China Will Soon Start Banning Ad Blockers

Ad blockers, one of the few tools enabling you a normal internet browsing will soon be illegal in China. Starting September 1st, China will ban every ad blocker software as part of an effort to bring the internet under control.

ADBlock

This news would be immensely  infamous if any other country decided to ban ad blockers, but since China already banned Google, and is controlling the internet in many ways, this is just another step in China’s efforts to control the internet. A post on the Adblock Plus blog states that China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued “Interim Measures for Internet advertising” last week, in which they explain in detail what types of online advertising they are planning to control, as well as why they are planning on blocking ad block software.

The statement (originally in Chinese) states that, “Among other things the rules seek to target false or misleading online advertising for prescription medicine and tobacco; require government approval to run ads for health products, medical supplies, veterinary medicine and pesticides; necessitate that paid search results be clearly differentiable from organic results; and oblige advertisers to be responsible for the authenticity of their ad content,” and that the following ad block usage scenarios are prohibited, “the use of Internet services, network devices, applications etc. to disrupt normal advertising data, tampering with or blocking reasonable advertisements from third-party businesses, unauthorized loading of advertisements;”

As you can see, they want to strip away the users from their right to not watch numerous ads; maybe they want to better track users via ads, or Chinese government just wants to control internet advertising more strictly; both possible causes for this decision seem probable. The ban should start on September 1st, less than two months from today.

As the post on Adblock Plus blog states, “There are apparently 159 million people who block ads on their mobile devices in China. Desktop numbers are relatively low by comparison. All of them, though, are going to have a fundamental right snatched from them come September when their government will take away their right to block ads.” Adblock Plus also stated that if (and when) the new rule comes into effect, they will leave China.

This is all really confusing. It seems that China wants to prevent malicious third-party ads from harming the users, but at the same time they also want for users to be unable of disabling ads. This could lead to the beginning of the end for ad blocking software since other countries could follow China’s decision and start banning the software; as we all know, many torrent sites are banned in many countries, since it’s stated that they practically “steal” money from big publishing companies. Using that logic, it could be said that Adblock software “steal” money from big name ad agencies, by denying ads to be seen by all users. If China starts to ban ad blockers, you can expect that ad companies start talking about banning ad blockers in the rest of the world. We just hope that this will stay inside China borders.

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