Ad blockers circumvent Facebook's unblockable ads

Well, that didn't take long.

Let the whack-a-mole game begin. A mere two days after Facebook blocked ad blocking software, the ad blockers have managed to block Facebook’s ad blocker-blocker.

Thursday morning, Adblock Plus announced that a new filter for banning Facebook’s ads has been added to the main EasyList filter list used by the extension. Here’s how to force Adblock Plus’s filter list to update if you want in on the adblocking action.

But you might not rush to do so. Adblock Plus’s blog post warns that the new filter hasn’t been heavily tested and may block additional content. An initial response sent out by Facebook suggests it may indeed be doing so.

“We’re disappointed that ad blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook as these new attempts don’t just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages,” a spokesperson told AdAge. “This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue. Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we’ve instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people’s hands.”

“Punishing people” seems like a bit much, but that last line refers to enhanced ad preference tools Facebook rolled out alongside its adblocker-blocking technology.

If you see an ad in your Facebook News Feed, click the drop-down arrow on the top left of the ad, and then choose “Manage your ad preferences.” There, you’ll be able to see which topics Facebook thinks you’re into, and advertises against. Deleting them all should eliminate hyper-targeted ads—though not all ads, and Facebook will repopulate the list over time. Blocking ads via ad blockers isn’t possible in Facebook’s mobile apps, only in-browser.

facebook ads

Facebook ad examples.

If the new filter is indeed blocking normal posts and pages, the issue lies with Facebook, Adblock Plus communications manager Ben Williams told CNET. “If they are classifying ads as normal content it would appear they have an issue on their end.”

Adblock Plus isn’t the only adblocker software investigating Facebook’s new stance. When reached for comment, uBlock Origin founder Raymond Hill pointed out that an issue had already been opened about Facebook’s adblocker-blocking. Since then, uBlock Origin has also added a new filter that eliminates Facebook ads.

The story behind the story: Adblocking is a contentious issue. Some publishers liken it to stealing, while users activate adblockers for a number of reasons, ranging from privacy and security concerns to flat-out disliking ads. Ironically, most of those concerns don’t apply to Facebook, as pseudonymous Twitter account SwiftOnSecurity pointed out in an astute tweet:

Earlier this year, Facebook expanded its in-house ad network reach beyond Facebook and onto other websites. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, the social giant will track you using cookies in order to serve you targeted ads as you traverse the World Wide Web—unless you use software (like uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, or the EFF’s Privacy Badger) that hides your activity from advertisers.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in