Facebook Under Fire for War Against Ad Blockers

Facebook's hidden battle against ad-blockersWe get a lot of services on the internet for free, which might seem strange to some but the fact of the matter is that the platforms that provide their services for free actually earn an enormous amount of money from advertising. If a user wants to enjoy the internet experience without having to worry about watching ads that are often invasive and spoil the experience, they can always use an ad blocker. That being said, the aforementioned social media platforms are often going to end up finding ways to make these ad-blockers less efficient at doing their jobs.

Facebook in particular uses rather underhanded techniques to prevent extensions from blocking the ads that you would otherwise see in your newsfeed. For example, one of the ways in which ad blockers try to figure out whether something is an ad or not is by trying to detect the word “sponsored” in it. Facebook coders work around this by splitting the word up with a space in the middle or adding extra letters to it in the code. It is important to note that this is not visible to users, it is a secret technique that is used to trick ad blockers.

Most ad blocker detected words like "Ads", "Advertising", "Advertisement", "Sponsored", etc. and prevent that line of code from further execution, but Facebook dodged them all by separating "Sponsored" post tags in different chunks of lines. The below is an example of how Facebook hides its "Sponsored" label from ad-blockers by dividing it in several parts:
<span class="x_xgmti_wda"><span class="v_xgmtixfwi w_xgmtixfwn">Sp</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi m_xgmti-rmf">S</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi w_xgmtixfwn">on</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi m_xgmti-rmf">S</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi w_xgmtixfwn">so</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi m_xgmti-rmf">S</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi w_xgmtixfwn">red</span><span class="v_xgmtixfwi m_xgmti-rmf">S</span></span>
Facebook uses 'divide and rule policy' in its source code to show the ads to users who use ad blockers

Facebook has stated in its FAQ page under section "Control the Ads You See/Can I block ads on Facebook or opt out of ads showing on my account?" that users can't opt out of seeing advertisements entirely, however they "can influence the types of ads" they watch by giving Facebook feedback in the news feed "or hiding ads and advertisers that they don't want to see".

A lot of people are criticizing Facebook because of the fact that it is trying its best to close all the doors for users who want to utilize ad-blocking extensions to avoid unnecessary ads. This is understandable in a way since ads are how Facebook makes money, but most other sites simply take ad blockers in stride, considering them to be a part of the internet and thus unavoidable, especially when you want to keep the user experience intact. Facebook’s prioritization of profit over the user experience and leveraging dodgy techniques is the basic reason why it is being 'disliked' for these tactics.

Read Next: How Social Media Is Changing the World of Advertising

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