Facebook tracks just about everything you do, from what pages you like to what political affiliation you may have. It even tries to guess what race you are. All of this is done so that you can be targeted with relevant ads. If you had no idea that you’re constantly tracked, you’re not alone. A Pew Research Center study found that 75% of users studied had no idea how Facebook comes up with the ads that are presented to them. Luckily, you can stop the tracking and targeting. Here’s how to opt out of targeted ads on Facebook.
How to find out who has your info
Before you go opting out, you may be curious about who is using your information and how Facebook has collected your data. In your account there is an Advertisers and Business page where you can see what businesses have your user data, who uploaded your data, pages you’ve clicked on that collected your data and more. To find this page on the website, go to Settings > Ads > Advertisers and Businesses. To find it on the app, go to Settings > Ads > Ad Preferences > Advertisers and Businesses.
How to opt out of targeted ads on Facebook
Now that you’re probably thoroughly creeped out, it’s time to opt out. To opt out using the Facebook site, log in and go to Settings > Ads > Ad Settings. On the app, go to Setting & Privacy > Settings > Ad > Ad Preferences > Ad Settings. Then choose the Not Allowed options under each category to stop Facebook from using data from partners and tracking your activity on Facebook and their partner’s sites to target you with ads.
Blocking data brokers
You can also stop data brokers (businesses that buy, use, and sell your data) and other businesses from tracking and using your information. On the app, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads > Ad Preferences > Advertisers and Businesses > Businesses who have uploaded and shared a list with your info. Then, click on a business icon then go to Privacy options and choose Permanent Opt Out.
On the Facebook website, go to Settings > Ads > Advertisers and Businesses > Who have uploaded and shared a list with your info > View details > Privacy options > Permanent Opt Out.
You’ll need to do this with every single business. Unfortunately, some businesses won’t have a Privacy option to let you opt out and there’s no guarantee that after you opt out the business will actually stop tracking you and using your data.
Hitting the ads head-on
Instead of going through and opting out using the method above, you can wait and attack each ad that pops up in your feed. When you see and ad, click or tap on the the dots in the upper right-hand corner. Then, choose Why am I seeing this ad? from the menu. There will be a button on the right side that says Options, tap it and choose Hide all ads from this advertiser. This won’t prevent businesses from collecting and using your data, but you’ll block them from their ultimate goal, which is serving you with ads on Facebook.