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Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of Targeted Ads 97

mpicpp (3454017) writes Facebook users who are annoyed by the targeted ads that pop up in their News Feed will soon have more control over what they see. Like Google, Facebook collects all kinds of information on its users and uses that information to serve up targeted ads. For some people, especially privacy advocates, it seemed a little creepy to have a social network tracking a user's activity and then using that data to sell them stuff. On Thursday, Facebook announced that users will soon be able to opt out of that targeted ad system through controls in their Web browser and iOS and Android phones. Facebook will also show users what information they have collected about them and let them edit the kinds of ads they want to see. If someone is confused about why they are seeing an ad for P.F. Chang's, for example, they can simply click on "Why am I seeing this ad?"
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Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of Targeted Ads

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  • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:33PM (#47224539)

    Opting out in Facebook is like playing one of those old Flash games where you mouse around the screen, trying to find the hot spot that will accept a click. Are they going to do that again?

    Doubtful, since this isn't actually "opting out" of anything.

    From TFA:

    Facebook will also show users what information they have collected about them and let them edit the kinds of ads they want to see.

    In other words, this is mostly a system for you to tell Facebook what you want to see. You're not actually getting rid of ads, but rather giving Facebook MORE personal information to tailor them to you. Again from TFA:

    [Users] can see why they are seeing that particular advertisement and remove entire ad categories, like restaurants, from showing up in their News Feed. [snip] Opting out of the targeted ad system does not mean a user will see less ads -- the ads will just not be targeted towards them.

    This isn't really "opting out." It's allowing you to give Facebook more information about yourself to Facebook so it can better target the ads it shows you.

    Essentially, it's Facebook saying, "Gee, we haven't gathered enough personal info from you already, so we'll let you tell us more explicitly, rather than gleaning it from your 'likes' and posts. This will give us more ad revenue because we won't waste as much time showing you stuff you really don't want to see, thereby increasing our click-through rate on ads."

    Why would Facebook hide this feature? It's not getting rid of anything. It's obviously designed to increase the efficiency of their ad delivery system, which will probably increase ad revenue.

    (And yes, it seems like theoretically you could "opt-out" of ALL personalized ads, in which case it's likely the random stuff Facebook will show you will be even weirder and more annoying than it already is, since it will have no relationship to your potential interests whatsoever.)

  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:36PM (#47224557)
    Actually, things have changed. As part of this announcement they also announced that they will be digging through your browser history in order to provide more targeted ads, rather than just mining what you do through their website and websites that track for them

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