Mark Zuckerberg

It was a simple, direct question asked more than once today at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. There are ads on Facebook. Will there be ads in Facebook Home, the new Android home screen replacement (along with its snazzy if underwhelming new phone) that'll be available starting next week?

Apparently those of us in the audience needed a little clarification, despite the answer having been delivered just minutes before.

"Yup," said Mark Zuckerberg, this time leaving absolutely no doubt.

At some point, Facebook Home will have ads. Not next week, but somewhere down the road.

And you'll be perfectly OK with that. And if you're not, it won't matter.

For one thing, we have absolutely no idea how Facebook plans to implement adverts in Facebook Home and, more specifically, Cover Feed, which is its "put useful stuff in your lock screen" implementation. It could be the most beautifully designed advertisement in the history of advertisements. Would that be so bad? We simply don't know yet. 

For another, we get used to things we don't like fairly quickly. Remember when Facebook didn't have ads? The elders among us probably do, but neither do they complain about them anymore.

Or maybe the shock and concern comes from the fact that so many in-app advertisements in Android apps are obtrusive, unattractive, poorly designed banners that are an eyesore at best, and make you want to uninstall the app at worse. If Facebook Home does things that route, I'll be the first out the door. But that's a pretty unlikely scenario. Chances are they won't be in Cover Feed -- Zuckerberg left a smidge of wiggle room -- but then again, we just don't yet know.

(Update: ABC News' Joanna Stern got Facebook to say Cover Feed ads will probably be in the same sort of design as Cover Feed stories.)

No, any kneejerk reactions about Facebook -- which, by the way, makes money off you 13 different ways before you even sign in -- eventually adding ads isn't just premature, it's likely as irrelevant as all the cries of "I'm leaving Facebook this time, I mean it!" You might not be willing to stick around, but there are millions and millions of others who will. 

There are 45 comments

coraphise says:

Ads on my homescreen launcher? Definite pass now.

Ads on Facebook? I'm sorry, I don't remember seeing them now let alone "back in the day". I guess there's something to be said for browser extensions for those times I actually do visit the site.

If they want to go the ad route, they better quickly offer a paid version for everyone who's going to actually use this on a regular basis.

jerrod6 says:

I think developers should be compensated for their hard work, so when I see an app in the play store I try to buy the paid version otherwise there will be the free version with ads or less functionality.

A phone with a home screen with ads? No matter how good they look I will not go there not after I paid for the phone. Just not going to happen.

Raptor007 says:

I have no problem compensating developers for their time and the apps I use. BUT, if I paid for an app and down the road they decide to go free and put ads in I expect not to be inundated with their garbage ads. I paid for an ad free app (Angry Birds) and now its chock full of ads all the time.

So if developers go that route, they can count me out and I will simply stick with phones that are rooted so I can d/l and side load an Ad Blocker app.

forfrosne says:

You never paid for Facebook. They provide a free service. Either you allow them to show advertisements without complaining or you ask them to allow a paid version without ads.

worknman says:

How about a paid version with all the features offered by the 'Social Fixer' browser extension? I'd pay a couple bucks a month for that.

ISS2 says:

Ditto. I totally became disinterested when I saw Phil blog that. Trebuchet should suffice. It does look nice and clean, however, but fb doesn't rule my life...

Gator352 says:

If I see anyone using this on a regular basis, I'm going to slap them for not getting a life.

Grahaman27 says:


JonJJon says:

Slap them across the face with a nice thick book; "Life for Dummies: How to live a real life that doesn't revolve around Zuckerberg's bank account"

voiceonly says:

hahaha, make sure it's the Facebook for Dummies book and when you slap them yell.. DUMMY!!! and I mean you! hahahahahaha

TechGuy21 says:

What ads? I blocked those a long time ago!
The lockscreen is meant to be a transitory place, I don't see putting important info there, especially since the screen only stays on for 5 seconds. It's just supposed to keep you from accidental actions.

ultravisitor says:

There are ads in the news feed that can't be blocked. They appear if your friends like crap or whenever they vote for something like American Idol.

slpaige says:

I feel sorry for people who are so desperate for their facebook fix that they'll actually go try this.

jaymars says:

I can't think of how this phone and launcher would benefit anyone else but Facebook.

l00natic71 says:

There is a saying, if you are not paying for it. You are not the customer, you are the product.
Yes, this is all to make FB money.

icebike says:

That's fine for Facebook the Service.

