Why can browser add-ons not block overlays like they can ads.

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**The modern internet is saturated with annoying content. Nearly all of this can be removed automatically.** Browsers have built in pop-up blockers, ad blocker extensions remove ads without the user ever knowing they are there. Not to mention the removal of malicious scripts or even extensions that can remove “Recommended content” elements on social media. Attempts have been made, but **currently there is no way for browser extensions to differentiate overlays from legitimate content and sanitize it before it is presented to the user.** **Why is this?** Why do we have extensions that can nearly do anything, except this?

*Definitions:* An overlay is the annoying box that might pop up when you are reading an article asking you to sign up for a mailing list or something.

(Further information, yes I know about extensions like “Behind the Overlay” but these require user input, and often don’t work at all. They don’t prevent the intrusion of the overlay.)

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If you have an adblocker, while a website is loading the adblocker check to see if the site is trying to load anything that’s on a massive list of things that it knows are ads. Since most internet ads follow the same format, this is easy to implement. Overlays do not all follow the same format so it is harder to have an extension to block them all without making the website messed up.

Not sure *why* but this is what I do to avoid them. Turn off JavaScript, use an RSS, or simply refresh and hit STOP before the page fully loads. That should unlock most.

An overlay is no different than anything else you see on a web page, there are ways to search for certain patterns but these patterns can be anything. To the browser, a web page is just a bunch of layers/boxes