Facebook caused a privacy controversy this summer when it announced that it would begin blocking ad blockers. At the time, Facebook said that “part of the mission of the company is to create connections between people and businesses,” and ad blockers got in the way of that goal.
Of course, what that really meant was that Facebook was losing valuable ad revenue. And the plan to ban ad blockers evidently worked — Facebook announced last month that its desktop ad revenue was up 18 percent after the change. However, the site is putting some measure of control back in the hands of its users, announcing this week that people can now block ads related to alcohol and parenting.
“Those are the two most common topics,” Mark Rabkin, VP of core ads at Facebook, told Ad Age. “For families who experience the loss of a child, to continue see ads about parenting and new baby stuff, that can be really upsetting.”
This is the first time Facebook has allowed users to proactively block a subject. Previously, the site’s ad preferences only allowed you to choose the topics you are interested in. So while this change seems like a small step, anything that gives users more control over the ads they are exposed to is a good thing.