r/techsupport Jun 25 '22

how can I block *every* presence of gambling websites on Facebook that is trying to pull a problematic grandparent back into gambling again? Open | Networking

I have a grandmother who is very old but she’s still able to use computers. Facebook has been the only outlet for her social life and since I’ve taught her how to use it, she’s been able to reconnect with old friends and go to events.

However, Facebook has been incredibly insidious promoting gambling related pages to her. My grandmother has had a long history of gambling and being an immigrant with limited use of English, her only source of support has been her family.

We’ve been able to curb her addiction for awhile but now it’s coming back full force. We noticed that especially during weekends, her Facebook feed on iOS is constantly advertising to her to back to the casino.

I blocked the local Facebook page, but it doesn’t stop their ads from appearing on her timeline. I have piHole installed network wide but even that doesn’t help because Facebook seems to have ways to circumventing this.

some caveats...

  • I can’t take Facebook away from her.
  • i can't make her use another mobile device. iOS is good for a reason and that is easy UX for old, non tech people
  • the exposure is mostly on mobile
  • i cannot uninstall the facebook app on her phone
  • i use pihole already. it cannot block facebook ads

I’m just so incredibly frustrated at how pervasive this platform is and how unregulated casino advertising is specifically targeting problematic gamblers.

I understand that she needs help, but my goal here is to also reduce the visual temptations from her with all the advertising.

312 Upvotes

113

u/Danno510 Jun 26 '22

opendns.org has content filtering which can be applied for all gambling sites.

Now, you won't be able to block the ads specifically on facebook since they host their own ads and you obviously don't want to block facebook itself, but when clicked on for a gambling site, the site itself won't resolve even though the ad would still be shown.

I know that's not a perfect solution, but would prevent the ad leading to gambling.

9

u/WisestAirBender Jun 26 '22

Now, you won't be able to block the ads specifically on facebook since they host their own ads and you obviously don't want to block facebook itself

Don't they have a separate url? Like we block google ads but google works fine.

I don't use Facebook. I'm assuming these are regular ads and not promoted posts etc?

11

u/shroudedwolf51 Jun 26 '22

Sadly, they have invested an egregious sum of cash into making sure that it's as difficult as possible to block their advertisements as possible.

And when it comes to using the applications and not a browser, it's basically a free-for-all. There are ways of mitigating some of it, but...

2

u/motsanciens Jun 26 '22

This is probably a good enough solution. I have been using it for years to try to protect my kids from getting to stuff online that they don't need to see. As a general tip, though, it is definitely not foolproof. I've had to take other measures to try to seal the gaps.

Family Link works for me because my kids use Chromebooks and Android phones, and I have it set so all sites must be explicitly whitelisted. If they hit a site they have never visited, it blocks them, and they can send me a request, which I get on my phone instantly and can approve or deny to add it to the whitelist. My only gripe is that one of my kids' accounts has an inexplicable bug where it redirects to Kids YouTube instead of regular YT, regardless of the device they're signed in on and despite the fact they're set up exactly like my other kid.

33

u/marcifyed Jun 26 '22

Go into FB settings > Permissions > Ad Preferences > Hide ads. It’s per ad but it should help.

11

u/wivaca Jun 26 '22

Given the fact the pihole has no effect this is probably the best answwer. All the other blocking services suggested are pretty much differ DNS filters like pihole.

19

u/Soomroz Jun 26 '22

Are you in Europe?

Because Facebook in Europe has the option to disable personalised ads. It's somewhere in it's settings.

When you disable personalised ads it doesn't read your history and won't show you ads related to your history.

So she may get other ads but very slim chance of gambling ads

10

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

Canada unfortunately

6

u/2020Wrangler Jun 26 '22

I’m getting A TON of those ads too. The government recently made sports betting completely legal, so I think all these companies threw their money into as much advertising as possible

4

u/shroudedwolf51 Jun 26 '22

There should still be an option to disable personalized advertisements. Or, at least, there was in the version of Facebook showed in US.

Not that it seems to do much, since the advertisements it shows me went completely unchanged from when it was to when it wasn't on. But, probably still worth ticking off.

