Facebook has thrown fuel on the fire of debate around ad blockers by developing a technology that renders ad blockers powerless on its desktop sites.
Recent research by PageFair and Adobe found that some $21.8bn in advertising revenues was lost in 2015 due to ad blocking.
This is presenting a huge problem for websites, including newspaper publishers, that derive income from advertising on their sites.
And Facebook, which derives the lion’s share of its revenues from advertising, isn’t standing for that.
‘We’ve all experienced a lot of bad ads: ads that obscure the content we’re trying to read, ads that slow download times’
– ANDREW BOSWORTH, FACEBOOK
Instead, it has revealed a new technology that renders ad-blocking software useless, enabling the social network to display ads on its website even when people have ad-blocking software installed.
Bad ads are disruptive and a waste of time, says Facebook
“As more and more content has shifted to the internet, online experiences have improved dramatically, becoming more immersive and intuitive,” said Andrew Bosworth, VP of Ads and Business Platform at Facebook.
“But many digital ads haven’t kept up. We’ve all experienced a lot of bad ads: ads that obscure the content we’re trying to read, ads that slow download times or ads that try to sell us things we have no interest in buying. Bad ads are disruptive and a waste of our time.
“Today, we’re announcing some changes to help with this problem. First, we’re expanding the tools we give people to control their advertising experience. Second, we’re providing an update on our approach to ad blocking on Facebook,”
Bosworth said that Facebook has studied people’s concerns around online ads and it all boils down to people seeing ads that are irrelevant to them or that slow down their browsers.
As well as ad controls to help users set their preferences to stop seeing certain types of ads, Facebook will also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad-blocking software.
“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,” Bosworth said.
“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.
“We believe that these expanded controls give people a better experience with advertising on and off Facebook. We also know there’s more work to do, and we’re continually listening to your feedback to make advertising better for everyone.”
Ad blocker image via Shutterstock