You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you can feel someone watching you, but when you look over there’s no one there? Or, how about chowing down at your favorite restaurant only to discover that every time you look up from your plate, a person is staring at you from across the room? Annoying, right? Well, believe it or not, this is what Facebook is doing to its users.
Simply put, Facebook is following us.
According to the social media giant, they follow us when we surf the web and use apps on our smartphone for “marketing research,” for lack of a better term, to create ads that appeal specifically to us.
On the flip side, Facebook is becoming more transparent, noted as the first major Internet company to offer an explanation as to why we’re seeing certain ads and will even allow us to control the types of ads we see in the future, if we know where to look.
How to Stop Facebook from Aiming Specific Ad Topics at You
- Find an ad and click on the corner icon.
- Select “Why am I seeing this?” from the menu.
- An explanation will pop up.
- Under the explanation click the “View and manage your ad preferences” link.
- Facebook’s data they have gathered about you will show and you can edit the list.
NOTE: If you remove all topics, Facebook will keep your gender, age and where you live in their ad-targeting system.
How to Stop Facebook (and other companies) From Tracking You
If your browser keeps cookies, there’s nothing you can do to prevent any company from tracking you; however, you can stop them from using that information to deliver ads. All you have to do is register with each company that tracks you and opt out at www.aboutads.info/choices/.
How to Stop Facebook from Knowing Your Smartphone’s Location
Turn off location sharing. For iPhone, go to Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services and flip the Facebook switch off.
How to Stop Facebook from Using App Data
This requires telling your smartphone, not Facebook. For iPhone, go to Settings, then Privacy, then advertising and turn on “Limit Ad Tracking.” For Droids, go to Settings, then Accounts, then select Google and then Ads. Click “Opt out of interest-based ads.”
The harsh reality of taking our privacy into our own hands when it comes to Facebook? The company can change the rules at any time.