2

u/Lives4games2 Jun 26 '22

In Canada I’m pretty sure you can change you ad preferences to show them less

34

u/epeen90 Jun 26 '22

Facebook Settings > Ads > Ad Topics > Gambling > See less

5

u/shroudedwolf51 Jun 26 '22

If Facebook has decided to show you adverts on a topic, that does literally nothing. Since the recent out break of crypto scams and grifts, for some bizarre reason, Facebook has decided that 2/3rds of the adverts it shows me are related to that bullshit. Hiding adverts in ad preferences, still happens. Telling it to show me less of those adverts in ad topics, nothing. Reporting the adverts for scams as scams, no change. It only started taking effect literally within the last month, after the bottom had fallen out of that market of fraud.

Hell if I know why it even decided to show me that nonsense, when I've been ranging from uninterested to actively hostile against the topic.

1

u/Unknown_Epic_Gamer Jun 26 '22

doesnt matter if they stare at each gambling ad for 12 secconds

8

u/Humble-Pop-3775 Jun 25 '22

I’m not sure if this will work within Facebook, but Cloudflare DNS has an option to block adult websites. Set her DNS servers to 1.1.1.3 and 1.0.03

2

u/nukefudge Jun 26 '22

Oh, never heard of that. Do they have other options as well, or just that one? Sounds kinda handy for certain cases, even if the lists are only controlled by them.

-7

u/Zoetje_Zuurtje Jun 26 '22

Cloudflare DNS is 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1. At least, the IPv4 is. I'm not sure if you need to set a different one for IPv6.

10

u/nitrosk Jun 26 '22

The aforementioned servers are to block adult and malware sites. 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 won’t do that.

1

u/Zoetje_Zuurtje Jun 26 '22

Ahh, okay, thanks.

7

u/atomicskier76 Jun 26 '22

Manually (pain in the ass but not that painful)

Log in on a desktop version to her facebook. Make her 15 years old. Find several of the ads and choose “hide ad” AND then why am i seeing this ad and you can further restrict from there. Find facebook ad preferences and filter through ad topics. Also below that choose ad settings and then “channels used to reach you”

A bit of futzing will get it more done than not and the age change will do a ton.

After that go on her ios device and go to screen time, then content and privacy then web content and restrict adult websites.

Consider this https://gamban.com/product

6

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

this seems like a good idea to put the age to 15

i'm just a bit worried that if i do this, facebook might lock her account and ask for proof of identity..

2

u/atomicskier76 Jun 26 '22

Try the rest then

8

u/OriginalGordol Jun 25 '22

I was going to say the browser plugin FB Purity, but that's only for desktop/laptop browsers (Chromium and Firefox specifically). Not the app or browsers on iOS/Android.

4

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

I need something that can be done on a network scale so even when she leaves the house it can also block from a google server piHole or something on iOS

1

u/dtallee Jun 26 '22

You cannot block ads in the Facebook app on iOS, period. The only solution is to uninstall the Facebook app and have her use Facebook on Safari with AdGuard installed.

3

u/nullpassword Jun 26 '22

dunno if it still works but should be able to set sites to the loopback address in the hosts file. but yeah pihole is probably easier.

6

u/fahque650 Jun 26 '22

Honestly I've been waiting for someone to sue the fuck out of them.

1

u/shroudedwolf51 Jun 26 '22

Sadly, just sitting around will do absolutely nothing. You have to be the change you want to see in the world. If you can't afford to sue them yourself, there's regulatory bodies to which you can file official complaints to. Organize other like-minded folks to do the same.

Also, civil participation is important. Not just whenever there's an election for the president, but the local stuff. Very few people attend your local town hall (or equivalent) meetings, so you preparing a statement ahead of time, voicing your concerns, and becoming chummy with the aides will have an effect. They may not be able to affect this directly, but if enough people do it, this will have a knock-on effect and be passed up the ranks.

Or, if you want nothing to change, you can do nothing and wait.

