Facebook to limit ad blockers

Facebook to limit ad blockers
© Greg Nash

Facebook said on Tuesday that it would start displaying advertisements to users who have an ad blocker installed on their desktop browsers.

Its decision comes amid rising concerns from the advertising industry that the proliferation of ad blocking software is hurting business. Facebook said it believes that it now gives users enough control over what ads they see to warrant circumnavigating the blocking software.


“We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons people have turned to ad blocking software,” said Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth in a post on the company’s website.

“When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads,” he said. “As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”

Bosworth also slammed software that stops blocking ads from publishers or services that pay for the privilege, calling that “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.”

The company also announced it would implement changes to the way that users can control the ads they see. Users will now, for example, be able to tell Facebook that they aren’t interested in seeing ads related to a certain topic.

“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,” said Bosworth.

The move aligns Facebook, at least in spirit, with the publishers over whom it has significant power as a primary channel for content distribution. It is also responsive to growing concerns in the industry about the use of ad blockers.

Many are particularly concerned about services, like the popular AdBlock Plus, that take money from publishers in return for displaying their ads.