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Code monkeys set sights on Facebook Ads

A blogger has released a simple set of instructions for blocking the third-party 'Facebook Beacon' feature. Could the Social Ads themselves be next?

Move over, iPhone: The cool system to "jailbreak" these days is Facebook's new advertising initiative.

Two aspects of Facebook Ads--the "Beacon" and friend-recommendation-equipped "Social Ads"--have already garnered some skepticism around the Web for being potentially invasive, annoying, or both. Many Facebook users, myself included, haven't even seen these advertisements yet, but code-savvy developers like Nathan Weiner of The Idea Shower have already decided that we might want out.

Blocking the Beacon, Weiner wrote, is remarkably easy. All that's required, according to a set of instructions, is a site-blocking Firefox plugin, and then the Beacon application can't send Facebook any information about what you've been doing on partners' sites. Valleywag theorizes that the Social Ads program may be the next target.

Facebook has plenty of smart engineers on board, and they'll likely find a way to "un-jailbreak" the company's advertising platform; think about how Apple has repeatedly released software updates for the iPhone that (among other things) prevent clever users from unlocking them and installing third-party software.

But this should be a heads-up for Facebook: when people are hard at work on workarounds, it's a sign that they might not be too happy with the concept.