Adblock Plus Fights Facebook Block, Twitter Blamed for Terrorism… [Tech News Digest]

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Adblockers fight back against Facebook crackdown, Twitter isn’t responsible for ISIS, Spotify Gaming soundtracks your sessions, President Obama has his own Facebook chatbot, and the new Star Wars movie gets a new trailer.

The Facebook Ad-blocking War Begins

Just days after Facebook cracked down on adblockers — informing everyone who uses an adblocker they’ll see ads on the social network regardless — AdBlock Plus has circumvented Facebook’s block. And so the inevitable game of cat and mouse, as both sides try to outdo each other, has begun in earnest.

According to Adblock Plus, anyone using a fully up-to-date version of its adblocker will once again be able to hide Facebook ads. However, Facebook claims that in its rush to keep blocking ads, Adblock Plus is also obscuring legitimate posts. A spokesperson said, “This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue.”

It’s patently obvious how this is going to play out from here, with both sides trumping the other in a neverending battle to win the war. Adblock Plus is admitting as much, with the company’s Ben Williams saying:

“This sort of back-and-forth battle between the open-source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented; so it’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless — at any time. If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again, etc.”

We are, and always will be, on the side of Facebook on this issue, because we, like most other websites on the planet, rely on ads to pay bills. Simply put, if adblockers succeed then your favorite websites will either have to start charging for content or they’ll disappear without a trace.

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Twitter Cleared Over ISIS Killings

A judge has decided that Twitter cannot and should not be held responsible for the killings of two U.S. contractors in Jordan. Defense contractors Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr. and James Damon Creach were killed by an alleged ISIS supporter while training police recruits in Jordan in 2015.

The families of the two men sued Twitter claiming the company allowed “ISIS to use its social network as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits.” U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick disagreed, granting Twitter’s request to dismiss the lawsuit [PDF link].

He said, “As horrific as these deaths were, under the [US Communications Decency Act] Twitter cannot be treated as a publisher or speaker of ISIS’s hateful rhetoric and is not liable under the facts alleged.” He also called attempts to connect Twitter to the killings, “tenuous at best”.

Spotify Recommends Music for Gaming

Spotify has rolled out another new feature designed to help it maintain its lead (in popularity and usefulness) over Apple Music. This one, rather obviously called Spotify Gaming, is a category housing all of your favorite video game soundtracks and the music you listen to while gaming.

Video game soundtracks tend to stick in the minds of gamers, who can spend hours playing a game and hearing the same music played over and over again. But not all games boast classic soundtracks, which is why it’s crucial to have a playlist ready to accompany the on-screen action.

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Spotify Gaming covers both of these bases, with official soundtracks galore and curated playlists created to fit in with specific genres. The Gaming category will show up in Browse on desktop and the Android, iOS, and PlayStation apps. Or you can visit the Spotify Gaming website to create your own unique playlist.

President Obama Wants Your Messages

You can now message President Obama on Facebook, with the White House opening up a new line of communication between the POTUS and the people. President Obama apparently reads 10 letters sent to him by American citizens every day, and he’ll now read 10 Facebook messages too.

Why? Well, it helps maintain the pretense that the U.S. Government is listening to the people. Which is only really true at election time. Still, if your message is one of the handful chosen every day, it would make for a good conversation starter at a party. And possibly a conversation closer too, depending on the political beliefs of those you’re conversing with.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer

And finally, we have the new trailer for the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As you’re probably already aware by now, Rogue One isn’t a sequel to The Force Awakens. Instead it’s a spin-off showing how the plans for the Death Star came to be in the hands of the Rebel Alliance.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is therefore a prequel of sorts, with the events of this film leading up to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Rogue One is due to be released on December 16, 2016, and if this trailer doesn’t tempt you into booking a ticket immediately then I’m not sure anything will.

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Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Who will win the war between Facebook and Adblock Plus? Should Twitter be held responsible for what people say and do on its platform? What music do you listen to while gaming? What do you want to message to President Obama? What do you think of the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Jasper M via Flickr

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