… literally! I even posted this in a Facebook discussion about how to block these kind of annoying “ads” since there is no possible way to do it via regular Facebook settings. Thank you ABP team!

  8. Phong · 2013-05-09 01:42 · #

    I’d love to block recommendations other than friend recommendations. Is there a way to do that?

    Reply from MonztA:

    Unfortunately, Facebook has not named these elements specific enough to block them.

  9. Phong · 2013-05-10 20:05 · #

    Bummer. Thanks!

  10. S. · 2013-05-10 20:54 · #

    On Android ABP still does have its difficulties (RAM usage…, strange Playstore policies), but let me take this opportunity to say thank you for years of enhanced internet experience by blocking ads I am just not interested in, for stuff I just do not want to buy, and for just giving me a choice. When I happen to work on other PCs/computers without ABP, I am always shocked how stuffed with advertising the web has become. In the end, also the marketing people should thank you: By suggesting I might be interested in the products and services they advertise to their clients, they betray them, don’t they? ‘Cause I am not, thats just the way it is. It’s more honest this way, isn’t it?

    So… thank you, all of you. Regarding Facebook… its good to hear you do something about it, but I avoid this company anyway.

  11. aretha · 2013-05-30 09:42 · #

    help…adblock-plus stopped working on facebook a couple of days ago…i use it because i have slow internet connection and the less ads the better…i’m thinking u were unaware of the ads working now on facebook…please help with this asap…thank you ever so much

    Reply from MonztA:

    Please report this in our forum: https://adblockplus.org/forum/

  12. Rhonda Tenderholt · 2013-06-01 03:43 · #

    I’m having issues w/adblock plus on facebook and pinterest. Now when ABP is on, on fb and pinterest flash on and off where the ad is supposed to be. It also causes problems w/castelville on fb. I’ve installed and uninstalled ABP several times but I just don’t know what else to do.

    Reply from MonztA:

    Please report such issues in our forum: https://adblockplus.org/forum/

  13. Ron · 2013-06-15 20:16 · #

    You keep saying the Adblock for Android can’t block certain things, but what about iPad?

    Reply from MonztA:

    There is no version of Adblock Plus for iPad or iPhone because the iOS is just too closed for such an app.

Commenting is closed for this article.