It’s Zuckerberg in a death match against increasingly savvy ad blocking technology, and the rest of us are caught in the middle.
We can almost hear the cries from here.
“To the keep!” “Man the ramparts.” Or whatever else they say in the heat of epic battles.
It’s not the newest video game, but the real life battle going on between Facebook and the companies behind ad blocking technology.
And it reads every bit like the global thriller that it is, complete with exploding rockets; a private meeting with the Pope (no, Z did not wear a hoodie); and intrigue aplenty from the European Union.
“The most aggressive force in ad-blocking technology is pitted against the world’s mightiest social network. The stakes have never been higher for both parties. And there seems no end in sight, as Adblock Plus continues to attack Facebook with the bloody ferocity of a Mongol horde,” writes Lauren Johnson in AdWeek
“Facebook has said it is determined to vanquish the ad blockers, working around the clock to bypass their software and ensure its ads are seen by its billion-plus users worldwide,” Johnson writes. “But Adblock and other players including Shine Technologies (whose website proclaims that ‘ad blocking is a consumer right’) are digging in, promising to weaken Facebook’s advertising stronghold.”
At issue? Billions of dollars, global expansion and domination of not just our data, but how we actually use the Internet.
As Johnson notes, “…Facebook’s anti-ad-blocking mandate also bolsters the argument that it wants nothing less than to rule the interactive experience of us all. If one subscribes to Zuckerberg’s vision of the future, the narrative goes, then Facebook will control everything from how we communicate with one another to how we consume news and entertainment to how we watch videos and even access the internet.”
Far fetched? Not when you consider the billions of dollars that are at stake. Empires have been conquered for less. Throw in the complicated relationship Facebook has with telecoms around the globe, some of which are blocking ads at the source so users don’t have to, and we are talking international policy-setting that quite literally impacts the population of the planet.
Johnson does a great job of describing the various moving parts of the current conflict, and her article is long, in-depth and well worth the read (and would be even better in print.)
For brands, marketers and readers caught in the crossfire, the fallout from all of this will have long-lasting effects on the way we consume content online. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic to predict that, centuries from now, this will mark a watershed moment in history.