1

u/fahque650 Jun 26 '22

I don't have a gambling problem, so I don't really have a basis to sue for any types of damages, even though I have indicated to Facebook that I don't want to receive ads receive ads related to gambling.

I'm thinking more like someone that has a serious gambling porblem problem, self-excluded themselves from casinos in the area, told Facebook they don't want to see those types of ads, but still getting spammed with illegal online poker rooms and Chumba casino ads every single day.

2

u/Lavatherm Jun 25 '22

Best solution would be a router with web and content filter, or the old way internet connection sharing on a pc with a web and content filter.

2

u/websitebutlers Jun 26 '22

The more she looks at gambling related content, the more she’ll be targeted. It’s savvy marketers using Facebook pixels and various forms of tracking to target her with the ads. Maybe install watchdog or some other type of content filtering. Shit, even parental controls might be a good option.

2

u/scalyblue Jun 26 '22

Pfsense can do this level of blocking with meticulous enough filters...as far as outside the network, you can VPN her into the house network and force her to use the pfsense, or you can spin it up on something like a vultur or digitalocean instance

2

u/tolerant_man Jun 26 '22

Can u type keywords into the router and have them blocked

2

u/zaichii Jun 26 '22

Apart from all these technical fixes, you can “game” the ad algorithm by clicking on ads that are fine for them to see eg food, retail etc then Facebook will show more of those category of ads to them instead. Ofc runs the risk of them actually buying more but you could also engage with ads they won’t be interested in so they don’t buy even if they see more of those ads.

They might also use signals from off platform behaviour eg if she’s visiting gambling sites so you can block those sites with a chrome extension or content filters on phone too to help prevent them putting her in the basket of people interested in gambling ads.

2

u/varzat Jun 26 '22

Would atleast install adblock

2

u/Davoguha2 Jun 26 '22

This article covers the subject fairly well. Basically, you want to disable all identity/activity related ads - this will basically mean all ads to her are served based on the subject matter she is currently looking at, rather than her history.

It won't work perfectly nor instantly, but if you do this on basically any media account she has, it should help.

Also, consider setting up child protections on her device as an extreme measure.

Another consideration is to try to find a game that does not offer IAP which suits her needs (rare to find..) or find a game that suits her needs which can be hacked for free transactions, potentially giving her an outlet and hitting those neurons without actually spending (against terms of services - potentially illegal - this helped me a lot with my own gaming addictions)

https://www.allconnect.com/blog/how-to-stop-google-and-facebook-ads

8

u/Goffrier Jun 25 '22

Setup pihole on the network, get a few blocklists and done

10

u/insufficient_funds Jun 25 '22

I have a pihole and I’m just realizing it hasn’t blocked any ads on FB… I need to look for another block list to add

10

u/erastus25 Jun 26 '22

Unlock origin seems to catch most Facebook ads. I'd try pairing that with Firefox's Facebook container so that it's not pulling for your g'ma's browser cookies and it might be enough to do the trick.

Also, if it's morally okay to do so, check her fbook search history. If she's lurking on gambling pages then it won't matter what you do otherwise.

33

u/Desert_Ranger317 Jun 25 '22

Did you not read the post?

3

u/thegodmeister Jun 26 '22

FB hosts its own ads so pihole will not work on it unless you use Pihole to block FB in its entirety.

5

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 25 '22

Doesn’t work on Facebook pages

9

u/Status_Mechanic Jun 25 '22

https://socialfixer.com/

plugin's for every platform to block all sorts of stupid crap on FB, including ad's.

3

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 25 '22

Need something on iOS since that’s what my grandma uses the most, but thank you

3

u/Morgiliath Jun 25 '22

Unfortunately there really isn't any way to block ads on iOS short of a pihole or jailbreaking the device. There could be an alternative reader for Facebook like Apollo for Reddit, but I don't really use iOS. Any browser on an Iphone is just going to be safari with a different skin so extensions are not an option. If you were on Android you can use Firefox which allows extensions, or nearly any browser on a computer.

1

u/Status_Mechanic Jun 25 '22

There's a Safari download option, my work iPhone SE shows a Safari browser. No idea if that's close enough or not.

