Facebook yesterday announced their decision to stop the use of ad blocking softwares on the web version of Facebook. What this means is that even if you installed an ad blocker for obvious reasons, it is not going to work. You are still going to see the ads on Facebook.
Does that mean the ad blocking softwares don’t work? No, not at all. The ad blocker would work on other sites, but not on Facebook. What Facebook did was to redesign the code of the ads featured on the web version to be indistinguishable from the normal content you see on your Facebook page.
To put it another way, if the ad blockers insist on blocking ads, the net result would be that you won’t see anything on your Facebook timeline.
Reading through the blog post by Facebook on the decision to stop ads blocker from working on Facebook gave me a bit of a chuckle. Facebook said a lot while trying to justify the decision.
For instance, they said their researched showed that people preferred only ads that are relevant to them. Not just any ad that are most times disruptive of their browsing experience on Facebook.
I believe that research is very inconclusive. People do find ads annoying, that is why they use ad blockers. But for the life of me, I have never met anyone who’ll opt for targeted ads on Facebook. Everybody I know would rather not see any ads on their timeline.
The whole idea of targeted ads is just a marketing gimmick to make us feel good about ads. However, nobody ever felt good about ads on Facebook.
Disabling ad blockers doesn’t mean the ads are taking over our timeline. According to Facebook, they are providing an option where users can go and tweak their settings to chose only the sort of ads they wouldn’t mind having on their timeline.
I haven’t tried to explore that option yet. I am sure if I used to get X number of ads from advertisers, the cumulative number of ads won’t change. I would still see X number of ads. The only difference would be that I would be getting more from only the niches I picked.
I guess I would just leave my settings like that. Variety is way better than the monotony of the same sort of ads over and over again.
It is at the end of the blog post that Facebook told users the real reason for this move. Hear them:
Some ad blocking companies accept money in exchange for showing ads that they previously blocked — a practice that is at best confusing to people and that reduces the funding needed to support the journalism and other free services that we enjoy on the web. Facebook is one of those free services, and ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected. Rather than paying ad blocking companies to unblock the ads we show — as some of these companies have invited us to do in the past — we’re putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls.”
So clearly it is all about the money they might lose from allowing ad blockers.
I am with Facebook on this though. Most of the content we get on the internet are sponsored by these ads. I think it is illogical to expect free content providers to keep giving us free content solely from their pockets. The money has to come from somewhere no matter what we think.
However, like most people who are always suspicious of big firms, I feel soiled to be on Facebook’s side in their money making strategies. They have more than enough money as it is.
image credit: techcrunch.com; Facebook; myshadow.org