How to Control Your Facebook Ad Info

The Facebook Ads section of the settings page has two settings, both of which require a lot of explanation. The first setting, called Third Party Sites, is perhaps the most confusing because it’s a setting that does nothing. Fundamentally, it asks if Facebook can share your information with other sites. Except, currently, Facebook doesn’t share information with any other sites.

When Facebook does show ads on other sites (which it does), it does so in such a way that your data remains on Facebook’s servers and doesn’t get shared with anyone else. So when Facebook asks if you want to share this information with your friends or with no one, it only applies if, in the future, Facebook changes its policy.

To change this setting (which, remember, at the moment, changes nothing), click Edit on the right side of the page and use the drop-down menu that toggles between Only my Friends and No One.

The second setting is called Ads & Friends, and it does do something. Facebook pays its bills by showing you ads, and charging advertisers for that privilege. Facebook differentiates its ads from other ads on the Internet by pointing out that their ads are “social.” In other words, if your friend likes something, there’s a good chance you will like it. Whenever possible, Facebook includes social information.

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To prevent your friends from seeing any information about you next to an advertisement, click Edit on the right side of the page. Use the drop-down menu that appears (below all the text) to toggle between Only my Friends and No One. Click Save Changes when you’re done.

Even if you don’t change this setting, only your Friends ever see information about you next to ads. If we’re not Friends, you’ll never see a notice that “Carolyn Abram likes this movie” next to an advertisement for a popular film.

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