2

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

She uses the Facebook app itself.

Sorry, there’s a lot of exceptions here but it goes to show how insane Facebook is with how they do everything they can to make money.

I wish I could just make her not use the app, not use iOS, make a new Facebook page…but it’s just not a practical solution for a senior.

0

u/Status_Mechanic Jun 26 '22 edited Jun 26 '22

Not sure it'll work on the FB app, but you could try an ad-blocking DNS.

ipv4

76.76.19.19

76.223.122.150

ipv6

2602:fcbc::ad

2602:fcbc:2::ad

edit: I've been informed that I'm the only one search engines exist for. These are from alternate-dns.com

4

u/itsTyrion Jun 26 '22

Maybe add that provider's page and or name? No one in their right mind will set a random IP as their DNS

1

u/Scratch137 Jun 26 '22

The iOS version of Safari doesn't support the same extensions as the macOS version.

-1

u/whtpaws84 Jun 25 '22

Exactly.

2

u/Butterfly-greytrain Jun 26 '22

You could try the Adblock plus browser extension, it works on iOS with chrome or Firefox, I haven’t tried it with safari so I don’t know for that specifically but it wouldn’t hurt to try. It works to block ads in general, and you can download it for iPad and iPhone as well. Maybe remove the Facebook app from her devices, so she uses Facebook only on her browser, where the Adblock is?

2

u/Samuel0651 Jun 26 '22

ublock origin adblocker should work

2

u/LeeTheBee86 Jun 26 '22

Add a pihole to their router

1

u/i010011010 Jun 26 '22

You cannot. Facebook have invested a lot of effort into making their ads unblockable and you will never filter them. That's one of the few sites where this is impossible. Her profile has been tagged somewhere deep down in the workings of Facebook as having an interest in gambling, the same way it will mark users for cars or pregnancy.

Your choices are

A) Quit Facebook

B) Convince Facebook to tailor their site around her to flag her account as no-gambling and engineer the site so it will never show another ad

C) Tolerate it

-1

u/EightballTV Jun 26 '22

Delete facebook.

1

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

not an option/

4

u/Dr_Bunsen_Burns Jun 26 '22

It is an option, you just don't want to. She is addicted to it like she is to gambling.

3

u/[deleted] Jun 26 '22

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3

u/[deleted] Jun 26 '22

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0

u/[deleted] Jun 26 '22

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1

u/[deleted] Jun 26 '22

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-2

u/ByGollie Jun 25 '22

Remove her ipad and replace it with an android (one of the Samsung's, not an Amazon tablet)

Once you do that you can put on a browser that support ublock origin, (firefox or Kiwi or Chromium), block facebook ads then point the DNS resolver at a local pi-hole install on a Raspberry Pi

You may have to enable Parental or Family Controls to prevent her loading chrome/Samsung internet/Facebook app from the play store.

Then

1

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

Unfortunately she’s not good with Android devices.

That’s the thing with old people - their UX awareness isn’t so great and the reason why we use iOS it’s because it’s much more intuitive for non tech users.

5

u/Dr_Bunsen_Burns Jun 26 '22

My granny hasn't touched newer tech than 1975 before she started using android.

You just got sucked into the apple ads.

4

u/pablo603 Jun 26 '22

This, lol.

Android interface is equally easy to understand.

4

u/Dr_Bunsen_Burns Jun 26 '22

Else it wouldn't be as big as it is(in yuropoor apple is only about 20 % of the smartphone market)

0

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

Not everyone has the same intelligence and the same velocity of learning new interfaces. Empathy goes a long way.

0

u/finegameofnil_ Jun 26 '22

ublock origin

-1

u/GeezCmon Jun 26 '22

I haven’t used it myself but a friend of mine is totally amazed of a RaspPi running Piehole which apparently blocks ANY kind of add. He showed me statistics of Piehole where ads made up 30% of his traffic.

Can’t vouch for it but might be worth investigating.

//nvm just read the other comments and the full OP

1

u/johnwayne2413 Jun 26 '22

Try Facebook lite.

1

u/bradbeckett Jun 26 '22

Unlock origin extension and enable all the filters + ad blocking DNS servers.

