A team of researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have come up with an experimental ad to prove that Facebook cannot win against ad blockers. As soon as the Facebook Ad Highlighter is installed, ads in the News Feed get filtered and marked with the words “this is an ad”.
Just a week before, Facebook announced its decision to block ad blockers from working on its social media platform. Mere two days after the announcement, Adblock Plus, the most popular and biggest ad blocker around the world showed up with a simple tweak in settings to win over the social media websites’ blocker blockade.
Arvind Narayanan from Princeton University in the U.S said in a blog post, “what is happening here is that Facebook’s HTML code for ads has slight differences from the code for regular posts, so that Facebook can keep things straight for its own internal purposes”.
“But because of the open nature of the web, Facebook is forced to expose these differences to the browser and to extensions such as Adblock Plus. The line of code above allows Adblock Plus to distinguish the two categories by exploiting those differences”, he added.
According to MIT Technological Review, what researchers have created is a prototype that identifies Facebook ads without depending upon hidden HTML code to detect them.
It appears at the parts of the Web page visible to general public. Facebook Ad Highlighter does nothing but looks for and then blocks any post with a giveaway “sponsored” tag.
Narayanan concluded his statement saying that Facebook’s anti-ad-blocking initiative is doomed, at least if the company doesn’t gives up the thought of somehow neutralizing ad blockers completely. So seeing that Facebook cannot win against ad blockers, why don’t it tries hands on making ads better!
It seems like to reach the hundreds of millions of people using ad blockers, Facebook needs to focus on making its ads somewhat less objectionable to them, rather than trying to do something it just can’t.
Read more about Facebook at: Facebook blocks ad blockers on desktop