"Remove yourself from ads on Facebook" was the title of a warning post I saw this morning. Many people are concerned about Facebook privacy so I decided to find out the truth about Facebook Ads and privacy settings.
Perhaps you have seen the post on your own Facebook wall where a friend is sharing that your photos can now be used by Facebook advertisers and how to change the settings so you don't fall prey to the use of your face without your permission.
In essence, the below will shed light on how to delete Facebook ads with your name in them:
Truth: Facebook advertisers can associate your profile photo with a product with which you have had an express interaction: liked their page or ad, place check-ins, likes their app. The instructions in the post, regarding how to change settings, are correct.
Fiction: This is not new. The advertisers can only use your profile photo and not photos from your photo albums or wall. Only confirmed friends, not the whole world, can see this ad with your association. It cannot freely associate your name or photo with an ad unless you expressly interact with the company or product.
How targeted advertising works
Before you run away from Facebook for their "Big Brother" tactics, you should note that targeted advertising is pervasive on the Internet. Targeted advertising makes note of what websites you have visited. When you visit another website that displays targeted ads, you will see an ad that relates to a product similar to the type on a website you just visited. Have you noticed that soon after visiting a calorie counting page, you'll see ads about weight loss? You can become invisible from advertisers by regularly clearing your cache.
Facebook ads are similarly targeted. Advertisers choose key words or locations so the people most likely to buy their product or service will see the ad. An automated crawler searches your profile, wall, and timeline for matching words. There is an upside to this type of advertising. Only ads that are likely to be of interest to you are displayed.
Facebook advertisers don't know your identity.
The ad engines search out words and automatically display ads. Your personally identifiable information is not shared with advertisers. Targeted ads use keywords from your profile and postings. There are not people who are reading your postings; it is simply crawlers that match up specific words.
In the Facebook support pages, they state that they recognize that selling your info would be bad for the site and the experience. If your information could be tracked back to you, it would inhibit your desire to share freely. And sharing with friends is the heart of Facebook.
Facebook claims that the reason they offer targeted advertising (along with the benefit to their advertisers) is that "everyone wants to know what their friends like."
Removing Yourself from Third-Party Facebook Ads
Third-party ads are posted in the sponsored ads section of your Facebook page. These advertisers pay for the targeted ads. If you interact with ad by clicking on it and liking the page, your name could be associated with it on your friends' Facebook pages. Facebook offers a page for more information more about Facebook ads.
To remove yourself from third-party ads:
- Click on the arrow next to Home in the upper right corner of your Facebook page. Choose "Account Settings."
- Choose "Facebook Ads" from the left column.
- Click on "Edit third-party ad settings.
- Choose "no one" from the drop down menu. Note that the only other option is to show ads to your friends and not the public.
- While you are there, you can choose to opt out of associating yourself with social ads by clicking on edit social ads settings and choosing "no one."
To remove a single third party ad, click on the "x" next to the ad. To not be targeted by similar ads, choose a reason why you want to hide ads from a particular company.
Removing Sponsored Stories from your Facebook timeline.
Sponsored stories are stories that appear at the top of your timeline or appear more prominently than other posts. They indicate that you have interacted with a service or product. The post might state that you: liked a page, liked or commented on a Page's post, RSVP'd to a Page's event, Voted on a Page's question, checked-in to a place, used an app or played a game, liked or shared a website.
If you don't want to see these ads, you can:
- Remove the individual ad from your timeline by clicking on the arrow next to the posting and choosing "hide story." or
- Limit the stories you see from the friend associated with the sponsored story by clicking the arrow and choosing "only important posts."
- Choose "no one" in the social ads settings (see above).
Advertising shouldn't appear in Your timeline.
If you find ads outside the little ad area on the right side of your timeline, you may have downloaded an app that has gained access to your timeline. Find out more about these apps and how to get rid of them.