Here is how Facebook uses data shared by retailers for targeted ads; learn how to opt out

Facebook targeted ads

Facebook gathers information about your purchases through online and offline stores to hit you with targeted ads. Here’s a breakdown of how they do it and how you can disallow it.

Reportedly, Facebook learns about what users are buying, both in online and physical stores, and the data is used for targeted ads based on the purchases.

Retailers who also are Facebook’s partners, retain information about your purchase and then send your email, phone, name, zip, city, state, country, date of birth, gender, and age, or fragments of that information to Facebook, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

The data is hashed before it’s uploaded to Facebook and removed after users are matched to retailers. After the hashed data is deleted, the match remains. The data acquired helps advertisers build custom and lookalike audiences.

A spokesperson told Business Insider, “It’s already being used by a range of Facebook’s advertising clients, including Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods”.

How to opt-out of it

  • Click On ‘Settings & Privacy’ in the Menu
  • Click on Settings from the dropdown menu
  • Tap ‘Ad Preferences’ under the category ‘Ads’
  • In the ‘Ads Settings Menu’ you’ll find three options ‘Ads based on data from partners’, ‘Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere’ and ‘Ads that include your social actions’.
  • Select ‘Not Allowed’ for the first two options and ‘No One’ for the latter.

Also Read: FTC might stop Facebook from integrating it’s messaging apps

Disallowing ‘Ads based on data from partners’ would opt you out from the privacy invasion we have discussed so far and the other two would help shut targeted ads from other sources.

Although, ‘not allowing’ Facebook to use your activities for targeted ads might not debar Facebook from actually using it. Facebook has a reputation for unethically invading users’ privacy and using the data for business purposes.

The latest example is Facebook being able to determine the location of its users, even if they ‘opt-out’ of being tracked.

So even if you ‘opt-out’ of your purchases being tracked, there’s no assurance that Facebook would stop snooping on you, and frankly, there’s no way to really know unless you sue the company and bring in legal procedures.

Users on several occasions have highlighted Facebook’s unethical practices such as listening to users’ conversations to show targeted ads.