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Facebook on Tuesday unveiled two moves to protect its advertising revenue: It's overriding ad blockers and giving consumers control over what kind of ads they see.
If you use ad blocking software, the company will override that and start showing ads on the platform. But even while forcing those ads, Facebook will also give you more control over what ads you see.
If this works, ads should become more relevant to users and more valuable to advertisers, and therefore more profitable for Facebook. If it backfires, Facebook will annoy users who are used to ad-blocking software, and could lose revenue as people opt out of ads. But with the rise of ad-blocking software, and the demand for accurately targeted ads, Facebook seems to be making a calculated choice.
"We've all experienced a lot of bad ads," Facebook's Andrew Bosworth wrote in a blog post announcing the new tools. "As a result of what we've learned, we've introduced tools to help people control their experience, improved how we decide which ads to show and created new ad formats that complement, rather than detract from, people's experience online."
Users can also opt to stop seeing ads from certain businesses or organizations that have added them to their customer lists. Or users can choose to stop seeing ads based on their interest — by going into your ad preferences and indicating you don't want to see ads about, say travel.
Bosworth, who is VP of ads and business platform, said that as Facebook offers its users more controls "to stop annoying, disruptive ads," it will also begin overriding ad blocks to show ads to desktop users with that 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," Bosworth wrote.
"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."
Facebook also said last week it has changed its newsfeed algorithm in an effort to reduce the amount of clickbait people see.
Correction: This story has been revised to include Bosworth's most recent title.