Overview: Controlling Facebook’s Ad Preferences page

Victor Barreiro Jr.
While you may not stop Facebook from showing you ads, you can control whether or not Facebook uses your information to show you ads targeted specifically towards you. Here's a guide to your Facebook advertising preferences!

Facebook serves people advertisements that appeal to them based on their interactions with Facebook pages and Facebook-connected sites.

You can, however, control to some extent what sort of ads you see on Facebook through the social network’s Ad Preferences page

If you’ve never gone through this settings page before, don’t worry. Here’s a brief overview of the various settings you can tweak to suit your privacy needs.

First off, to access the Ad Preferences page manually on your browsers or mobile, just visit your settings page, then click on Ads. This will show you some settings you can adjust to determine what sort of ads you’ll get in the long-term.

Your Interests

The “Your Interests” subsection lists various catgeories of things that Facebook thinks falls under your personal interests and preoccupations. These include pages you’ve liked, as well as things it thinks you’ll like based on the pages you’ve interacted with on the service.

For instance, my feed is predominantly filled with gamers and visits to either video game Facebook pages or similarly related sites, so Facebook lists a number of things – such as games and game websites – that would normally pique my interest.

Clicking on one of the Interests will let you see an example of the ads you normally get based off of it. Clicking on “Video Games,” for example, will show video game related ads made by advertisers.

To lessen the occurrence of ads based on your interests, hover over an interest and click on X on the thumbnail’s upper right portion. Do note that there are multiple tabs for your interests, so going through these may be a long process.

Advertiser interactions

The next section details the list of Facebook advertisers you’ve interacted with.

The section includes advertisers who have had access to your email in the past, as well as advertisers whose websites or apps you’ve visited or used. Some of the advertisers listed here will likely be based on tracking through Facebook cookies on outside sites.

Much like your Interests, you can hide advertisers here by hovering over their thumbnail and clicking the X. By refreshing the page after clicking X, you’ll also be able to view the hidden advertisers in one of the tabs on this section.

Who you are on Facebook

Facebook also tailors ads to how you act and who you are when you’re online. The next section, Your Information, lists two main tabs you can adjust.

The first tab shown – About You – allows you to manage whether Facebook can show you ads intended to reach people based on a number of given profile fields, such as your relationship status, your job, and your employer.

More importantly, the second tab, called Your Categories, tries to peg you as a certain type of person by placing you in particular demographics.

For instance, Facebook knows that I’ve accessed it through Google Chrome and through Mobile on a particular type of phone, and also knows my birthday.

You can toggle these off by clicking on the X again, if you wish. In my case, I regularly clear out the information it bases its decisions on since I don’t like having targeted ads in general.

Your personal ad settings

Facebook also has ad settings you can tailor particular to how people see your ad interactions as well as how you want to see ads based on your activities.

Clicking on one of the three options here brings a longer explanation of what each ad setting means.

The first item is a toggle to determine if you want your browsing activity to be used to get tailored ads on Facebook.

The second item is a toggle to determine if you want your data to be used to tailor ads on the Facebook Audience network. As it explained, “The Facebook Audience Network is a way for advertisers to display ads on websites and apps across devices such as computers, mobile phones and connected TVs. When companies buy ads through Facebook, they can choose to have their ads distributed in the Audience Network.”

The last item is a toggle to determine if you want to be used as an indirect advertisement on other people’s pages. For instance, if you’ve ever wondered why Friend X is being shown your Facebook as liking a brand page or other advertising-friendly interest, this is the setting that would turn off your actions being shown on other people’s pages.

My personal preference is to toggle everything off on this page, just to restrict people from seeing my activity online.

Hiding ad topics

The last setting on the page allows users to turn off certain topics of ads that they may not want to see. Specifically, there are currently 3 things you can toggle here, related to Alcohol, Parenthood, and Pets.

If you don’t want to see any of these, just use an appropriate time-based toggle for your needs.

The Facebook Ad Preferences page might appear quite complex, but Facebook does its best to explain what each setting does.

For those of you who can’t leave or delete Facebook, it is recommended that you revisit and check the information periodically to ensure you don’t’ get intrusive advertisements when you’re online.

More information on each of the different things you can do on the ad preferences page can be found in this tutorial link as well. Go read through it and see what you feel needs tweaking in your ad preferences for your personal benefit. – Rappler.com


Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.