Facebook on Tuesday announced a new approach to ads that will see it circumvent ad blockers for users on its desktop site.
According to the company, the move comes as the social media giant introduces stronger controls that will allow users to control their ad experience through Facebook itself.
In addition to giving users more control, Facebook also said allowing ads on the page will allow it to sustain itself as a free service.
“Some ad blocking companies accept money in exchange for showing ads that they previously blocked — 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,” Vice President of Facebook’s Ads and Business Platform Andrew Bosworth wrote in a blog post. “Rather than paying ad blocking companies to unblock the ads we show — as some of these companies have invited us to do in the past — we’re putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls.”
To get past third-party ad blockers, Facebook said it will change the way ads are loaded to its desktop site. Instead, Facebook said users will be able to use the company’s ad preference controls to stop seeing ads for certain interests as well as ads from certain companies.
While the workaround for ads was only mentioned for desktop, it begs the question whether Facebook will make the same move for mobile users.
But Facebook is far from the only one worried about ad blockers.
In March, a survey from location-based mobile ad platform Retale round nearly 22 percent of respondents aged 18 to 54 said they use an ad blocker on their smartphone or tablet. And this translates to a lot of concern among online publishers.
According to a recent AOL report, nearly half of publishers said ad blockers were their main challenge in mobile advertising.
Should Facebook decide to go mobile with its ad blocking workaround, however, it seems unlikely that much backlash would follow given how wedded people are to social media. Pew Research Center found in October more than 90 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 and 77 percent of Americans aged 30 to 49 use social media sites. In a separate report, Pew said fully 71 percent of online American adults used Facebook in particular in 2014.
So, have the ads won after all?