#adblockers are the future


08 Nov 15 - 01:08

We’ve recently seen big companies actively speak out against the use of adblockers online. They’ve come out, almost guns blazing, with severe animosity towards the small plugins/extensions that prevent unwanted advertisements to be displayed on websites that you visit.

This morning I woke up to the latest company jumping on the adblock hate bandwagon: Facebook. Facebook is more concerned than ever about ad blockers.

According to the article, Facebook has seen a steady decline in revenue that it generates by littering our once “peaceful” news feed with “hot singles near you” and “buy this car that you totally want” posts. In a recent iOS update, these types of ads have natively been blocked by Apple. * Good for you.*

###What is an adblocker? An adblocker is usually a small extension that you install on either Firefox or Chrome (other browsers contain this functionality as well to a certain extent). This extension’s entire job is to filter known advertising hosts (also known as 3rd party hosts) and prevent them from loading. This not only saves bandwidth, which is important on a mobile device, but it also provides you with a much cleaner web browsing experience and, most importantly, protects your privacy.

This last point being a very important one. Over the years the web has evolved from something which was primarily used for research, into something the whole world uses and as such, plays an important role in our lives. However, a very important concern has risen from this and that is privacy. In order for online advertising to be more effective, companies such as Google and Facebook deploy algorithms which profile you. Every website you visit becomes a data point in their databases and they use this very effectively to understand who you are as a person. This translates into personalised advertisements and, companies which have very distinct and often disturbingly accurate profiles of you.

###How? You know those little like buttons on the bottom of pages? Or the Google Analytics scripts which websites install to track how well they’re doing? Yeah, those are the guys that also track you.

If you’re logged into Facebook, they store a Cookie on your PC to identify you as somebody who is an authenticated user and who is allowed to see the content on Facebook. These cookies are the same cookies used when you visit a website with a like button. Facebook records every website you visit and stores it in a database. It then compares it to your likes and comments on Facebook as well as the data you provide Facebook with to create a profile that will very accurately provide targeted ads.

Google uses the same principle with its Google Analytics tool.

But until big companies understand that we are sick and tired of obtrusive and obnoxious advertising that tracks and profiles us, we need do something about that; and it’s called an ad blocker. You can download them for free.

Some of the more popular ones include:

Chrome

Firefox

If you’re not sure how to install these, go find a teenager.



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