Facebook says that they are “improving Facebook ads” – but for whom? For themselves, of course, because remember, you are not Facebook’s customer – you are their commodity. This new development means that Facebook is now using what is known as ‘behavioral advertising’ (when it’s on their website), or ‘remarketing’ (if their ads are following you around). Basically Facebook is using your data from your browser use – and your mobile app use – when you are not on Facebook – to target ads to you.
Explains Facebook of this most recent update to their ad-serving technology, “Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use.”
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Facebook goes on to explain, at their page here, “Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.”
The good news is that there is a place you can opt-out of this sort of tracking. The bad news is that it is completely voluntary on the part of the companies that are tracking you.
You can opt-out of Facebook (and other) behavioral advertising at the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising website. Of course, again, this is voluntary on the part of the companies, and the fact that it is new and in “Beta” doesn’t help to instill more confidence.
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