How to configure Adblock Plus' Malware, Social Media Button and Tracking blocking

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 31, 2013

Adblock Plus is without doubt one of the most popular ad blocking tools on today's Internet. It is available for browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, as well as mobile devices and does a solid job at getting rid of many of the ads that you are exposed to normally on the Internet.

While I dislike the idea of blocking advertisement on all sites, considering that Ghacks depends on ads to stay on the Internet, I can fully understand that Internet users want to block annoying ads. I'd count popup ads and media ads to that category as they may break the flow of what you are doing.

The extension has been criticized recently for its "acceptable ads" guidelines which allow some ads to be displayed. I do not want to rehash all that has been said about that, only that you can disable that in the program options so that all advertisement is blocked again.

If you have installed Adblock Plus anew recently on a supported system, you may have noticed a new first run dialog that promotes other uses of the program.

I have tested this in both Firefox and Google Chrome, and both display the options on a first run page after installation. I'm not sure if existing Adblock Plus users see that page as well after they update their version.

adblock plus malware social media tracking blocking

You can enable additional features on the page. You may know that the program uses subscription lists for the blocking that you subscribe to, and technically, those three suggestions you find listed here are just that.

Malware Blocking

This list is powered by Malware Domains, a service that aims to block malware by blocking connections to domains that are known to distribute it.

It runs in addition to the browser's own protection, which may warn you about attack pages that you are about to visit.

The malware blocking in Adblock Plus does not display warnings on the other hand, it either blocks connections from happening outright, for instance if a clean page tries to load contents from a blocked site, or blocks the connection halfway-through when you visit a blocked domain.

Social Media Button blocking

Social Media buttons are everywhere, and yes, I'm also using them here on this site. They do have two main purposes for me: first, it gives site visitors options to share contents more easily. While experienced users won't have any problems sharing contents manually, many users do not share contents if no such buttons are displayed on the page.

Second, search engines may use those information as signals for a site's popularity, and a site without them may be doing worse than a site that is making use of them.

Anyway, if you do not use social media or never share contents, then you may want to block the buttons to avoid them from being displayed. It also gets rid of potential tracking issues and may increase the load time of websites.

The list that Adblock Plus uses is Fanboy's Social Blocking List.

Tracking blocking

The third and final option that you have is to disable tracking on the Internet. While it does not take care of all tracking, it blocks a large amount of ad companies from tracking your movement on the Internet.

The list is based on EasyPrivacy.

List locations

adblock plus custom filter

Here are the locations of the list. You can add those to your copy of Adblock Plus if you do not get the First Run dialog:

You need to add them as custom subscriptions in the filter preferences.

Closing Words

All three options have been available before, but you had to subscribe to those lists manually to make use of the functionality.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.