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|Original author(s)||Michael Gundlach|
|Initial release||December 8, 2009|
Chrome, Safari, Opera:
3.46.0 / April 22, 2019 (Google Chrome)
|Available in||51 languages|
AdBlock is a content filtering and ad blocking browser extension for the Google Chrome, Apple Safari (desktop and mobile), Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge web browsers. AdBlock allows users to prevent page elements, such as advertisements, from being displayed. It is free to download and use, and it includes optional donations to the developers. The AdBlock extension was created on December 8, 2009, which is the day that support for extensions was added to Google Chrome.
AdBlock's efforts are not related to Adblock Plus. The developer of AdBlock, Michael Gundlach, claims to have been inspired by the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox, which is itself based on the original Adblock that ceased development in 2004.
Gundlach launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdtilt in August 2013 in order to fund an ad campaign to raise awareness of ad blocking and to rent a billboard at Times Square. After the one-month campaign, it raised $55,000.
Sales and acceptable ads
AdBlock was sold to an anonymous buyer in 2015 and on October 15, 2015 Gundlach's name was taken down from the site. In the terms of the deal, the original developer Michael Gundlach left operations to Adblock's continuing director, Gabriel Cubbage, and as of October 2, 2015, AdBlock began participating in the Acceptable Ads program. Acceptable Ads identifies "non-annoying" ads, which AdBlock shows by default. The intent is to allow non-invasive advertising, to either maintain support for websites that rely on advertising as a main source of revenue or for websites that have an agreement with the program.
AdBlock uses the same filter syntax as Adblock Plus for Firefox and natively supports Adblock Plus filter subscriptions. Filter subscriptions can be added from a list of recommendations in the "Filter Lists" tab of the AdBlock options page, or by clicking on an Adblock Plus auto-subscribe link.
Partnership with Amnesty International
On March 12, 2016, in support of World Day Against Cyber Censorship, and in partnership with Amnesty International, instead of blocking ads, AdBlock replaced ads with banners linked to articles on Amnesty's website, written by prominent free speech advocates such as Edward Snowden, to raise awareness of government-imposed online censorship and digital privacy issues around the world.
The campaign was met with both praise and criticism, with AdBlock's CEO, Gabriel Cubbage, defending the decision in an essay on AdBlock's website, saying "We’re showing you Amnesty banners, just for today, because we believe users should be part of the conversation about online privacy. Tomorrow, those spaces will be vacant again. But take a moment to consider that in an increasingly information-driven world, when your right to digital privacy is threatened, so is your right to free expression." Meanwhile, Simon Sharwood of The Register characterized Cubbage's position as "'You should control your computer except when we feel political', says AdBlock CEO".
AdBlock for Firefox
On September 13, 2014, the AdBlock team released a version for Firefox users, ported from the code for Google Chrome, released under the same free software license as the original Adblock. The extension was removed on April 2, 2015 by an administrator on Mozilla Add-ons.
The official site's knowledge base article on December 7, 2015 states that with version 44 or higher of Firefox desktop and Firefox Mobile, AdBlock will not be supported. The last version of Adblock for those platforms will work on older versions of Firefox.
On April 1, 2012, the developer tweaked the code to display LOLcats instead of simply blocking ads. Initially developed as a short-lived April Fool joke, the response was so positive that CatBlock was continued to be offered as an optional add-on supported by a monthly subscription.
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