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Adblock Plus Fires Back at 'Anti-user' Facebook Over Ad Block Changes

Alex Spencer

Adblock Plus Ben WilliamsFollowing Facebook's announcement yesterday that it would be circumventing desktop ad blockers – which came with a none-too-subtle jab at Adblock Plus – the ad blocking firm has struck back.

In a blog post entitled 'Oh well, looks like Facebook just got all anti-user', Adblock Plus comms officer Ben Williams questioned the thinking behind the decision. He singled out Facebook's claim, as part of the announcement, that the primary cause of ad blocker adoption was users wanting to avoid 'annoying, disruptive ads'.

“So if that’s true, Facebook apparently agrees that users have a good reason for using ad-blocking software,” said Williams. "Yet those users shouldn’t be given the power to decide what they want to block themselves?

“In any case, it’s hard to imagine Facebook or the brands that are being advertised on its site getting any sort of value for their ad dollar here: publishers (like Facebook) alienate their audience and advertisers (the brands) allow their cherished brand name to be shoved down people’s throats. Yikes.”

After a few months of relative quiet, this could well be the flame that truly reignites the ad blocking debate. A debate which, earlier this year, saw IAB CEO Randall Rothenburg call Adblock Plus “unethical, immoral” and an “old-fashioned extortion racket”, US newspaper group NAA accuse ad-blocking browser Brave of being “blatantly illegal”, and privacy campaigner Alexander Hanff threaten legal action against the ad tech industry, publishers and anti-ad block firms.

As Williams says in his blog, “If nothing else, all this attention from Facebook shows that ad blocking has finally made the big time. We’re ready for our close up.”

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