Facebook is coming to terms with the fact that people generally dislike ads, and this means both good and bad things for its users. The good news first: Facebook has announced that it will update its ad preferences, allowing users to pick and choose what kind of ads they see alongside content on the site. Essentially, this update allows you to remove categories from the list of things Facebook has determined you might like, allowing the ads you see to fall more in line with your actual tastes.
Obviously, this is beneficial to Facebook as well, since serving people with a bunch of ads that are irrelevant to their interests isn’t something that results in a lot of clickthroughs. In addition to broad categories such as cats or travel, Facebook is also allowing users to remove specific businesses and organizations from their ad preferences, so if you’ve found your way onto a company’s customer list, you can now limit the number of their advertisements that reach you – at least as far as Facebook is concerned.
Now the bad news: those of you who say no to ads entirely through the use of ad blocker will soon notice that it’s less effective on Facebook. The company says it will begin showing ads on the desktop version of Facebook even if users have an ad blocker installed, though it didn’t really elaborate on what users can expect. Facebook does point out, however, that showing ads to those users isn’t the result of some kind of deal that sees it paying ad blocker developers to whitelist the ads it shows.
While we imagine some users will make good use of the improved ad controls, it’s hard to see ad block users being at all happy with this news. Facebook says it will working to improve these features as time goes on, which suggests that its new ad controls may be a little rough around the edges, at least to start.