Know Your Privacy 1.1 – Facebook Ads

Are you being careful enough?

We all have been victims. We all have been played. But let’s face it, the fault is partially ours. We went in without understanding it, without knowing what we are going into. But its time we learn from our mistakes, its time we step in and rectify our doings.

In this Know Your Privacy series, I will focus on the control settings that each web service provides so that you know where to toggle a particular option when you find it irritating. Also, remember that’s impossible that these web services will erase all of your data 100% even with the deletion of your account. And since most of us can’t leave Facebook and other services in an instant we can, however, minimize our footprint.

So let’s start the series with the most annoying thing of them all and specifically, here since we will focus on Facebook’s options, for now, we will talk about Facebook Ads options.

For those of you who don’t know, Facebook and Instagram track you even outside of their app and websites. They track your other tabs in your browser and scan the apps on your smartphone. All this, just for one thing – targeted ads but as we saw in the recent events, this data can be misused and it will be a bad event happening in your life. Let’s begin.

I will show pictures here from smartphones since 90% of us use that, but the approach is similar in your PC browser

Step 1: In your app go to the rightmost tab section or your section

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Step 2: Scroll to the bottom and click on Settings and Privacy

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Step 3: Here you will see a wide variety of options but for now, we will focus on Privacy Shortcuts

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Here you can control your post privacy, blocked list, select your source for tag reviews and also control who can send you a friend request. There is no option to turn it off so friends of friends is the lowest one.

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Step 4: Tap on the more settings option

Step 5: Here too, you can see a myriad of options but ignore all of that for now and tap on the Ads you see at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 6: Now you have entered the Facebook Ads Preference Center. Here you can see there are a lot of options, let’s go through them one by one.

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The first tab shows your interests, whatever you have liked in the past or the category of the page that you have liked. You can tap on it and go and remove the interests you don’t want to see anymore.

The next option is advertisers that you have interacted with i.e. whether you have clicked on any Ads or not. Tap on it and you can see the list of all the advertisers you have interacted with. If you don’t want ads from a particular advertiser you can tap and turn it off/hide.

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Next comes the Your information – this contains information about you that Facebook shares with the advertisers. As you can see, that’s a lot of stuff. You can turn it off individually.

Further down that same menu, you can see another option – Your categories. This is a list of categories where Facebook has added you for the advertisers to target. You remove the categories yourself and there can be a lot of them.

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Next comes the most important part of them all – Ads Settings.

As you can see here, Facebook clearly mentions that it tracks your use of websites and apps and also those off of Facebook which is really horrifying.

This is crucial and I recommend you turn it off completely and do it exactly as its shown in this screenshot.

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So I hope that by now you have learned a lot about Facebook’s Ad networks. And yes, it’s a clumsy process but then good things are never easy, right?! You can learn more by reading Facebook’s Privacy Policy

So whats next? Well, in the next article, I will dive into Facebook’s other privacy settings. The best way to keep up if follow my official Facebook Page and also follow the hashtag #KnowYourPrivacy and for specifically Facebook #KnowYourPrivacyFacebook.

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