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Judge Rules Users Have No Right To Alter Facebook's Look Or Hide Ads

     
6:35 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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A federal judge ruled that Facebook has the right to exclude users if they install a program that alters the look of its website and swaps out its ad offerings.

In a ruling issued Thursday in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo dismissed an antitrust complaint filed by Sambreel, a controversial advertising company that offers products with names like PageRage that let users tweak the look of their Facebook page.

“We are pleased by the decision,” said Facebook’s lead counsel, Craig Clark, in an email statement. Sambreel’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Judge Rules Users Have No Right To Alter Facebook's Look Or Hide Ads [gigaom.com]
7:12 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Uh-oh. This could spell the end of one of the most popular browser add-ons for Facebook called Social Fixer. It's a free add-on that lets you alter the look of FB, including things you don't want to see like ads.

a program that alters the look of its website and swaps out its ad offerings

I wonder how important that "and" is?
7:38 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the decision. But I can imagine Facebook is probably more concerned about these applications blocking ads, and less concerned about a Hello Kitty themed FB page.

Facebook is a free social media site, and users should expect ads. Maybe in the near future, Facebook could offer a premium account where users could pay monthly, or yearly to hide ads.
8:42 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I see FB going the way of My Space in the near future.
9:52 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Sane judgement IMHO.

Any user not liking the way a website looks: nobody is forcing them to use it in the first place.

Replacing ads on somebody else's work: that's stealing in my book.

[edited by: swa66 at 9:52 pm (utc) on Nov 30, 2012]

9:52 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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users should expect ads

I couldn't agree more. I've always told the owner FB wouldn't be after him as much as they already are if he got rid of the ability to block ads. The way I see it, he's encouraging people to steal from FB and that's not right.
9:56 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hold on, didn’t courts uphold a ruling that allows code/plug-ins/advertising networks to tweak the look of websites (e.g. add hyperlinks and graphic advertisements)? This is what the Adware industry does. Why protect FB and not corporate websites from Adware?

In the broadcast world Tivo sort of does the same thing. I too agree with the decision. But what about the double standards?
11:18 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why not just use adblocker Plus. I've been using it for so long that I forgot. Then recently wondered how FB was making $$ from ads. Then I looked in another browser. Goodness, they're inundated.
11:28 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Good decision. FB owns the site, not the users.
4:10 am on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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tweak the look of websites (e.g. add hyperlinks and graphic advertisements)?

There's a big difference between adding more ads and other elements to a site versus removing the ones that are already there.
7:38 am on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There was little chance the judge ruled the other way which is understandable but I think the sticky component was the ad removal.

I completely see the other side too, altering the appearance of a page to make it what YOU want it to be worked well for Myspace and so it is possible, as long as ads are respected.

I think these plugins aren't going anywhere and I'd be very surprised to see Facebook start banning its own members for using layout altering browser code, I just wouldn't want to be the site promoting such code downloads.
11:57 am on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I do not see that this ruling would create a new problem for things like Social Fixer. The ruling was that Sambreel cannot prevent FB from blocking PageRage users. I very much doubt that the author of Social Fixer would sue FBin similar cirumstances.
9:44 pm on Dec 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why protect FB and not corporate websites from Adware?

What do you expect from a judicial system that allowed this same company to trademark the word 'face'? Big money == Big justice!
5:07 pm on Dec 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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How will this affect Firefox and Adblock Plus - I could not use many sites, esp google without this plugin.
1:26 pm on Dec 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I never imagined going to court just because you have a mispelled or wrong choice of name. Awful.

[edited by: httpwebwitch at 9:43 pm (utc) on Dec 5, 2012]
[edit reason] removed url [/edit]

6:16 am on Dec 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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worked well for Myspace


Only for long enough for the founders to sell it to Murdoch before it started its slide to oblivion.

Hold on, didn’t courts uphold a ruling that allows code/plug-ins/advertising networks to tweak the look of websites (e.g. add hyperlinks and graphic advertisements)? This is what the Adware industry does. Why protect FB and not corporate websites from Adware?


In both cases they are refusing to do anything: the courts will not

1) stop users from altering pages, or
2) (as far as I can see) stop people distributing software that alters websites, or,
3) stop websites from banning users for the above.

Does anyone hear who runs a forum or other UGC site want a precedent for regulation? Do you want to have to consult a lawyer or a rule book when you ban a user?
9:06 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've always informed the proprietor FB wouldn't be after him as much as they already are if he got rid of the capability to prevent ads. The way I see it, he's motivating individuals to grab from FB and that's not right.
2:13 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The way I see it, he's motivating individuals to grab from FB and that's not right.


The court has ruled that it is legal.

Facebook did not go after him, he went after Facebook. Hardly anyone commenting on this thread seems to have read the article far enough to even see who is suing who!