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Facebook hands users new power over ad preferences

Facebook will soon let its users choose the ads they can and can’t see whilst using the site in a new ad preferences feature that explains why certain products are being targeted at you.

The new feature, which will be rolled out to the US market in the next few week before the rest of the world in the coming months, allows users to click on a link next to an ad called “Why am I seeing this?”

It then tells you exactly why the specific ad has popped up on the page and if the Facebook member decides that the particular ad isn’t of interest, the user can use the ad preferences page to turn off ads linked to the certain topic.

For example, if a Facebook user is thinking about buying a new TV and has researched TVs online or via a mobile device then Facebook may show ads for deals on a TV and help find the best price. It goes even further than this by realising that electronics is an interest and will show ads in future for other items from this genre, such as speakers and game consoles that could go with the TV set.

Related: Facebook delivering targeted ads based on user activity

The ad preferences will show up once “Why am I seeing this?” has been clicked and it gives users a chance to block ads linked to a subject, for example electronics, and users can follow a link to “View an manage your ad preferences” for a more detailed overview.

Facebook started using targeted ads based on user activity in April 2013 as part of a program that was dubbed “partner categories” by Facebook at the time and gives the company a vital revenue stream.