Tech News

Facebook Blocks Ad-Blockers, Google Kills Adobe Flash… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 10-08-2016

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.

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 Why the Fight Back Against Ad-Blockers Should Matter to You Now Ad-blocking has changed our browsing experience. The fightback by web publishers is changing it further. But if they defeat ad-blocking, what does it mean for the future of our Internet experience? Read More 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 Intel Stops You Overclocking CPUs, Google Ditches Flash Ads... [Tech News Digest] Intel prevents you from overclocking its CPUs, Google bans Flash ads completely, Microsoft reveals Windows 10 changes, Google protects your emails, and Space Invaders is even more fun in real life. Read More and paused unimportant Flash content Chrome Blocks Flash Ads, Minecraft Makes You Sad... [Tech News Digest] Chrome battles Flash, Notch hates being rich, Netflix becomes less Epix, T-Mobile limits your data, and Star Stuff explores the early life of Carl Sagan. Read More 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.


This change has been a long time coming, with Google first announcing its intentions in May 2016 Google Disables Flash by Default, Netflix Is Bad for Your Health... [Tech News Digest] Google hammers another nail in Flash's coffin, Netflix wastes too much of your time, Project Spark loses its spark, GCHQ joins Twitter, and how the Internet reacted to Infinite Warfare. Read More . 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 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 (no longer available) /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 Netflix Encrypts Your Video Streams, Hulu Kills Its Free Service... [Tech News Digest] Netflix secures your streams, Hulu insists everybody pays, proving Bill Gates stole the source code, play 2,000 Amiga games on the Internet Archive, and watch Google mercilessly trolling Apple. Read More , the company explains everything you could possibly want to know about 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 Clicking Consequences: Why Donald Trump Is Your Fault Every time you click an article about Donald Trump, the media thinks that is what you want to read, and so it spends more time talking about Trump. Stop clicking! Read More , 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:


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 Hillary Clinton's Email Scandal: What You Need to Know The Hillary Clinton email scandal is confusing, isn't it? What you need is an in-depth look at what facts are known about the case, to help you understand its significance. Read More ) 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 8 Things You Probably Don't Know About GoPro Cameras GoPro action cameras have enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity in the last few years, but despite their prevalence, there is a lot you probably don't know about the devices. Read More .

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

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  1. Joe
    August 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Google Starts Blocking Adobe Flash:

    How do we use Pandora than? Sin they're still on Adobe Flash. Pandora still works - but it's slower. And sometimes Chrome has issues.

  2. Anonymous
    August 11, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I make it abundantly clear to everyone I support as an IT person that Ad and script Blockers are configured for the safety of the computer and the user's data. If any web site wants to try to restrict ad blocking, it needs to own up to its responsibility for the risk of malware installation and either host its own advertising as a first party or audit and guarantee the safety of 100% of the advertisements being served from third parties. If they're not willing to take those steps, there's no rational reason for end users to stop blocking ads.

  3. Anonymous
    August 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    "Facebook Blocks Your Ad-Blocking"
    One more reason to stay away from Facebook.

  4. Anonymous
    August 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    PC Mag has done it recently - despite my using Adblock. It's now banner ads, tombstone ads and even pop up's. Sigh...