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Adblock in Digital War with Facebook over Ads on the Social Network

Facebook and Adblock Plus have entered a digital war following Facebook’s announcement on Tuesday that ad-blockers would no longer work on the social network.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced in a blog post that they would be taking another approach to adverts and ad-blocking, releasing a new way for users to filter their ads, along with an update that would make ad-blockers useless on the social network.

“When they’re relevant and well-made, ads can be useful, helping us find new products and services and introducing us to new experiences — like an ad that shows you your favorite band is coming to town or an amazing airline deal to a tropical vacation. But because ads don’t always work this way, many people have started avoiding certain websites or apps, or using ad blocking software, to stop seeing bad ads” wrote Facebook in the blog post.

“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.”

Adblock Plus, one of the most popular ad-blocking programs available, issued an almost immediate update, before finding a solution just two days later.

“Well, that was fast,” wrote Adblock in a blog post.

Two days ago we broke it to you that Facebook had taken “the dark path,” and decided to start forcing ad-blocking users to see ads on its desktop site. We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soon, and, frankly, they’ve beaten even our own expectations. A new filter was added to the main EasyList about 15 minutes ago. You’ll just need to update your filter lists.

The ad-blocking service then warned users that this might prompt a back and forth battle between the service and Facebook, but put in a quick taunt of caution to the social network and “Big Z”, a reference to the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

As many of you know, the filter lists that “tell” Adblock Plus what to block are in fact the product of a global community of web citizens. This time that community seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook.

So apparently, you don’t want no problems with the ad-blocking community … (Just kidding, Big Z … please don’t destroy me with your blue and white drones)[…]

Facebook might “re-circumvent” at any time. As we wrote in the previous post, this sort of back-and-forth battle between the open source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented; so it’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless — at any time. If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again, etc.

Adblock finished the blog post optimistically, concluding, “But for this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won.”

“We’re disappointed that ad blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook as these new attempts don’t just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages,” said a Facebook spokesperson to The Guardian“This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue. Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we’ve instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people’s hands.”

Facebook have yet to counteract Adblock Plus’ new user update.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington or like his page at Facebook.

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