How to Stop Facebook Ads From Tracking You

Opt out of targeted Facebook ads

What to Know

  • Select Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads > Advertisers to hide ads from certain advertisers.
  • Select Ad Topics > Show Fewer to see fewer ads about specific topics.
  • Select Ad Settings to manage data used to show you ads and restrict or deny ad permissions on and off Facebook.

This article explains how to stop Facebook ads from tracking you. It includes information on the types of personal information Facebook collects and the promises the company makes to advertisers.

How to Minimize Facebook Ads That Track You

To serve advertisers better, Facebook developed an advanced system of tracking user behavior to provide ads specific to the users' interests. The system monitors your profile information and your behavior on Facebook and elsewhere. Many people find this kind of tracking and targeted advertising to be a privacy concern, while some appreciate seeing targeted ads instead of random ads.

Here's how to change, restrict, manage, and deny ad permissions on Facebook.

  1. Launch Facebook in a web browser and select the Account icon (downward triangle).

    Facebook with account icon highlighted
  2. Select Settings & Privacy.

    Settings and Privacy selected in Facebook account
  3. Select Settings.

    Facebook account with Settings highlighted
  4. From the menu on the left, select Ads.

    Ads highlighted in Facebook account settings
  5. With the Advertisers tab selected, you'll see advertisers you've seen recently. Select Hide Ads to hide ads from these advertisers.

    Advertisers tab and Hide Ads highlighted in Facebook ad settings

    On this page, you can also see advertisers you've hidden and advertisers whose ads you've clicked.

  6. With the Ad Topics tab selected, view and manage ad topics. Select Show Fewer to see fewer ads about a specific topic.

    Ad Topics and Show Fewer highlighted in ad topics management Facebook settings

    Select Undo to remove any topic restrictions.

  7. With the Ad Settings tab selected, manage the data used to show you ads. Select Data about your activity from partners to allow or deny Facebook permission to show you personalized ads based on your activity.

    Facebook Ad settings with Ad Settings and Data about activity highlighted
  8. Under Choose where we can use data from our partners to show you personalized ads, select Facebook and/or Instagram. Or, leave these toggles off to deny permission for Facebook or Instagram to show you personalized ads based on data about your activity from their partners.

    Facebook Ad specification settings with permission toggles highlighted
  9. Select Categories Used to Reach You to allow or deny advertisers access to your profile information.

    Facebook ad settings with Categories Used to Reach You highlighted
  10. To choose whether your profile information can be used to show you ads, turn on or off any demographic category, such as Employer, Education, Job Title, and Relationship Status.

    Demographic category toggle highlighted in Facebook ad preferences
  11. Under Interests and Other Categories Used to Reach You, select Interest Categories and Other Categories to remove yourself from a demographic category, such as online shopping or parenting.

    Interest Categories and Other Categories highlighted in Facebook ad preferences
  12. Select Audience Based Advertising to see advertisers who include you in their audience demographics to show you ads.

    Audience Based Advertising highlighted in Facebook ad preferences
  13. You'll see a list of advertisers whose audiences include you and for whom you may see ads.

    Company list of Facebook advertisers in your audience-based ads
  14. Select an advertiser to see more information about the company and why you're included in its audience. For example, they may have uploaded or used a list to reach you. Select the reason to restrict the advertiser's access to you.

    Facebook advertiser displaying why you're seeing ads from it
  15. Choose whether this advertiser's lists can be used to show you ads. Select Don't Allow to deny permission. You can also select Don't Allow to stop yourself from being excluded from certain ads.

    Don't Allow highlighted in Facebook list usage settings
  16. Select Ads Shown Off of Facebook to allow or deny advertisers to reach you off Facebook.

    Ads Shows Off of Facebook highlighted in Facebook ad settings
  17. Select Allowed or Not Allowed to permit or deny Facebook advertisers from reaching you on other platforms, such as partner network websites.

    Allowed highlighted in Facebook ad preferences

Facebook also uses data from advertising partners that collect even more information about you through things like website cookies. This provides Facebook with some of your purchasing and web browsing activity even when you aren't logged into your Facebook profile.

How Targeted Facebook Ads Work

Facebook sponsored ads are so relevant to user interests and behaviors that many Facebook users think Facebook is eavesdropping on conversations. The reality isn't quite that sinister.

Facebook uses all information it can gather about you in order to show you more relevant sponsored advertising.

Personal Information Facebook Gathers

  • Location
  • Age and gender
  • Where you've worked or gone to school
  • Your family members and relationships
  • Any other details in your profile

Promises Facebook Makes to Advertisers

Targeted advertising doesn't stop with your profile. When Facebook sells ads to advertisers, they promise advertisers that Facebook users can be targeted based on:

  • Ads you click on
  • Pages and groups you engage with
  • How you use your device and your "travel preferences"
  • The type of mobile device you use and your internet connection speed

All of this information leads to very accurate and relevant sponsored advertising.

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