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6/12/2014
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Facebook Ads: Users Offered More Control

Soon Facebook will opt you into ads based on your browsing history and offer new ways to adjust what you see. Here's how to opt out -- and the other key details.

Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check
Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Has Facebook served you ads that left you scratching your head? Soon you'll know why. The social network announced today that it will roll out a new feature that details why you see certain ads and lets you adjust topics of interest.

Facebook also said that it will soon start using app and website data from your browsing habits to provide more targeted ads. This means that if you search for new sunglasses, for example, you can expect to see ads for them in on Facebook.

"When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests," Facebook said in a blog post. "Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this."

[Facebook's latest privacy changes include welcome improvements. Read Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check.]


How to opt out of ad targeting

In the past, Facebook has relied on the interests you list in your profile and the pages you like to serve you certain ads. Moving forward, Facebook will incorporate passive data -- such as the apps you use and the websites you visit both on mobile and desktop -- to better target ads.

Facebook will automatically turn on this type of advertising, which it says is common among advertisers, including Google. If you want to opt out, Facebook warns that the ads it serves you may not be as relevant.

To opt out on desktop, visit the Digital Advertising Alliance. This website will scan for participating companies that have enabled customized ads for your browser. You can browse your results to learn more about their advertising and privacy practices, and opt out of this advertising for all or select ones.

To opt out on your mobile device, use the controls that iOS and Android provide, Facebook advised. This includes private browsing, blocking cookies, and enabling do-not-track.


How to adjust ad preferences

If you're not sure why Facebook shows you the ads it does, a new feature called Ad Preferences will let you fine-tune your interests for more relevant targeting.

To adjust your ad preferences, click the X or drop-down menu near the top-right corner of any ad on Facebook. Then select "Why am I seeing this?" Facebook will show you an explanation of why you're seeing the ad and let you add or remove yourself from its audience. To view more audiences that you're part of, click "View and Manage Ad Preferences."

Facebook says that changing your ad preferences won't change the total number of ads you see -- only which ads you see.

"Keep in mind advertisers sometimes ask Facebook to show similar ads to multiple audiences, or to wide audiences," Facebook said. "For example, a sneaker company might want to reach people who like sports. If you remove yourself from the audience of people who like football, but not from the audience of people who like basketball, you could still see the sneaker company's ad."

Not all users have access to Ad Preferences; Facebook is rolling it out gradually. For more on how ads on Facebook work, watch the video below.

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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bobbalkcom
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bobbalkcom,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 2:53:03 PM
OPT out of FaceBook
I bailed on Facebook over a year ago. Best thing I ever did. Advertising was part of the reason to do so. Also, recently was looking for an app for my phone and as I was investigating if it would meet my needs checked to see who owned the app - Facebook...no thanks.

Why be like this? Well, I know many companies are after my online behaviors, etc - Facebook isn't the only one, of course, but Facebook is doing and has been doing for many years what this article discussed. Even in "aggregate, non-specific" form - I don't believe in letting a company do what it wants with my information. I realize there are probably other companies (including Facebook) doing this - if you're online, your information is being collected, mined, whatever - constantly. There's money in it. I just know that my efforts make it harder for them.

It'd be different if the public (the public that thinks about it!) trusted these companies. I don't - even when they try to put forth that they care, are careful, etc. - I just don't.
anon8432286391
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anon8432286391,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 3:07:12 PM
Short sighted, as FG almost always is
What these shortsighted wannabes miss (as well as Goog & the others) is that what I was browsing for yesterday is NOT what I am interested in today.... It is almost amusing, if it wasn't so aggrivating and irritating. It's like Amazon's "suggestions" based on previous purchases - WHY in the world would I want to buy TWO OR MORE of the appliance I just bought???? These "ad men" will never learn because they are so blind to anything except their own faulty, self conceived concepts.
6 one way half a dozen another
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6 one way half a dozen another,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 3:48:58 PM
We're in agreement
I agree with both of the previous commentors: I do not trust with Facebook with my info and that the ads are largely irrelevant since they are based on completed behaviors, i.e. I bought the shoes already, I don't need to keep seeing ads for something I now don't need.

I find that Facebook gives me a convient way to stay in touch with my family, so no opting out for now. But I do deploy a couple of ad blockers and Facebook Disconnect to keep them from tracking my web browsing (of course, logging out helps). As for mobile apps from Facebook, no way are those getting on my device. Almost anything that Facebook creates an app for has been done better by someone else before their also-ran came on the market.

I suggest you opt out of Facebook's personalized ads from their web page because if you have been smart about your Facebook use, you will see no real difference afterwards.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 4:26:14 PM
Re: We're in agreement
>I find that Facebook gives me a convient way to stay in touch with my family, so no opting out for now. 

Facebook is the Internet for non-techies.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 6:08:45 PM
Re: OPT out of FaceBook
If I install the Facebook Disconnect add-on for Firefox (I just did), will that be enough to keep Facebook off my arse?
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 8:13:31 PM
Re: OPT out of FaceBook
Do you use anything for Google, too?
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 11:18:27 AM
Re: OPT out of FaceBook
No, but I probably should. When I'm using Google search, Chrome browser, and an Android phone, there's an acceptance that Google is tracking me. But with Facebook, it feels like they've crashed a party. It's not a Facebook search engine, browser, or mobile OS. So why do they have their paws on my stuff that should be outside their purview?
6 one way half a dozen another
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6 one way half a dozen another,
User Rank: Strategist
6/21/2014 | 4:28:14 AM
Re: We're in agreement
Is your implication that I am a non-techie or that my family is non-techie? If it is my family, then yes they are. They are also my only "friends" on the site. I don't "like" brands or join groups or post anything public. I particularly hated when all names became public. But if you want to smear Facebook without contributing some actual critique of their site or policies, then make your own comment and do not piggyback onto mine simply to be a bit sneer-y and seemingly superior. Your point (whatever it could have been) is lost and you look like a crank or troll.
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