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Learn How to Limit What Facebook Advertisers Know About You

If you have used Facebook, you have seen an ad. There’s no getting around it, and unfortunately, there is no way to completely block ads on the platform. However, you do have some control over your ad settings, including which types of ads you see and what information of yours advertisers can access.

The methods to change your Ad Settings are slightly different based on how you access Facebook.

If you are accessing Facebook via a computer, click on your profile picture in the top right corner and then click on Settings & Privacy, and then Settings. In the app, tap on the three lines in the bottom right corner (iOS) or top right (Android), then swipe down to Settings & Privacy, and then tap on Settings.

Next, on a computer click on Ads on the menu on the left side. On the mobile app, swipe down and tap on Ad preferences. From here, the settings are in similar locations.

Screenshots showing the path of clicks to get to Ad preferences on desktop and mobile

On the Advertisers tab, you will have the option to hide ads from advertisers you have seen recently. You can also see advertisers you have hidden and advertisers whose ads you’ve clicked. On the Ad Topics tab, you can select which types of topics advertisers can use to reach you. If you click or tap on a specific category, you can choose to leave the setting as is or see less of that particular topic.

Screenshot of an ad topic with the option to see less or show no preference.

On the Ad Settings tab, you can manage whether or not you receive personalized ads. “Data about your activity from partners” allows you to choose whether Facebook shows you personalized ads on Facebook and Instagram, if you have an Instagram account. If this option is set to yes, Facebook will allow advertisers to use data from your activity on Meta products, which include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Facebook Marketplace, and other Meta Apps. With any options with a radio yes/no button, gray signifies don’t allow and blue signifies allow.

Screenshot of the "Data about your activity from partners" page with toggles for personalized ad on Instagram and Facebook turned off.

Under “Categories used to reach you,” you can select whether you would like an advertiser to be able to target you based on the information you have provided in your profile: Employer, Job Title, Education (any schools you have listed), and Relationship Status. You may also have an “Other categories” option depending on how much personal information you have provided in your profile. Each type of profile information (e.g. employer, education) has its own yes or no option.

Screenshot of "Categories used to reach you" with toggles for employer, education, job title, and relationship status turned off.

The “Audience Based Advertising” setting allows you to see to which advertisers have accessed lists that contain certain information from your profile. For example, an advertiser may pay for a list containing everyone who is female, aged 25-35, and lives in the United States. The birth date field is required to join Facebook, and gender and location are in the basic info section of your profile. You can see which companies have used these lists.

If you click on the company name and then click on “they uploaded or used a list to reach you,” you can get the option to allow or not allow advertisers to use this particular list on Facebook to show you ads. You may also have the option to contact that particular company. If you would like that company to not be able to use that particular uploaded list to show you ads, click on don’t allow. If you have already chosen that, you will see an allow button.

Screenshot showing how to restrict a particular company from using you a list to reach you

The “Ads shown off of Facebook” setting allows you to decide whether you can be shown ads off of Facebook Company Products, such as on non-Facebook websites and apps that use Facebook advertising services.

Screenshot of "Ads shown off of Facebook" toggle off.

The “social interactions” setting lets you choose whether or not your friends can see if you have liked a certain page that is being advertised. For example, if you have liked the Hannaford Facebook page, and Hannaford runs an ad, if you allow your friends to see, there will be a message next to the page name on their feed saying that you liked that particular page.

Screenshot of the "social interactions" setting that allows or restricts friends from seeing if you have liked a page in an ad.

There are several different ways that you can limit what information advertisers can find out about from your Facebook profile. It’s a good idea to access your ad settings to see what information is being shown to advertisers. With any social media, it’s always a good idea not to share too much information. You may think it’s just your friends and family who are seeing it, but often times that same information is being accessed by advertisers.

Have you had the chance to go over your ad settings on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

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