Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Smells like censorship, Big Brother · 2015-10-23 19:35 by Ben Williams

Many of you may be familiar with the fact that Axel Springer, the multi-gazillion-dollar media magnate, recently blocked users of ad blockers from one of its premier sites, Their site, their right – that’s what we said when it happened, and we meant it. If they choose to interact with users in this way, it’s better than no interaction at all.

But what does Papa Axel think about other people’s right to express themselves? Well, apparently not much. One of the independent moderators of our free and open forum discussed a workaround to the blockade, because they still wanted to access the site. Basically, they just talked about how to write a specific filter that users could add to their ad blocker to get around “Axel’s Wall.”

Last week, Axel Springer demanded that we take down those forum posts, in effect demanding that we censor what people had written on our own forum. Our response basically channeled former basketball player/current journalist Jalen Rose: Nah … not gonna be able to do it.

The plot thickens

Just a few minutes ago, a court in Hamburg served us with papers FORCING us to remove these specific forum posts. Apparently Axel Springer felt so strongly that they went to a court to get people to stop saying things they didn’t like. This is not without precedent: this week they sent a YouTuber a similar order after he decided to make a video describing how to circumvent …. the Wall.

So, we HAVE to remove these posts …

Gone but not forgotten!

We do not want to do this, we do not like that we have to do this and we will continue to fight in a legal way to make sure that these posts get back up where they belong: on the free and open Internet … where, last time I checked, this kind of stuff isn’t allowed.

We will continue to provide users with a tool that gives them control of their online experience, while providing publishers a way to monetize their content through the Acceptable Ads initiative.

And BTW, please take a screenshot of this page before we’re forced to delete it too. Good luck to Papa Axel on trying to circumvent free speech.

Update: Unfortunately, we had to close commenting to ensure that none of the commenters inadvertently get into legal trouble.

Comment [4]

  1. Matt · 2015-10-23 20:11 · #

    Can I have the method so I spread it across the internet?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Even if I had it I couldn’t share it — there could be legal repercussions. (I only wish I were kidding.)

  2. Sandra · 2015-10-23 22:45 · #

    I guess you mean this redacted post:

    This is all over the Internet and in Google cache.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Yep, that’s the one.

  3. bingo · 2015-10-24 09:17 · #


    filters anti adblock on

  4. mcdavis · 2015-10-24 12:29 · #

    Will Axel Springer reach across the ocean to an American posting on Twitter? Let’s find out:

    See also “censorship, routing around.”

Commenting is closed for this article.