The Facebook vs. Adblock Plus showdown -- what's happening

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the company's F8 conference in San Francisco on April 12, 2016. Credit: Facebook/IDGNS

Facebook and Adblock Plus are engaged in a little turf war.

On Tuesday, the social giant let users know that it had made it impossible for ad blockers to determine the difference between an ad and an actual post on the site, effectively making them useless on Facebook. Facebook instead offered users the option to fine tune the ads they saw while perusing the social network.

It didn't take long for the ad blocking community to fight back, with Adblock Plus issuing a fix just days later. Facebook wasn't going to take that lying down, though.

In IT Blogwatch, the game of cat and mouse has begun.

What exactly is going on? Mark Wilson gives us the background:

And so it begins. Facebook...said that it will circumvent ad blocking tools, but...ad blockers are fighting back. The open source community has...come up with code that circumvents Facebook's circumvention. How meta...
...
Adblock Plus is advising...users to update their filter lists...in order to prevent the appearance of unwanted ads on Facebook...a workaround was expected, but...coders have "beaten...expectations" at how fast they came up with the goods.

Adblock Plus for the win! Although, has it won? There may have been unexpected side effects. Sean Hollister tells us about how Facebook and Adblock Plus are playing a game of finger pointing:

Facebook isn't too happy about that change. Particularly because -- according to...Facebook -- the Adblock software is now filtering out other Facebook content as well.
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Adblock Plus...wouldn't comment on whether the new filters are blocking other forms of Facebook content, but...claim it would be Facebook's fault if that's true.

So why does Facebook care so much about keeping ad blockers from working on the social network? Garett Sloane explains Facebook's reasoning:

Ad-blocking and its proponents are in a never-ending arms race with publishers to outsmart their advertising...Ad-blocking has become a severe threat to digital publishers...limiting the potential for ad revenue.
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The company acknowledged...this...fix was likely just the beginning of its effort to beat Facebook at the ad-block game, because the social network would just issue another patch.

And, as Adblock Plus predicted, that is not the end of the story. Dave Lee keeps the saga rolling:

Facebook vowed to hit back...only a few hours after Adblock Plus made its workaround public, the site began rolling out new code that meant Adblock Plus's workaround no longer worked.

So the back and forth continues. Seems like it is Adblock's move now. While we wait to see what happens next JB offers some perspective:

Nice work -- however...AdBlock still allows ads to pass. Demand sources just have to pay them for it.
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