Facebook starts blocking the ad-blockers, Google starts blocking Flash in Chrome, Netflix launches its speed test on mobile, the Secret Service tweets about Donald Trump, and what happens when a squirrel steals a GoPro?
Facebook Blocks Your Ad-Blocking
Facebook is taking a stand against ad-blockers by interfering with the way they operate. The social network will soon “begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software”. Which means hundreds of millions of people are about to get annoyed.
How is Facebook possibly going to achieve this seemingly impossible task? By disguising sponsored content so that ad-blockers no longer know what to block. Ad-blockers only work because advertising is easy to spot, but Facebook thinks it can successfully blur the lines.
Harassing people about adblockers and then having hideous pop-ups and loud ads on your site is a good way to get them never to come back.
— hushicho (@hushipro) August 1, 2016
To help soften the blow, Facebook is improving its ad control options for users. Those who are bothered by the ads they see on Facebook will be able to add and remove interests and businesses in order to fine-tune the whole experience. In other words, you’ll still see ads, but they should be more relevant and useful ads.
Two things will happen here: 1. The ad-blockers will fight back, and this will descend into a brutal game of cat and mouse. 2. Real content is likely to be filtered out as ad-blockers ramp up their efforts to control the flow of information on the internet.
Which just leaves me to ask, can someone pass the popcorn?!
Google Starts Blocking Adobe Flash
After many false dawns, Google is finally set to kill off Adobe Flash for good. Google has previously banned Flash ads and paused unimportant Flash content by default, but this time it’s going the whole hog and blocking Flash entirely.
This mercy killing will start in September with Chrome 53, and by the time Chrome 55 appears in December, HTML5 will be the only option unless a site only supports Flash. Even then, Google will prompt you to enable Flash only for that specific site, with HTML5 remaining the default.
— Gavin Millard (@gmillard) August 9, 2016
This change has been a long time coming, with Google first announcing its intentions in May 2016. At the time, having HTML5 as the default option was just a draft proposal, but it will soon become official company policy. And with Chrome now being the most popular web browser in the world, this is a watershed moment for Flash.
So, who’s organizing the funeral?
Netflix Speed Test Lands On Mobile
Netflix has turned its Fast.com broadband speed test into a mobile app, and it’s free to download on Android and on iOS right now. You could just point your mobile browser at the website itself, but where’s the fun in that? After all, everything has to have its own app these days, even MakeUseOf (on Android and on iOS) /plug.
The FAST Speed Test app is designed with simplicity in mind, so you can measure your broadband speed as quickly and as easily as possible. As is Netflix’s wont, the company explains everything you could possibly want to know about Fast.com and the accompanying mobile app in an epic Netflix Tech Blog post.
Secret Service Tweets About Trump
As you’re probably aware by now, Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, made some rather controversial comments about Hillary Clinton and gun ownership. But it was the reaction his comments garnered online which are of real interest here.
Trump said, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. But the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
This statement could be taken a number of ways, but the way most right-thinking people have taken it is that Trump was making a joke about Clinton possibly getting assassinated. Which is both unprecedented and unsettling. So much so that the Secret Service tweeted about it:
The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) August 9, 2016
Wow. Contrary to popular belief, Trump doesn’t have carte blanche to say whatever he wants without consequences. And this is a sure sign that even joking about the possible assassination of a fellow presidential candidate (who comes with her own baggage) isn’t going to win friends and influence people.
Watch a Squirrel Steal a GoPro Camera
And finally, squirrels are inquisitive little buggers. If, while spying on us from their treetop hideaways, they spot something that looks even remotely interesting, they will climb down, grab it, and take it back up for further investigation. And, as this video shows, that includes GoPro cameras.
We know this to be the case because Canadian YouTuber Viva Frei successfully sprang a trap for one squirrel, setting his GoPro down on the ground next to a squirrel-infested tree before slowly backing away. One of the squirrels duly obliged, stealing the camera and giving us all some memorable footage of a tree trunk and its branches.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Will Facebook succeed in blocking the use of ad-blockers? Are you pleased to see Google finally killing off Flash? Have you used Netflix’s simple speed test yet? What did you make of a) Donald Trump’s comments about the second amendment, and b) the Secret Service tweeting a reference to it? To what animal would you like to strap a GoPro?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Oatsy40 via Flickr