Has Facebook outsmarted Adblock Plus in cat-and-mouse ad blocking game?

Facebook's battle with ad blockers has intensified after launching an ad-blocker bypass for its desktop site -- and Adblock Plus has struck back.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Adblock Plus said Facebook's move to circumvent ad blockers shows it has taken the "dark path against user choice".

Image: Eyeo

Facebook has reportedly started rolling out an update that stops Adblock Plus skirting around the social network's ad-blocker bypass.

Facebook on Tuesday rolled out its bypass for ad blockers on its desktop site. However, within hours, ad blocking companies figured out a workaround to Facebook's measure, once again allowing ads to be blocked in desktop browsers.

Adblock Plus said Facebook's move to circumvent ad blockers shows it has taken the "dark path against user choice".

But, according to Facebook, the workaround to its ad-block bypass not only blocked ads, but also users' content.

"We're disappointed that ad-blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook as these new attempts don't just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages," Facebook said in a statement to TechCrunch.

"This isn't a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue. Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we've instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people's hands."

According to TechCrunch, Facebook on Thursday began rolling out an update that disabled the Adblock Plus workaround.

Announcing its stance on ad blockers, Facebook conceded that these "have been the best options to date" to address bad ads. Its measure against ad blockers involved coding ads so that they are indistinguishable from user posts.

Facebook could be in for a long-running skirmish with ad blockers. Adblock Plus appears prepared for Facebook to circumvent it again.

"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," AdBlock Plus' Ben Williams wrote.

"If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again."

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