1

u/lab88 Jun 26 '22

Use gamstop. https://www.gamstop.co.uk/

They block your card/s from every known betting site

1

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

She goes to the casinos physically

1

u/frontiermanprotozoa Jun 26 '22 edited Jun 26 '22

Is getting mobile notifications vital? i havent used facebook in years but im guessing setting the home page bookmark and using the webpage on safari with adguard or brave browser would get rid of those adds quick. it will look and feel about the same except notifications and few features. could be a worthy compromise

edit : also try writing to facebook support directly. maybe they can just make those adds go away if you mention past gambling issues due to liability concerns.

1

u/observantguy System Administrator Jun 26 '22

You could run a TLS Interception Proxy on your network and write a custom inspector that takes responses to requests to Facebook's servers and deletes things from the response when they match parameters you define.

That's stop it at your network, but the moment she goes off the wifi, it'll be back to its previous means of working.

You could jailbreak her device and run such a proxy in it.
But a jailbroken device being handed to a person that isn't technologically proficient is a recipe for disaster.

Just be warned... you don't own the systems at the other end of the connection so tampering with the data stream could be interpreted as a crime by an overeager prosecutor and cause a lot of trouble for you and your family.

And it won't stop the actual problem of your grandmother physically going to the casino.

You're looking for a technical solution to a very non-technical problem.

If your grandmother acknowledges she has a problem, there's entities like Gamblers Anonymous, Gam-Anon, and others that are there to provide support for those afflicted with that particular addiction.

1

u/AUser0 Jun 26 '22

Have you tried adding gambling site blocklists, like this one https://blocklistproject.github.io/Lists/gambling.txt

1

u/Euro-Canuck Jun 26 '22

something i would try is calling their credit card company, just say you are concerned about your grandparents state of mind and ask them to block purchases from gambling/crypto websites.

1

u/Nice_Bee_4399 Jun 26 '22

Delete facebook lmao

1

u/TVLL Jun 26 '22

Way out of the box ideas if the other ideas here don’t work.

  1. Go to r/Facebook and post this there, but with a title that asks “Why is Facebook allowing gambling sites to abuse my grandmother who has a gambling problem?”. I’d guess that Facebook monitors the sub and you might get action that way.

  2. Buy an upgraded LinkedIn subscription. This allows you to send X (forget the number) of InMails (their site version of emails) to executives not in your network. Then InMail several Facebook execs, including Zuck, on this. Make sure to target at least a couple of corporate relations people as well as legal people. While it might sound weird I did a similar thing when I had a business problem with a company and got no response. Within 1/2 hour of sending these I had responses from several VPs and GMs and got my problem fixed. I was still hearing from execs 2 days later. Your problem will never hit Zucks desk, but he has loads of staff who will see it and might act on it.

1

u/PlantBagWood Jun 26 '22

I would log into her account and scroll for a while. When you see inappropriate ads, click the options and select ‘stop seeing ads like this’. You may have to do this a few times but it should be pretty effective.

-1

u/AlligatorFarts Jun 26 '22

Try privacy badger as an extension to block trackers from other websites.

There is also a way to opt out a browser from being served tracking cookies from the biggest advertising group on the Internet.

If she uses Google, you can go into their settings and opt out of personalized ads there too

2

u/itsTyrion Jun 26 '22

Did you read the post? "On the iOS app"

1

u/AlligatorFarts Jun 26 '22

Are you dense? 2/3 things I recommended will apply even to the app.

Edit: and Facebook gets data from you from other sites all the time when you are using a web browser

Your ignorance is showing

-1

u/soulless_ape Jun 26 '22 edited Jun 26 '22

Ublock Origin addons for browser or install PiHole.

2

u/itsTyrion Jun 26 '22

"On the iOS app"

0

u/lorgskyegon Jun 26 '22

Have you considered setting up a new facebook page? As in completely deleting her old one and starting anew? That may remove some of the history they base ads on.

2

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

She’s made connections and all and I doubt she wants to start over again. It won’t solve the problem of blocking the page completely.

