The Stack Archive

Facebook to override ad blockers

Tue 9 Aug 2016

Facebook is planning to use specialised software to show adverts to desktop users who have installed ad blockers, as the technology begins to threaten the social network’s advertising revenue.

Facebook is a free service which relies hugely on ads for survival. While 84% of its advertising revenue comes through mobile ads, it made almost $1 billion (approx. £770 million) in desktop ads last quarter – a stream it is keen to protect.

Facebook announced that it would be updating its ad controls to allow users to specify ad preferences. The social platform argued that this user management should make ads more relevant to the user, as well as more valuable to the advertiser.

Andrew Bosworth, Facebook VP of Engineering, Ads, and Pages, wrote in today’s announcement: ‘We’ve all experienced a lot of bad ads… As a result of what we’ve learned, we’ve introduced tools to help people control their experience, improved how we decide which ads to show and created new ad formats that complement, rather than detract from, people’s experience online.’

Users will also be able to opt out of receiving ads from certain companies, or unselect ads based on categories that do not interest them, such as travel or sports – in order to ‘stop annoying, disruptive ads.’

Bosworth added that despite invitations to do so, Facebook will not be paying ad-blocker companies to unblock the ads shown on the network.

He continued: ‘Ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected… We’re putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls.’

In an effort to further reduce the amount of irrelevant content available to users, Facebook last week updated its News Feed algorithms to cut back on clickbait. The new rules mean that media companies will now have to comply with Facebook’s editorial values or face hefty drops in social referrals.

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