Facebook to start showing ads to adblocker users on desktop

Facebook ad preferences

10 August, 2016

Facebook is making its ad experience better and less annoying, by forcing ads upon people who have explicitly said they don't want to see them. Over two thirds of users block ads to get rid of disruptive or intrusive ads.

Facebook has a message for the roughly 200 million people who use ad-blocking software around the world: Your plugin's no good here.

"We also think that connecting people with products and organizations that may be meaningful to them is a core part of the Facebook experience, and people would lose that if they didn't see ads".

The social network giant commissioned a survey to see why users have been using ad-blockers.

Ad blocking software typically does not work on mobile devices, which account for most visits to the social network, but are estimated to stymie billions of dollars worth of ads annually.

According to The New York Times, Facebook is blocking ad blockers by identifying how those ad blockers recognize if a piece of content is an ad and then Facebook will disguise its ads to look like normal content. Ad blocking tools upset that balance. Users can now also stop seeing ads from businesses that have added them to customer lists. Such services already aren't effective on mobile, since most of Facebook's traffic comes through its app.

The social network will now show advertising to desktop users who have installed software meant to block those ads, it announced Tuesday. Last year, business publication City AM became the first United Kingdom publisher to implement anti-ad blocking technology on its website after a successful trial.

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The change will open up more online ad space for it to sell, although Mr. Bosworth said that wasn't the motivation for the move.

The thinking behind the move, says Facebook, is to eliminate complaints that folks have had about irrelevant or irritating ads and, in the process, take away their reason for wanting ad blockers.

These start with a simpler set of ad preferences. As with on the wider web, seeing ads is how you "pay" to use the service. But users are increasingly using adblocker applications to scrub advertisements from websites.

The company's press release goes on to explain that the new ad controls will help make the ads useful and relevant for users.

If this irritates those who deliberately chose not to see ads, this seems to be of little concern to Facebook.

"Rather than paying ad blocking companies to unblock the ads we show - as some of these companies have invited us to do in the past - we're putting control in people's hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls", Bosworth added.

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