We’ve designed our ad formats, ad performance and controls to address the underlying reasons why people have turned to ad-blocking software. When we asked people about why they used ad-blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads. As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad-blocking software.
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. Facebook is one of those free services, and ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected. 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.
Bosworth also wrote that Facebook users can now remove specific interests from their ad preferences if they no longer wish to see ads related to those interests, and specific businesses and organizations can be blocked, as well:
With today’s announcement, we’re building on these efforts by making ad preferences easier to use, so you can stop seeing certain types of ads. If you don’t want to see ads about a certain interest like travel or cats, you can remove the interest from your ad preferences. We also heard that people want to be able to stop seeing ads from businesses or organizations who have added them to their customer lists, and so we are adding tools that allow people to do this. These improvements are designed to give people even more control over how their data informs the ads they see.
For hundreds of years, advertising and marketing have been central to the delivery of entertainment and services that are otherwise free to consumers. In addition, advertising is essential to the functioning of democratic capitalism; it is how consumers and citizens learn about better prices, better features, better job opportunities and even better political candidates. Facebook should be applauded for its leadership on preserving a vibrant value exchange with its users. Its decision to respect advertising as an essential ingredient in connecting users worldwide is spot-on and should be replicated across the free and open Internet.
Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s decision to bypass ad-blocking software and the updates to its ad preferences?