Facebook and Adblock Plus are continuing their ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of the social media community. This week, Adblock Plus released an update which it claimed would nullify Facebook’s ad block bypass, enabling it’s users to maintain an ad-free environment on their news feed. However, users quickly discovered that the upgrade worked far too well. As well as blocking those pesky ads, it also blocked updates from family and friends – essentially treating your grandmother like an advertiser. Facebook was quick to respond, telling TechCrunch –
“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. 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.”
While Adblock Plus are attempting to brush this off as a failure of integration and not of the product itself, even going so far as to promise to crowdfund an additional workaround of Facebook’s workaround, of Adblock Plus’s workaround… Facebook’s response should make it apparent that this is no longer a battle of technology, but of ideology.
The argument is pretty clear – on one side, Facebook says that advertising online, when focused on the individual shouldn’t be seen as intrusive, but rather a value add. AdBlock Plus and it’s legions of fans argue that everyone has a right to go online without being inundated with offers to purchase something. But very quickly, people are coming to terms with the fact that if they wish to use platforms for free, advertising is a small price to pay and many users took to Twitter to vent their frustration at Adblock Plus’s overly aggressive and equally unimpressive attempt to circumvent advertising.
Facebook is unapologetic in it’s defence of advertising as a reality of modern internet usage. They have announced that they will be blending the HTML of advertising with content, so that there is no way for ad blocking software to differentiate and remove advertising without essentially removing everything. Basically, taking Adblock Plus’s problem and making it much much bigger. They are also responding incredibly quickly – insiders saying that this is being given priority and will likely be completed within 24 hours.
It’s unlikely that an blocking software has any viability in long-term Internet usage, and if the industry doesn’t choose to adapt, it is undoubtedly fighting a losing battle against not only Facebook and company, but also its own business model.