Facebook will bypass web adblockers, but offer ad targeting opt-outs

Facebook is making the HTML of its web ads indistinguishable from organic content so it can slip by adblockers. But in exchange for taking away this option for controlling ads from people, it’s allowing them to opt-out of ad targeting categories and Custom Audience customer lists uploaded by advertisers. Today all desktop users will see an announcement atop the News Feed explaining that while web adblockers may no longer work, they can visit their Ad Preferences settings to block ads from particular businesses.


Facebook commissioned research firm Ipsos to investigate why reports say 70 million Americans and nearly 200 million people worldwide use adblockers. It found that “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%).” Privacy wasn’t the top answer. So Facebook thinks if its can make its ads non-interruptive, fast, and secure, people won’t mind.

The rationale for the change, according to Facebook’s VP of ads Andrew Bosworth, is that “Part of the mission of the company is to create connections between people and businesses”, which adblockers prevent. At the same time, Boz says “Ads on Facebook don’t pay for Facebook for one person. They pay for a service that’s free around the world. The participation of everyone really helps the global community.”

Importantly, Facebook refused to pay the ransom most adblocking software companies are willing to accept to whitelist certain sites and keep showing their ads.

Instead, since it serves and measures its own ads rather than using third-parties that leave traces adblockers can spot, it could hide the evidence. Adblockers would have to snoop the JavaScript or actual content shown by Facebook to detect and remove ads, which would significantly slow down load times. Facebook is better users would rather just endure the ads. Bosworth tells me “I think the alternatives for adblockers would be very deleterious to the user experience”.

Boz admits that the advertising industry needs to improve in the way ads are delivered such that they don’t bog down sites, but says “I don’t think adblockers are a very good solution. They specifically don’t serve publishers will, who deserve to be compensated for their content. But they don’t serve customers well either. The adblockers take money for showing ads, which mean they don’t have the consumers’ best interest in mind.”

Facebook’s updated Ad Preferences let users pick and choose which ads to hide rather than blanket-blocking them all. People can see the interests like hiking or automobiles that Facebook has categorized them with, the Pages they’ve Liked, and the advertisers who’ve uploaded their contact information or web browsing patterns to Facebook, and then opt out of that targeting.

Source : https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/09/facebook-will-bypass-web-adblockers-but-offer-ad-targeting-opt-outs/

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