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Facebook started using your history for targeted ads – here’s how to stop it

Updated Jun 13th, 2014 11:33AM EDT
Facebook Targeted Ads

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Good news, Facebook users: the ads Facebook shows you are about to hit much closer to home now that Facebook is using your history to display targeted ads. Don’t worry, though — if that doesn’t actually sound like “good news” to you, there are ways to prevent it.

“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 post on its blog. “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.”

If you don’t want Facebook to let advertisers use your private history to show you targeted ads, it’s fairly easy to opt out.

On your computer, opt out using the standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt out form. On your smartphones and tablets, you’ll have to adjust the settings in your devices’ Settings apps.

In iOS, this can be done by opening Settings and tapping on Privacy. Then scroll to the bottom and tap Advertising. Now, simply enable “Limit Ad Tracking.”

On Android devices, open the Google Settings app (not the Settings app) and tap Ads. Now check the box next to “Opt out of interest-based ads.”

Updated to clarify that Facebook will not share browsing history with advertisers, but will use history to serve targeted ads.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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