In order to better serve advertisers, Facebook has developed an advanced system for tracking user behavior and finding specific ads for these users. This system monitors your profile information and behavior on Facebook (and elsewhere) to show you the ads most relevant to your interests.
Many people find this kind of tracking and targeted advertising to be a privacy concern. Here’s how to stop Facebook ads from tracking you.
How targeted Facebook ads work
Facebook Sponsored Ads are so relevant to user interests and behaviors that many Facebook users think Facebook is listening to the conversations. The reality is not that grim.
Facebook uses all the information it can collect about you to show you more relevant sponsored advertising.
Your profile information includes:
- Age and gender
- Where you worked or where you went to school
- Your family members and relationships
- All other details of your profile
Targeted advertising doesn’t stop at your profile. When Facebook sells ads to advertisers, they promise advertisers that Facebook users can be targeted based on:
- Ads you click on
- Pages and groups you engage with
- How you use your device and your “travel preferences”
- The type of mobile device you are using and your internet connection speed
All of this information leads to very accurate and relevant sponsored advertising.
Facebook also uses data from advertising partners who collect even more information about you through things like website cookies. This provides Facebook with some of your shopping and web browsing activity, even when you are not logged in to your Facebook profile.
If you are bothered by highly targeted Facebook Sponsored Ads like this one, you can opt out of Facebook Ads by changing some Facebook settings.
- Select the down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page, and select Settings. In the left navigation pane, select Your Facebook information.
- On your Facebook information page, select the View link to the right to access to your information.
- Scroll down to the Information About You section and select the down arrow to the right of the announcements and companies.
- You will see four options for stopping ads on Facebook. In order to deactivate the ads, you will need to start by selecting the ads interest.
- On the Preferences page of your ad, under the section Your interests, you will see interest categories at the top. Select each of them and select the ex in the upper right corner of the box that displays interest you don’t want to see ads.
- On the same page advertising preferences under the section Advertisers and companies, you can see companies that are allowed to show you ads on Facebook because:
- The company obtained your profile from a Facebook interest list
- You have interacted with a website, app or store
- You have visited the Facebook page of the company or the advertiser
- You clicked on the company’s Facebook ad
Select Display controls under any of these business names and in the pop-up window, you can select Do not allow opting out of this business by showing you ads based on Facebook interest lists.
- On the same page your advertising preferences under the section Your information, you Stop Facebook sponsored ads based on your relationship status, employer history, job title history, or education. To disable toggling to the right of these profile fields.
- Scroll to the down for the Ad Settings section of your Ad Preferences page. Select each of the following and at the bottom of each box, change the pull-down menu to the state specified below.
- Ads based on partner data: Defined so as not to be authorized. This will prevent Facebook from showing ads based on your non-Facebook activities.
- Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company products that you see elsewhere: Defined so as not to be authorized. This will prevent Facebook from serving ads based on any of your interactions with Facebook products or services outside of the Facebook site.
- Ads that include your actionssocial: Set to No One. Prevent if you liked a business or ad from the ad displayed for that business.
You can further manage non-Facebook activity by visiting the Off Facebook Activity page. Select Manage activity future under more options and select Manage future activity in the pop-up window. Finally, turn off the toggle right of Future Off-Facebook Activity. This will prevent future activity outside of Facebook from being logged with your Facebook account.
- Scroll to the down to the Ad Subjects section of your ad preferences page. You can select See less at next to some of the more controversial Facebook topics to see fewer ads on those topics.