Facebook’s new ad program is targeting ads based on the non-Facebook websites users visit and apps they use. Here’s how users can opt out of the program:
• Opt-out cookie: Users can visit www.aboutads.info/choices, which is a site run by a digital advertising industry trade group, to opt out of receiving targeted ads from a wide range of ad networks, including Facebook.
But they’ll have to go through the same process, which is built around an opt-out cookie on their computers, for each browser on each computer they use. And they’ll have to remember to repeat the process if they ever delete all their cookies.
What’s more, the opt-out cookie doesn’t block advertisers from continuing to track users’ online movements.
• App block: To block ads based on app usage, users will have to go to the settings areas of their smartphones or tablets. On iPhones and iPads devices, they’ll have to go to the advertising section of the privacy area of the settings app and turn on the option to “limit ad tracking.”
On Android devices, they’ll have to go to the ads area of the Google settings app (not the main Android settings app) and tap on the “opt out of interest-based ads” setting.
• Plug-in power: At least on your computer, a potentially more effective way to block Facebook’s tracking and targeting is through ad-blocking plug-ins such as Adblock Plus and Privacy Badger, which are both available for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
With Adblock Plus, users will have to specifically turn on the feature to block social media tracking, which they can do through the plug-in’s website at adblockplus.org/en/features#socialmedia. Privacy Badger has the option turned on by default.
• Anonymize yourself: The Tor browser – available at www.torproject.org – not only blocks ad tracking but anonymizes users by routing their traffic through a series of computer relays, obscuring their Internet address and geographic location. Unfortunately, all that relaying can slow browsing considerably.