The game of cat-and-mouse between companies that depend on advertisements and services that block advertisements — we’re talking about Facebook vs. AdBlock — just got a little more interesting.
Earlier this week Facebook announced that it would start bypassing ad blockers so it could maintain its ad-based cash flow. Now, just two days later, Adblock Plus users have found a way to re-block those ads.
“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,” Adblock Plus says on its blog. “We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soon, and, frankly, they’ve beaten even our own expectations.” That community has already created a filter to block Facebook’s new ads.
Facebook explained its decision to show ads to people with ad blockers installed in a blog post on Tuesday. Ads are “needed to support the journalism and other free services that we enjoy on the web,” it said, and “ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected” by letting it offer a free service.
Other companies have found different solutions, like offering paid services or banning people who use ad blockers from visiting their websites to protect their bottom lines. Yet Facebook’s approach seems to have struck a nerve.
Hence the new filter. Now the Adblock Plus community has the satisfaction of continuing to block these ads — Adblock Plus trumpets that its community “seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook” — and proving that ad blockers are here to stay. But that doesn’t mean that the fight against efforts like Facebook’s are over, as Adblock Plus warns users in its blog post:
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.
Still, at least for now, the ad blockers have won.Photos via Adblock Plus, Getty Images / Justin Sullivan