On Monday, Facebook rolled out a new plan to keep people from using ad-blockers on the platform. And now, just two days later, there is already (though not surprisingly) a work-around. Adblock Plus (which does exactly what its name implies) has figured out a way to stop users from seeing Facebook’s newly redesigned ads.
Under Facebook’s latest changes, ads are no longer coded distinctly as ads — the idea being that if ads were effectively indistinguishable from user content, then users would abandon their ad-blockers, because the blockers would also hide content they’d actually want to see. Except, as it turns out, the new ads are still distinguishable from user content … at least somewhat. According to a statement given to the Verge by a Facebook spokesperson, in addition to blocking ads, Adblock Plus is also hiding some user content.
From Facebook, via the Verge:
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. This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue.
So for now, if you really must block ads on Facebook, you run the risk of missing out on some posts from family and friends. (Though if you’re still friends with most of the people you went to high school with, that might not be such a bad thing.) And if — or, more realistically, when — ad-blocking tech gets smart enough to fully isolate these new ads from general content, it seems like Facebook is prepared to change things up again, in what Adblock Plus’s Ben Williams calls an ongoing game of cat and mouse. “But for this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won,” Williams wrote on the company’s website.