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Facebook attempting to prevent use of adblockers

Forums Life Computers, Gadgets & Technology Social Media Facebook attempting to prevent use of adblockers

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  • TBH suspect this is PR aimed at keeping ad revenue coming in, not sure if this would even be 100% possible with decent ad / element blockers such as Ublock Origin. This kind of blocker can remove not just ads but any bit of content on a page that has some kind of common identifier – even if FB use cryptic element names (they already do for the boxes that appear if you look at public sites without being logged in) these have a pattern and can be detected.

    Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out! ? The Register

    More about Ublock Origin (you can certainly get it for Firefox and Chrome, I only use Firefox for browsing these days myself). Its been around for a while but initially was harder to use – the Germans (they were the first to find themselves blocked from news-sites etc for using ad blockers) put a lot of effort into making it more user friendly.

    It can take slightly more configuration to ensure all the shite is blocked and the blockers are switched on (it sometimes defaults to being switched off and first time you install it remember to update the filters (do this from the dashboard) but is particularly good for those who read content in multiple languages.

    I even customised it to let me read the kinds of pages where boxes and other rubbish block out the content if you are not signed in or use adblockers and I am not an expert at web development by any means..

    Well I can still read public areas on FB without being logged in at all; all I had to do was create a custom filter on ublock for the annoying box thing that tries to get you to sign up; and I don’t get any ads either.

    Not sure what happens with logged in users but there is a massive cat fight between FB and ABP over these filters.

    It is the sort of fight you get when there are two cats that have for some reason been confined in the same space; and fight for control of any high up areas.

    If you choose to also share this space with such cats it is prudent to not to set anything fragile and/or valuable atop shelves, window ledges, tables etc to prevent it getting knocked over in the crossfire.

    GL that is a good metaphor.

    Tangentially related, YikYak is an app that is popular on college campuses. It is a geolocated hybrid app that pulls from multiple predecessors. 5 downvotes and a post is gone, you can comment on posts and popular posts with lots of upvotes earn lots of Yak Karma, originally it was completely anonymous. Then to try to combat some of the creepsters you could toggle between posting with your profile or posting anonymously… Well like two days ago they updated the app so that you can’t post anonymously and by agreeing to the update you’re agreeing for the developers to sell your info and inundate you with advertising content while using the app.

    Needless to say no one is really excited about all of this. While not on the same scale as facebook the folks at YikYak saw advertising as a cash cow and acted accordingly. Maybe they’ll be able to swim if people are willing to treat it like Reddit and don’t care about losing the anonymity, or the platform could sink because people only were able to use the app anonymously. I’m interested to see what happens. It does speak to the rapidly changing world for mobile apps. I really liked YikYak cause if something weird happened on campus someone was posting the details as an eyewitness before a campus alert went out. TBH that might go away if people know that anyone they say will be linked to a profile that can be traced to them.

    I do have some concerns for community groups and charities who increasingly use Facebook as any calls for sponsorship might be accidentally blocked if the conflict reaches a level where folk start to deploy content-based (rather than element based) filters to remove unwanted ads – but at the same time these groups should also perhaps reduce their dependency on FB (its not that much extra effort to cut and paste content!)

    I read about YikYak but got the impression it was some “American” thing and more geared towards high school kids (although like any “youth friendly” service its likely to attract a wide range of ages from the mid teens to late 20s) the articles I read were complaining it had been used for bullying and some worse crimes to the point parents and other activists were calling for the Feds to investigate it.

    I’m likely to be too old for these kinds of apps anyway but am sceptical of the real value of these ads, I never use mobile devices for “big ticket” online shopping as mobile payment services normally link to your phone bill in Europe unless set up otherwise (one phone I use is on my work account and others are PAYG sims so no use for big purchases).

    I am wary to store any other card details directly on these devices – entering card numbers is hassle on a small touchscreen device and mistyping security codes etc one time too many easily locks your card out and you have to then call the bank call centre (although mine does operate 24/7 you have to go through all the security check procedures, confirm last transactions and this can take an hour or more). In some cases the card might have to be reissued, which takes a whole week.

    Although some marketing spin firms in Northern Europe claim that 48% of all ecommerce is through mobile devices; I wonder is this is merely for relatively cheap items like computer games, and mobile apps themselves?

    I have bought a small number of useful apps for things like monitoring mobile network and wifi signals (where the paid version unlocks other features as well as not delivering ads), generating correct British Grid coordinates from GPS data and a cycling app (this and a cheap Windows mobile is cheaper than a standalone GPS unit!) but my total spend is less than £10 and I’ve used smartphones for 8 years now.

    None of these purchases were driven by online ads – in some cases I still used a desktop to view the full website of the developers to check reviews and security/privacy compliance.

    I only buy stuff on a desktop or laptop unless its through the app store on the phone. As far as storing card information, I understand the reasoning is to make commerce more streamlined and thus get people to make impulse purchases as repeat customers but it doesn’t seem 100% secure. I’m just old enough to have had phones pre smartphone era and thus see is as a device mostly for texting and calling people and perhaps a bit for social media but children who only have known smartphones probably have a different view. For my littlest cousin I told my mom just to get them an app store gift card rather than mailing them a gift for birthdays or holidays.

    AFAIK YikYak blocks itself by schools, I’ve walked by an elementary school while trying to access YikYak and it told me it was blocked cause I was at a school. Its certainly targeted at people under 30 and in my opinion got some creepy folks on there. You’re too old for YikYak but its closest to a geo-located Reddit as far as I can describe it.

    Adds are a hindrance for me and have never gotten me to buy anything I wasn’t already going to buy but someone somewhere must think they’re working or they wouldn’t be an integral part of smartphones.

    on the very rare occasions I’ve used a mobile browser or app where it has been impossible to block ads; I’ve found the ads to be completely irrelevant to the site content or even what I might actually be looking for. Even when they are able to obtain my correct location I get stuff like ads for motor car insurance (I don’t have a car and if I did I would want to read the small print of a policy on a larger screen); others assume I am a tourist in London and want a hotel room (when I am English, own my own house and live 90 km away).

    I guess for young people there might be a market for advertising stuff like fashion items and sweets/junk food (as mainstream media ads in Europe are restricted for those below 18) but I suspect the marketers heavily overestimate the disposable income of younger people and that many young Europeans are very security aware and too frightened of scams to make big ticket purchases online.

    I saw this infographic about all the companies involved in online ads, it looked like an overcomplicated version of a Ponzi scheme and something guaranteed to soon enough come crashing down like a house of cards (indeed I’ve read articles about “entrepreneurs” involved in these companies suffering such levels of burnout and mental health problems they end up attacking their own staff and/or harming themselves).

    Yikyak is used to some extent in the UK but has also raised concerns from both the NUS (national union of students, uni/college age) and NSPCC (child protection age 0-18) as like any “teen friendly” service it attracts the age group between high school and uni/college. This means that eventually the feds (if they cannot do so already) get full access to info just by showing a “badge and shield” in the event of criminal cases associated with the use of the service.

    This previously happened with bebo (a lot of the teenage ravers in my region used it) and the resulting fallout as well as users themselves (who were also often from lower income groups anyway) eventually growing up caused them to all leave in droves – from what I remember the service soon folded (as these users flocked to facebook) and got sold back to its owner for a pittance…

    A kid made a bomb threat on YikYak and then got arrested in class the next morning. lol

    Glad to hear that the adds might be on the way out cause they aren’t sustainable.






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Forums Life Computers, Gadgets & Technology Social Media Facebook attempting to prevent use of adblockers