Facebook takes aim at ad-blocking software

  • August 10, 2016

2016-08-10, BBC

Facebook has fired a warning shot at ad-blocking software by making changes that will force desktop users to see adverts.

The rising popularity of ad-blockers poses a threat to online businesses that rely on advertising revenue.

The social network told users it understood how annoying ads could be.
It promised to better offer tools for controlling what material does make it through to users’ newsfeeds.

“As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software,” said Facebook’s advertising vice-president Andrew Bosworth in a blog post.
Users will be allowed to customise the types of adverts they see by selecting the brands and businesses they prefer.

“People don’t like to see ads that are irrelevant to them or that disrupt or break their experience,” Mr Bosworth added.

Ad-blockers do not usually work on mobile devices, which account for most visits to Facebook, but nevertheless prevent advertising worth billions from being seen.

Facebook generated $6.2bn (£4.7bn) in revenue from adverting in the most recent quarter.

About 200 million people worldwide use ad-blocking software on their computers.

The move is likely to rekindle a debate between content providers that rely on advertising revenue and users trying to avoid unwanted commercials.
This is not Facebook’s first step at controlling what users see in their newsfeeds.
Earlier this month it took steps to limit “clickbait” stories – articles that carry headlines that make a story seem more interesting than it actually is.