Facebook rebuffs ad blockers, enhances its own ad controls

The social media site is attempting to improve the ads it shows users, to address the core reasons people turn to ad blockers.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer


Facebook on Tuesday announced that it plans to circumvent ad blockers on the desktop version of its website, showing ads to all of its 1.7 billion users.

The move could anger people who have turned to desktop ad blocking (198 million, according to PageFair) to avoid invasive or clunky ads -- as well as to avoid malware.

In a blog post, Facebook's vice president of ads and business platform Andrew Bosworth acknowledged that when it comes to dealing with bad ads, ad blockers "have been the best options to date." He also acknowledged, however, that Facebook -- like many content publishers -- makes the bulk of its revenues through advertising (although a large portion of Facebook's ad revenues come specifically from mobile).

To appease people unhappy with poor ad experiences without turning off the spigot of ad dollars, Bosworth wrote that Facebook is enhancing the tools it gives users to adjust their ad preferences.

"If you don't want to see ads about a certain interest like travel or cats, you can remove the interest from your ad preferences," Bosworth explained. "We also heard that people want to be able to stop seeing ads from businesses or organizations who have added them to their customer lists, and so we are adding tools that allow people to do this."

Facebook, he continued, has also improved how it decides which ads to show, and it has created new ad formats "that complement, rather than detract from, people's experience online."

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