Facebook Is Getting Its Advertisements Around Ad Blockers

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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The battle between Facebook and Adblock Plus (ABP), a content filtering service, is heating up as the social media company is finding ways to circumvent the marketing obstructor.

Facebook announced in early August that it would update its marketing tactics by giving users “control [over] their advertising experience.” Essentially, Facebook was rewriting the code of its content so that it could bypass advertisement blockers. At the same time, Facebook was also permitting users to opt-out of ad targeting.

But ABP interpreted Facebook opt-outs as a ploy to sidestep the ad-blocking software. Adblock Plus then constructed a mechanism to counteract Facebook codes in just two days.

“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… .” reads an official ABP blog post published Aug. 11.

“Should Facebook circumvent again, I’m sure another solution will arise from that open source community,” ABP wrote a day later

Roughly a week later, ABP was still singing its own praises.

“What we hope users will remember is that there is a gargantuan, unstoppable community that has already contributed to several workarounds; there are academics and other ad blockers working on solutions, too,” Williams wrote roughly a week after the other blog posts. The post was titled “Ping pong with Facebook.”

Even though the ABP filter usually has the last say, Facebook is still finding ways around ABP’s technology. ABP cannot create or update filters as fast as Facebook can manipulate its own code. (RELATED: Facebook Is Forcing Users To Download Its Messenger App)

“They have basically removed every identifier that’s findable in the first level of ads,” Ben Williams, the communications manager of ABP parent company Eyeo, told TechCrunch.

Despite initially boasting about its ability to technologically adapt to Facebook’s evolving advertising capabilities, ABP has not been able to keep up and Williams maintains his company anticipated this back-and-forth.

“You’ve got to think that a company like Facebook has … a playbook. It’s kind of been how we expected,” he said, according to TechCrunch.

ABP stresses that it will continue the fight, which seems analogous to David and Goliath, since ABP is an open-source service and Facebook is a tech giant with monetary power and substantial influence.

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Eric Lieberman