Facebook Improves Ad Preference Tools And Will Override Ad Blockers

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Facebook promises to give users more control over adverts buts says ad blockers threaten journalism and free services

Facebook plans to override ad blockers but has promised to give its users more control over what type of advertisements they see on the social network.

The company claims its preference tools have been made easier to use and will allow users to stop seeing ads for certain products or companies.

Many use ad blockers because they find ads intrusive while others believe some creatives slow down system performance, use excessive amounts of data and reduce battery life, while others hold security fears. A number of advertising networks have been used to launch malvertising attacks in recent times.

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adblock plusAndrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s ad and business platform, acknowledged that online advertising had not kept up with advances made in content and had become intrusive or irrelevant.

“For the past few years at Facebook we’ve worked to better understand people’s concerns with online ads,” he said. “What we’ve heard is that people don’t like to see ads that are irrelevant to them or that disrupt or break their experience. People also want to have control over the kinds of ads they see.

“We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software. When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads. As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”

Bosworth defended the decision, claiming the use of ad blocking software undermined the funding model of journalism and free services like Facebook. He also criticised the fact that many such services let advertisers pay to be excluded from routine blocking.

User choice is ‘harmed’

Adblock Plus, which accepts payments from a number of companies for their adverts to be ‘whitelisted’ so creatives are only blocked if users dictate so in the settings, has criticised Facebook.

“Facebook announced that it would start trying to circumvent users with ad-blocking software and show them ads,” it said. “This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice. But it’s also no reason to overreact: cat-and-mouse games in tech have been around as long as spammers have tried to circumvent spam filters.

“Facebook apparently agrees that users have a good reason for using ad-blocking software … but yet those users shouldn’t be given the power to decide what they want to block themselves?

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