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Facebook’s Ad-Blocking Blocker Blocked by Ad-Blockers

330So a couple days back Facebook admitted that it valued its customers, advertisers, more that users and was going to show ads to users whether they wanted to see them or not. Naturally that has a lot of users and right’s activists pissed off, but it looks like we really had nothing to worry about.

Eyeo, the developer of AdBlock Plus, revealed on their blog today that someone has already found a way to get around Facebook’s attempt to show bypass ad-blocking plugins:

Well, that was fast.

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. 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 to the main EasyList about 15 minutes ago. You’ll just need to update your filter lists.

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.

Eyeo goes on to explain that the filter rule has not been widely tested, so it might not work for everyone. They also explain how you can add the rule yourself, or that you can simply wait for your copy of AdBlock Plus to update itself.

All in all, I can’t say I am surprised that Facebook has been bypassed or that it happened so quickly. Ad-blocking has been a hot topic in tech circles ever since Apple made it a core feature in iOS9 last year.

Apple’s decision has lead many web publishers to take a hostile approach to ad-blocking by blocking users of such. Forbes, Wired, and Axel Springer have each taken the most extreme option, and the open source community has responded by bypassing the lockouts.

I can’t tell you for sure whether AxelSpringer has given up on their user-hostile approach, but I am no longer blocked by any of the three. I can’t even tell that Wired blocks ad-block users, and as for Forbes, well, their lockout doesn’t keep me out; it only slows me down slightly.

So yes, I was expecting this bypass, and soon.

It’s the perfect example of the arms race between ad networks and ad-block users, and it shows that the networks are outgunned, out-manned, and outwitted.

Hence my position that you shouldn’t get into a fight  with inferior resources. You just end up looking like a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.

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Geoffrey Kidd August 11, 2016 um 11:00 pm

The whole back-and-forth can be summarized in two words:

Safemaker Safebreaker

FSkornia August 12, 2016 um 10:20 am

I always compare it to the bigger guns -> more armor -> bigger guns -> more armor… that battleships went through the decades around the turn of the 20th century

Frank August 12, 2016 um 9:29 am

Since I use an "extra" filter plugin (in addition to Adblock Plus) called Privacy Badger, I never saw ads on Facebook two days ago.

I just checked, Forbes and Wired work again; I am not sure when Adblock "beat" the blocker, but it was more than two days.

Facebook Wins First Round of Its Fight With Ad Block Community, But Eyeo Says the Fight Has Just Begun | The Digital Reader August 18, 2016 um 10:03 pm

[…] the past couple weeks Facebook has been fighting a quiet little war with ad-block users and developers, and while the early battles ended in a draw which favors […]

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