13 Feb 2019

uBlock silently enables Acceptable Ads for everyone

Few days ago I started seeing ads on ebay. Weird.. confused I blocked the ad manually and forgot about it. The next time I visited ebay, the ad was showing again. I blocked it again. Third time.. Yes, you guessed right, the ad was back. So, I started to investigate why my filter rule was not working.

Few minutes later, the culprit was found:

This rule disables all cosmetic filters for eBay. But where does it come from?

I went to examine my filter lists. And then I went into full WTF mode:

Why the fuck I have "Acceptable Ads" list enabled?

Hidden change in uBlock

I'm absolutely sure I never added "Acceptable Ads" to my filters. So, my next stop was uBlock site. There is no mention of enabling acceptable ads anywhere. Weird.

Then I checked their Github. And in the middle of innocent changes there was this commit named "update of third-party assets"

Yes, this means that the acceptable ads list was silently added and enabled for everyone!


Unfortunately, these days you're getting automatic updates for everything. This means you have to trust software authors to do the right thing. But sometimes they do whatever they want and give a big "fuck you all" to their users.

What a shame.

10 thoughts on “uBlock silently enables Acceptable Ads for everyone

    • Thanks for your comment. I wanted to state just the facts, so let's not make this into "you should be using X/Y/Z instead" discussion. :)

      I have uBlock installed for historical reasons. Considering this experience, I'll most likely be switching to Nano Adblocker or AdGuard.

      I won't be even considering uBlock Origin because of author's childish atttitude. List you mentioned in your 2nd comment is a good example, author's Twitter feed is another.

      • Oh of course, that wasn't my intention. More of a heads up, since you seem to put your time into better things than keeping up with internet drama.

        Btw, Nano Adblocker says it's based on uBlock Origin.

        • I know that.

          My only issue with uBlock Origin is the maintainer whining about everything and being a prick in general. Furthermore, Nano is already 500+ commits away from uBlock Origin. :)

  1. If you go to bottom of the "Badware risks" page on uBlock Origins GitHub wiki you'll see a bunch of links to discussions of uBlock vs. uBlock Origin and why you should be using uBlock Origin.
    {hidden link}

  2. This also happened few days ago for adblock plus on chrome, i think the issue is with adsense itself

  3. You might want to take a look at PiHole. It's a DNS based ad-blocking service which makes it much more effective than browser extension based ad-blockers.
    Have you ever visited a site and been prompted with something like: Please disable UBlock to read this article?
    With PiHole this is not the case because the website can't detect it. I run it on my Raspberry Pi 3B+ and have no ads on any device in my home network.
    And if you still want to disable ad-blocking on certain sites, for example to support the creator, you can add a whitelist entry.
    Also you will be surprised how many google-related queries will be blocked :P

    • I looked at Pi-hole half a year ago.

      It says it supports Debian. So, I tried to install it on my NAS where I already have web server, torrent client, git repo and what not. Pi-hole installer f*ked up both the network setup and web server and I spent several hours just to get NAS back up and running.

      Unless you decide to run it on a dedicated device (read-Raspberry Pi), don't bother. It's crap.

      If I ever feel adventurous again, I'll try Adguard Home. I'm very happy with their products on both Android and Apple platforms, so I might as well try the DNS version. :)

  4. Automatic updates, especially for browsers' extensions, are now, in fact, too common.
    Thanks for the advice. We have to keep always our eyes open ... and this is quite annoying.

    Internet these days force us to use such anti-yyyy extensions ... and it's a bit sad.
    Was it better when we had text-only and small-images' pages? LOL :P


    Comments already have become an ad-blocking-solution suggestion thread per se :)

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