Quitting Facebook is not a realistic option for many people. But, if you're tired of feeling like Facebook is constantly eavesdropping on your conversations, there's a way to limit the social network's ability to target you with ads.
You can hide ad topics, restrict which parts of your information advertisers can use and prohibit Facebook from using partners' data for targeting and more.
I've pretty much turned off every possible way that Facebook advertisers can target me. The ads I see on my News Feed are all relevant to two primary things: my age and that I live in the U.S.
I'm getting a more random assortment of ads, but Facebook feels a lot less creepy now. I'll show you how to control your ads, too.
This is going to be your primary control panel for my guide. But let's get started by turning off three things in the "ad settings" section.
You should also limit which details Facebook can use to target ads, and you can do that by checking out two other sections in Facebook's ad settings.
By now, you have already done a good deal to limit Facebook's ad targeting, but there's a lot more you can do. It just takes time. For starters, go to the "your categories" portion of the "your information" section of the ad controls.
Here you'll find a list of ways Facebook has categorized you. It might assume you're a "newlywed, " for example. You can remove these categories by clicking on each one and tapping "remove category." Unfortunately, there's currently no way to remove all the categories at once.
Next, go to "advertisers and businesses." This section allows you to limit the data that individual companies upload to Facebook in order to target you. The key section is "who have uploaded and shared a list with your info." This section contains a list of companies that uploaded ad targeting lists to Facebook that include your data, such as your phone number or email. These companies "can share the ability to advertise to the list with advertisers on Facebook," but you have the power to limit that ability.
For each company, tap on "view details" and then "advertisers using lists with your info." You can then select "hide all ads from his advertiser" for each one. Do this for each advertiser.
Next, tap on the "advertisers and businesses" section. The key sections are "whose website or app you may have used," "whom you've visited" and "whose ads you've clicked." Tap on each company that comes up to hide ads from them. You should also do this in the section titled: "who uploaded a list with your info and advertised to it."
The most time-consuming section is "your interests." Here, Facebook will have multiple categories each of which contains dozens of interests that have been "determined based on your activity on Facebook."
There may be some interests you want to keep. For the rest, just tap on each one to remove it.
It's a pain to control the ads Facebook shows you, but that may change soon.
Facebook has said it will launch a new feature called Clear History later this year that will further expand users' abilities to limit ad targeting. For now, the ad preferences tool is your best bet. It's powerful, you just need to know where to look.