How to Stop Facebook from Using Your Browsing History

Written by on July 30, 2014 in Media & Arts, Social Media with 1 Comment

Rachel Grussi | GaiamTV | July 30 2014

Raise your hand if you like Corporate America following your browsing history and using it as targeting for advertisers! Anyone? No?

Well, Facebook is changing their game, regardless of how you feel about it. Facebook has announced that it is going to use app and website data from your browsing habits to provide more targeted ads. In part, it’s nothing new; Facebook has been watching the online behavior of all 1.28 billion monthly users, thanks to all that “Like” action we’ve been taking, whether it’s on a friend’s picture of their dogs or your favorite brand of nut butter, but it’s now going beyond even this technological invasion.

Why is this such a big step? In times past, it used to be only your declared interests (Liked pages, profile information) that directed Facebook’s advertising missiles. Now, Facebook is going even further and using the passive data, meaning where you go on your computer and mobile devices, to make its own ads smarter. Have you ever noticed the little thumbs up button on sites that are totally unrelated to Facebook? This is the cue that now, if you’re a Facebook user, you can be recognized on sites where the button is encoded, whether you’re Liking something or not. While Facebook won’t be adding users tracked via desktop likes to the targeting mix at present, according to Facebook’s VP-ads product marketing, it’s in the works and you can expect more to be coming soon.

For now, the game plan is that it will capture websites that use Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel, placed by advertisers to see if their Facebook ads are yielding sales and traffic, plus mobile apps that use Facebook’s software development kit to deploy Facebook services, like the log-in. Any websites and apps that have Facebook’s tracking software encoded to retarget their visitors are also in on it. Impressions tracked via the Like button encoded in mobile apps, which Facebook recently introduced at its f8 conference for developers, will also be included.

All of this will be deployed in a matter of weeks. The long and short of it is, if you like at a dress once on a site like Macy’s, you’ll probably see the exact same dress again in your newsfeed. On top of this, it’s a little bit unnerving, because Facebook will be blithely ignoring the do-not-track settings on web browsers, all because “currently there is no industry consensus.” Some social media sites do honor it, like Twitter and Pinterest, while Google and Yahoo don’t.


It’s not all advertising doom and gloom, though; more control is coming to the ads you see, as well. Soon, Facebook will add a drop-down menu to ads which will allow you to remove a brand from your ad interests, the only issue being that there is a LOT of brands out there.

For now, though, Facebook points out that you’ll have to opt-out with the Digital Advertising Alliance to stop your browsing habits being shared with advertisers. Here’s Gizmodo‘s guide on how to get it done (Note: if you’re using AdBlocker Plus or anything else that disables cookies, you’re going to need to turn that off before you’ll be able to opt out):

OptOut1

When you get to DAA, you’ll see the above screen. Pick the “Companies Customizing Ads for Your Browser” tab, and scroll down until you see Facebook.

Optout2

Select the little check box next to Facebook. While you’re in this page, be sure to check off any other sites you’d like to stop using your browser history. Once you’re done, hit “Submit.”

Optout3

Now that you’ve completed this for your computer web browser, you may want to think about doing the same for your mobile devices, seeing as how we’re all constantly flicking through our feeds on our phones or tablets.

For iOS users, open settings and go to General>Restrictions>Advertising (under the “Privacy” section). Flip the switch for Limit Ad Tracking, and you’re all set.

Optout4

For Android users, go to Google Settings>Ads>Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads, and that’s all you’ll need to do.

Optout6

Technology is an irreversible part of our lives, but whether or not it will negatively or positively affect our futures will take remain to be seen.

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  1. markviduk86@gmail.com' Mark says:

    Although Facebook has become so popular globally but I do not like FB
    You think about it, a person just need to know a person’s name only and can find a lot of iour nformation,
    It’s bullshit!

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