Facebook likes to make a big deal about giving users more control over their privacy, but the company’s support ends the moment you begin using a tool offered by someone else. According to a recent report from the BBC, Facebook works hard behind the scenes to make it as difficult as possible for users to take advantage of third-party ad blockers on the platform.
According to the report, Facebook layers in dozens of lines of code in every page to prevent ad blockers from working. It fools ad blockers by breaking up the word “sponsored” into small chunks, or by inserting a bunch of extra letters. What’s worse, these efforts make the entire site less efficient, and also get in the way of screen reading technology for visually impaired users.
Thankfully Facebook does let you control the types of advertising you see, but it doesn’t allow you to get rid of it — and likely never will.
“Although you can’t opt out of seeing ads entirely, you can influence the types of ads you see by giving us feedback or hiding ads and advertisers that you don’t want to see,” Facebook wrote in its Help Center.
it makes sense from a business perspective why Facebook won’t let you block ads, but it’s frustrating to hear the company talk repeatedly about how much it values user privacy while working to limit your choices at the same time.