Facebook ads still slipping past Adblock Plus via stripped-down code

The Adblock Plus crowdsourced hackermilitiacant keep up with Facebooks disciplined army of engineers.

When Facebook first announced it would circumvent ad blocking software, Adblock Plus (ABP) built a workaround in two days, boasting that We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soonThis time that community seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook.

But its been a month since Facebook broke ABPs last workaround, and the social networks marketing messages are still getting through. Despite the fact that ABPs browser extension gets the final say on what appears on your screen, it cant build filters fast enough when Facebook has total control over the code it serves.


Adblock Plus communications manager Ben Williams

ABP parent company Eyeos communications and operations manager Ben Williams admits it needs to dig deeper and make more drastic changes to keep fighting Facebook. They have basically removed every identifier thats findable in the first level of ads, he says while raising fear about Facebooks ads one day being indistinguishable from content to its users as well.

Williams insists his company knew this would happen. Youve got to think that a company like Facebook hasa playbook. Its kind of been how we expected.

That contrasts with the confidence of Williams blog posts a month ago, where he wrote What we hope users will remember is that there is a gargantuan, unstoppable community and Should Facebook circumvent again, Im sure another solution will arise from that open source community.

adblock-generalNow ABPsays it will need more time to fire back at Facebook. Well have to change the software, and were very, very careful. We have to do sometesting. Williams says that though Facebook has scrubbed the parent elements of its ads code, Were in the process of being able to block based on the one of the child elements. Id say were a couple weeks away from that.

In the meantime, ABPhas launched its own ad exchange called the Acceptable Ads Platform. It essentially lets websites serve privacy-safe ads that ABP wont block from appearing to 90 million of its browser extensions users in exchange for a six percent cut. That money will be critical if Adblock Plus wants to keep funding a war with a tech giant that earns $2 billion in profit per quarter.