Did you know that Facebook collects information on you? Well, obviously, you probably assumed so. I know I did. How else is it that the same day I went to a due date calculating website, for the first time after finding out I was knocked up with our daughter, that I also starting seeing advertisements on Facebook for Pampers, Huggies, Aden & Anais, BOB, Chicco, Britax, Similac, Enfamil & Target – Baby EVERYTHING??? Coincidence? I think not. So creepy! How does Facebook know I’m pregnant?? My husband doesn’t even know yet!!
Apparently, awhile back, Facebook decided to give users “more control over ads.” This was basically a cute way of saying they were going to use targeted advertising. Not your shocked face, right? The way they are able to do this, which they don’t tell you about, is by using your web (and app) browsing history. Well the problem is, there’s no way to just go in to your Facebook settings and turn this kind of thing off.
If it doesn’t matter to you, then feel free to disregard the rest of this post. You’ve been informed, and can choose for yourself how you feel, and what to do about it. My job is done! However, if you’re like me, and you find it both a little scary, an invasion of privacy, and completely annoying to constantly have “stalker-esque” ads thrown at you, then read on!
First things first, one thing you can do, is never click on any of the ads that show up in your news feed on Facebook. When you do this, you basically send an order to the kitchen for MORE! Also, if you are ever asked to complete a survey so that Facebook can “improve your newsfeed”, feel free to skip that as well. Easy squeezy on those two action items!
As for what to do about the extra creepy web-browsing surveillance… It’s time to OPT (the crap) OUT. Here’s what you need to do… First, take a little trip to the Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice Page.
This is a handy dandy website, with lots of information about the collection of web-browsing data, and has a fantastic tool to help you take a step in the right direction towards gaining some semblance of privacy whilst surfing the interwebs!
When you arrive at this page, it will automatically take inventory, and tell you how many companies are customizing ads for your browser. The first time I went there on this computer, there were ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN companies keeping tabs on my browser! From here you have two options: You can either select the companies you would like to “opt out” of; OR scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a button labeled “Choose All Companies”. Make whatever selection you would like.
Once you’ve made your selection, it will take a minute or two, but when you are done you will see the following notice:
Now, at the top of your keyboard, hit “F5” to do a refresh of the original page and see how many companies are still following you. It should be drastically reduced. I had to repeat this process about three times, to get it down to zero.
A few notes: If you use more than one browser, for different purposes (ex. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer or Edge), you will need to do this on each browser. Another thing… This post only addresses this topic in the realm of PC’s. We will address cell phones and tablets in a future post. Also, I am not claiming that doing this will solve all of your Facebook problems, but it’s a step in the right direction! Added bonus, you should also see a reduction in the amount of targeted advertising you see, OVERALL.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with anyone else who may benefit from it. Also, if you have any other interesting information with regard to Facebook, or internet privacy, please feel free to send it in. We are always looking for new inspiration!