1

u/shroudedwolf51 Jun 26 '22

Even if she was willing to start over, it wouldn't help.

Facebook's data collection is tenacious and even for security and privacy-minded folks, it still collects a LOT of data. A new profile will help for maybe enough minutes for it to put two and two together and realize it's the same person.

Hell, a few years ago, I made a separate account using a different name, a different email address, and even accessed it from a different machine. Facebook will continue to poke and prod you in every way possible to try to figure out who you are and if you're an account of someone that already exists in their catalogue. It took basically no time for it to catch onto that I'm the same person and my "people you may know" list was filled with nothing but people that were on the friends list of my actual account.

0

u/AHeroicLlama Jun 26 '22

Everyone providing all these high tech solutions but can't you just turn off targeted advertisements?

May also be able to hide/block/reset the advertising id depending on the device/network.

5

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

It doesn’t work, unfortunately. The ads still show up for her. It seems to be a placebo switch (I mean even if it says to turn it off, no one is auditing them to ensure it actually does…)

0

u/Dr_Bunsen_Burns Jun 26 '22

iOS or android doesn't matter, my granny uses android, the first modern tech since 1975 she touched.

But since you already got a pihole up, you know you can just add things to block ads right?

So either there are 3 things you(she) can do. Mind over matter and take life in your own hands, you can learn how to use pihole or 3 just remove facebook.

0

u/nicknaksowhack Jun 26 '22

Idk if this is an option but what if you got her a gambling game that doesn’t use real money. I have a simple poker game on my switch that only uses in game currency. You can’t buy anything with actual money and your in game money resets with a new hand. Let’s her have be safe and still scratch that itch.

2

u/V3Qn117x0UFQ Jun 26 '22

Doesn’t work. Gamblers need real risk.

1

u/nicknaksowhack Jun 26 '22

Well I tried 🤷‍♀️

0

u/radhe91 Jun 26 '22

You could also use NextDNS. It has a free and subscription based service.

The only difference between free and paid is the number of queries. 300,000 per month for free users.

It has an extensive list of sources to block anything. Like really extensive. All you have to donis add the private dns to the system or the browser and it's done.

Try the free first. If the number of queries per month falls below 309k then you won't need to get the paid tier.

BTW it also blocks the Facebook ads but not Facebook

0

u/flaillingflamingos Jun 26 '22

My mom was the same way, couldn’t do Android when she had that and will now actually try using her iPhone because it feels easier to her. She mainly uses a landline at home.

I’ve spent a stupid amount of time curating my Fb ads. Here’s what I suggest you do. If you can, get a hold of her phone, open her Fb and scroll. When you see a non-preferred advertiser, tap on the 3 dots and hide ad then block all from advertiser. This is the one way that actually works. If you can, double down and use her safari to search for other buyable products and watch YouTube videos about that topic. When my network and phone data showed my all intense interest in hiking/camping gear (product videos, ad interactions, etc), boy howdy did my ads change lol Granted, I’ve liked some products and photos of camping are far nicer than what Fb thinks it should advertise to me. I can’t have 0 ads, but I can trade one topic for another. I know this works because I rarely/ never get ads for medications or beauty creams, but I do get ads for hiking gear.

Now, if she is in Fb groups, you have to cut down on how many group posts there are. They aren’t ads and the above method won’t work and lots of dubious products sell using groups and I’m sure the gambling world is similar. Again, if you can log in as her, check the groups she’s in. What do they look like? Which ones have spammy/ad-like posts and which have posts made by people she knows? Go to each group and if it is more ad heavy, change the settings to not see posts from the group show in the main feed. If it’s a group where she likes to have her friends (like a reunion group or social hobby), then leave it be. You can choose to not see group posts in regular scrolling and stay in the group, which she may or may not notice. However, if she goes into the group and scrolls there, not much you can do.

It’s worth noting that both these can be done just being logged in as her. If you can get her credentials but not her phone, consider using her credentials to log in elsewhere as her and still do the above ideas.

Fb ads can be curated, but it needs to be done when logged in as the viewer.

Hope that helps!