Spotify Has Bad News For People Using Ad Blockers

Users could face immediate suspension.


Spotify is starting to crack down on listeners who run ad blockers when using the service.

In a new email to users the streaming platform said its new user guidelines “make it clear that all types of ad blockers, bots and fraudulent streaming activities are not permitted.”

New terms of service, which come into effect on March 1 mean that accounts that use ad blockers face immediate suspension.

Ad blocks have become an increasing issue for Spotify. The company said in March 2018 that while preparing for its initial public offering, it discovered two million users, about 1.3 percent of its total user base at the time , had been using blockers on the free version of Spotify.


At the time Spotify began cracking down on unauthorised Android apps that let people access the service without ads.

In its new terms of service, Spotify says “circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating and distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify Service” may now result in “immediate termination or suspension of your Spotify account.”

Spotify found itself entangled in another Facebook data breach recently.

New York Times report on how Facebook shares user data with partners, found that the company admitted it had given third-party companies extensive access to messages.

Facebook insisted access had been given so people could log into services like Spotify with their Facebook account and send messages through the app.

In a blog post, the company wrote:

“Did partners get access to messages? Yes. But people had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first to use a partner’s messaging feature. Take Spotify for example. After signing in to your Facebook account in Spotify’s desktop app, you could then send and receive messages without ever leaving the app. Our API provided partners with access to the person’s messages in order to power this type of feature.”

“To put it simply, this work was about helping people do two things. First, people could access their Facebook accounts or specific Facebook features on devices and platforms built by other companies like Apple, Amazon, Blackberry and Yahoo. These are known as integration partners. Second, people could have more social experiences – like seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends – on other popular apps and websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora and Spotify.

To be clear: none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC.

How did people use these features?
People used these features in many different ways, including through:

  • Apps that allowed people to access their Facebook account on their Windows Phone device
  • Notifications about their activity on Facebook that they could turn on while they were using Safari or other browsers
  • “Social hubs” that consolidated their feeds across Facebook, Twitter, and other services
  • Messaging integrations that allowed people to recommend things like songs from Spotify to friends
  • Search results in Bing and elsewhere based on public information their friends shared
  • Tools that helped them find friends on Facebook by uploading their contacts from email providers like Yahoo

We’ve been public about these features and partnerships over the years because we wanted people to actually use them – and many people did. They were discussed, reviewed, and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates.”

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