Facebook offers users control on ads viewed

2014-06-12 21:21
A fake Facebook application targets Android phones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A fake Facebook application targets Android phones. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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San Francisco - Facebook said on Thursday it would begin allowing users more information about the ads delivered to them, and to block marketing messages they don't want to see.

In a blog post, Facebook said its users "tell us they want more control over the ads they see" and that the huge social network is responding to that.

"That's why we're introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains why you're seeing a specific ad and lets you add and remove interests that we use to show you ads," the post said.

The option will be available in the United States in the next few weeks, "and we are working hard to expand globally in the coming months," the statement said.

As an example, Facebook said, "if you're not interested in electronics, you can remove electronics from your ad interests."

At the same time, Facebook noted that it would draw from users Web browsing activities - and not just from Facebook - in an effort to target ads for specific users.

"Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as pages you like," the blog post said.

"Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this."

Facebook will also allow users to opt out of this targeted advertising.

Based on your use

"If you don't want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won't," Facebook said.

Joseph Jerome, a policy fellow at Future of Privacy Forum, said Facebook is offering more to advertisers while boosting control for users.

"The one thing Facebook hasn't been doing is selling ads targeted based on the websites and apps you use outside of Facebook," Jerome said in a blog post.

"An individual advertiser could buy an ad, based on your visit to a particular site - but many advertisers couldn't buy an ad based on your visits to many sites. Now they can."

At the same time, Jerome said Facebook users will be able to see extensive detail about the ads and to edit their profiles.

"This is one of the most extensive moves to give users a deep look at the data used to target ads that we have seen and should make some users feel more in control of the experience," he said.

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