Disclaimer: I hate ads. You won’t ever see ads on my website. I run uBlock Origin (and you should too). The other day Facebook fired the first in what I can expect to be a long line of shots: they attempted to circumvent the ad-blocking system that users have installed on their computers. Facebook made the claim that this was because “ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected.”
AdBlock plus makes a different claim, calling it “a dark path against user choice.”
Obviously, as someone who runs an ad blocker on ALL their devices (including my mobile phones, thanks to AdAway) it’s clear where I stand on the subject: any time an organization starts trying to block ad blockers is a time that I stop visiting that organization. I have written rants on Twitter in the past about using the Chrome console to remove those annoying popups (hint: it’s super simple). I firmly believe that I have full control over the content on my computer. I am paying for my computer, the electricity, the connection, and in some cases each byte that travels to and from my computer. In that regard: Ads are theft in my book. They take up resources (data limits, processor cycles, etc) that would not have been used otherwise. They have no place on the internet as far as I’m concerned.
Besides the ad content itself, ads are now vectors for malware. They have been for a long time. There are horror stories from sites like Forbes and even YouTube were guilty of it for a while. People like Edward Snowden and even Bruce Schneier recommend that you don’t surf the web without ad blockers, and it’s not just for the reason of crappy ads: you’re being tracked every where you go on the web.
You are building a digital footprint on every site you go. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, Facebook is trying to build a digital profile of you in order to serve content to you better. Content that you don’t even want (most likely).
And the actions of Facebook now are exactly contrary to the origins of the internet. The internet was designed to be a free, open source of information. It was supposed to be a utopia of information available for everyone.
Now, they want to hold it hostage behind a veil of advertisements.
Gone are the days that people made videos and posts because they really enjoyed the topics. Now, it’s all about making a quick buck.
And that’s truly, truly sad.