Tips to help you set your ads preferences and control what you see on Facebook

Social Samosa
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In the milieu of the Cambridge Analytica crisis and the data safety debate, Facebook shares tips on how to set ad preferences on the platform.

Digital advertising in India has radically changed since the early days of banner ads and search engine advertising. But the targeting power of digital advertising is such it can be customized to show the audience the kind of ads for products, services, and causes that are actually of interest to them. And for small businesses, it levels the playing field and lets them reach the breadth and quality of audience that was difficult for them earlier.

Facebook serves people advertisements that appeal to them based on their interactions with Facebook pages and Facebook-connected apps and sites. While as audience it may not be possible to completely stop the ads being served on the platform, they can certainly control whether or not Facebook uses their information to show ads targeted specifically towards them.

Below are some tips to help users understand what content advertisers share with them and why, and how can they adjust what they see on the platform.

  • What information is being served to advertisers

When you use Facebook, you can choose to share things about yourself like your age, gender, hometown, or friends. You can also click or like posts, Pages, or articles. Facebook uses this information to understand what you might be interested in and hopefully show you ads that are relevant. If a bike shop comes to Facebook wanting to reach female cyclists in Mumbai, they will be able to show their ad to women in Mumbai and nearby regions who liked a Page about bikes. But here’s what’s key: these businesses don’t know who you are. Facebook provides advertisers with reports about the kinds of people seeing their ads and how their ads are performing, but it doesn’t share information that personally identifies you. We sell advertisers space on Facebook – much like TV or radio or newspapers do. We don’t sell your information.

  • Know your advertisers more

When you visit a Page or see an ad on Facebook, you should be able to easily understand who it is coming from. It’s important for people to be able to see the other ads a Page is running, even if they’re not directed at you. This is why Facebook has recently introduced important changes to the way ads and Pages are managed on Facebook as well as Instagram. This will not only make advertising on the two platforms more transparent, but it will also hold advertisers accountable for the quality of ads they create.

Also Read: 3 things about Facebook that will have a bigger impact on our lives than Cambridge Analytica scandal
  • Control the ads you see

Clicking on the upper right-hand corner of an ad lets you easily hide ads you don’t like, or block ads from an advertiser you don’t like. Clicking on “Why am I seeing this?” tells you more about why you were shown the ad and takes you to your Ad Preferences. Anyone can visit their Ad Preferences to learn more about the interests and information that influence the ads they see, and manage this information so they get more relevant ads on the platform. You can decide which of your profile fields you want used for ad targeting in the Information section under “About You.” You can remove yourself from interests under “Interests” and categories under “Your Categories.” You can turn off ads that use data from apps or websites that you visit in the Ads Settings section under “Ads based on use of websites and apps.”

  • Master using privacy settings and tools

Every data practice including Facebook equips user necessary tools to proactively protect their own privacy. For instance, Facebook users are given privacy tools to secure their accounts, manage ads they see, manage which posts and profile information people can see. Thus, before start using those, you should make sure that you know how to use given tools and settings like the back of your hand. Notably, Facebook has updates to its privacy tools. The entire settings menu on mobile devices has been redesigned from top to bottom to make things easier to find. Instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens, they’re now accessible from a single place. Besides, the new Privacy Shortcuts is a menu where users can control their data in just a few taps, with clearer explanations of how Facebook’s controls work.

  • No more ads based on data from partners

Ads on Facebook are more relevant when we use data from partners, like websites and apps that use business tools such as our Like button. Another obvious benefit is that users can speed up the registration process, without any interruptions and all related activities are synced and could keep users updated in one place. However, this may grant them access to users’ information that is unnecessary and too personal. Keeping this in mind, in the month of March, Facebook announced shutting down its partner categories, to better protect your information and help improve privacy on the platform.

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