Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Says That It Will Override Ad Blockers

Andrew Bosworth of Facebook, in a press release euphemistically titled “A New Way to Control the Ads You See on Facebook, and an Update on Ad Blocking”:

We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software. When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads. As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.

The defiance in that last sentence is kind of incredible, when you think about it. Imagine if it were a slightly different browser feature, like cookie permissions (emphasis added):

As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin setting cookies on Facebook desktop for people who currently block cookies.

Ludicrous, no?

Jack Marshall reports for the Wall Street Journal on this news:

Mr. Bosworth acknowledged that forcing ads onto people who have attempted to avoid them could irritate those users, but he said the company has invested heavily in ensuring advertising on Facebook is “uninterruptive” and relevant. Facebook is also introducing more ways for users to control the type of advertising they see on the service.

For some people, having increasingly relevant ads is the problem. Its indicative of deeper tracking and further privacy intrusions.

If you’re a Facebook user, it’s worth taking a look at your privacy and advertising controls to ensure nothing has changed — Facebook has a history of adjusting user preferences when they roll out large changes like this.

By the way, I discovered a somewhat minor advantage to providing your contact details to Facebook: they show you which advertisers have those details, like your email address. It’s buried a little bit, but if you go into Account SettingsAdsManage the preferences we use…Visit Ad Preferences and scroll down, you’ll see a cell that says “Advertisers”. Click or tap on With your contact info to see the Facebook advertisers who have your contact email from another source, like a mailing list. I found out that a couple of advertisers who I’ve never heard of have somehow acquired one of my less-public email addresses, perhaps through a bought email list.

Update: The instructions above were made while referencing the website on my phone. You should see advertisers who have your contact info at the bottom of this page; if you don’t see it, it might be because an advertiser hasn’t uploaded your contact info to Facebook.