Not so fine for the Phone that You paid for.

l00natic71 says:

It still is the FB application that people would use. My guess is that if you don't sign in onto it, it will not show FB ads, then again, it may mandatory to sign in onto facebook on that phone.

nsnsmj says:

I've got no problem with ads within a free app (that's not a launcher or lock screen replacement), but having them on my home screen and lock screen is a big no. I don't care how pretty they may look.

msatlas says:

I hope it makes money, because I own facebook stock. But...I don't have any intention of using it on my phone.

Enjoy holding that bag.

icebike says:

One can hold a lot of bags and make a good return on them without believing in the product.
I rode AAPL from around 230 to over 700 then bailed. It might even be time to get back into Apple stock even though I only use Android.

If Facebook can monetize enough segments they may end up being lucrative even as more and more people move away from it as they grow/wise up.

He holds the mic like he is holding a carrot!

FredBassett says:

one of the most pointless things ever done. FB is dying bit by bit and not a moment too soon

BasPilot says:

If it weren't for morons thinking how awesome everything they said is, I'd be totally done with Facebook... As it is, I go there about once a month just to make fun of things...

As for stock, I have Walmart stock, so go there instead of facebook. It has now run out of cool.

Matt120- says:

Wow you must be so cool. I wish I could be as cool as you! "Psh...I only go to FB once a make fun of things"...what a boring life you have. You hate FB that much to where you dont use it BUT find the time to log in "once a month" and make fun of things? You elistest fucking loser. I cant stand people like you. Go out, make some friends, get a social life but PLEASE for the love of God get off your pedestal. I wanna fucking punch people like you in the throat. Mr fucking I'm so cool. Please.....

Lol you're an idiot to pay for this shit to have ads shove in your face...with a 2 years contract.

Wow. FB you're dirty whore.

Oh man I am so over Facebook! It's so stupid and I hate hearing about people's personal lives... I am going to deactivate my account. Hold on let me go update my status real quick first. :P

Too bad i can't "like" your comment here

I wouldn't use Facebook Home even if there were no ads. I'm sure tweens will love it though.

"You might not be willing to stick around, but there are millions and millions of others who will."

I'm sure Tom at MySpace thought the same thing. As quickly as FB grew it can die even faster.

glazedfaith says:


JonJJon says:

I'm looking forward to Facebook Central going back to being Android Central soon.

Phil should make an Android Central Home :D

ScottJ says:

It's a bit disappointing how many articles on this site seem to come down to one sentiment, "Yes, you are going to get screwed, you might as well accept it and bring some lube."

I'm reminded of the carrier detect fisaco, and the original One's horrible memory management as recent examples.

icebike says:

This site (AC) makes their living by pushing ads in your face. It pays the bills and puts food on their tables.

So they can't very well come out against something that puts ads in your face without looking like they have one too many faces.

They can put all the ads they want on facebook. I stopped using that rubbish a long time ago.

Incubus123 says:

HAHAHA what a piece of shit this is, not only will failbook get ALL the information they want about you from your phone, but they will make money off of you by Pushing ads up your ass. And all this on a phone you've paid for. How splendidly shitty! Seriously, i could get the deal without the ads.. but who in their right mind would choose to use a launcher that has ads.

FreudSlipped says:

First, this is a trial balloon. The risk created by running this product out onto the market is minimal. The potential for reward outweighs the financial risk.

Second, The demographic keyed for this phone is most likely 12 to 18 year olds, predominately female, non-tech proficient.

crxssi says:

HA HA! This whole thing is just so sad. People stupid enough to buy a phone specifically for Facebook will then have to put up with Ad's???? Unreal. What is more sad is that it might not even immediately fail like it should...

toddjy says:

I have a Facebook account just in case someone might want to look me up. I check it every couple of months at most. I signed up, saw the feed, and realized what junk it was.

biln says:

dam, facebook got some ballz. if a regular android phone came out with these specs today it would probably cost the same, but with this phone you also got to see adds. this phone should be $99 bought outright if it's gonna have ads. I know phones have adds on them now if you run your free apps, but this will have ads out of the box probably on the homescreen.

menzoom says:

Google plus awaits.

Pascalwb says:

Who would buy this sh*t. Spam on HS + ads on HS.

And the lockscreen. No part of your life Facebook will not intrude on.

ludesleep says:

Nobody...but I'm sure Obama will have fun giving them away.