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Back in June, when Facebook first revealed the new ads were coming to the U.S. first, the company explained it will no longer garner data from just your Facebook-browsing activity. Using more information from third-party websites and apps is not a new practice on the Web, but it was for the social network.
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Here is the example Facebook gave at the time:
Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.
Facebook’s decision today to expand the system suggests its “better, more relevant ads” are working. In the coming months, the company says, it wants to use the same type of information “to improve ads around the world.” The six aforementioned countries, in addition to the U.S., are just the lucky ones.
As always with any advertising announcements, Facebook promises to keep the data it collects about you private:
All of our products are built in a privacy-protective way. We don’t share information with advertisers that tells them who a person is. We also offer ways for people to opt out if they don’t want to see ads based on the apps and sites they use. People can opt out through the Digital Advertising Alliance; they can also opt out using device controls on iOS and Android.
The important part here is that it’s possible to opt-out, for now. The company says that if you do choose not to receive advertising based on the apps and sites you use, your choice will apply everywhere you access Facebook.
How to opt out
The good news is that Facebook has adopted the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) behavioral advertising opt-out tool. That means all you have to do is head to aboutads.info/choices if you’re in the U.S., youradchoices.ca/choices if you’re in Canada, or youronlinechoices.eu if you’re in Europe.
If you don’t see Facebook listed in the “Companies Customizing Ads For Your Browser” section, that’s because interest-based ads haven’t arrived in your country yet (remember: this is a gradual rollout). When they do, head back to the appropriate site for your country.
You can also opt out of interest-based ads using your mobile device settings. These options are not specific to Facebook, but the social network does respect them.
On Android, fire up the Google Settings app, tap “Accounts,” select “Google,” and choose “Ads.” You’ll want to check the “Opt Out of interest-based ads” option if it isn’t already done for you.
On iOS, head to Settings, Privacy, and then Advertising. Slide the “Limit Ad Tracking” bar to the right if it isn’t already there.
Facebook’s advertising practices are still evolving, and users need to keep up. That doesn’t necessarily mean opt-ing out, but you should make a point to at least learn about what data social networks are collecting about you.
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