How to Control Targeted Ads on Facebook and Better Manage Your Privacy

Data is gold in the marketing world, especially for politics. Advertisers want to do everything possible to reach their target audience, including using your data. 

Why Targeted Ads are Controversial

Targeted ads are not necessarily bad. 

Advertisements that guide people to a desirable product or service are helpful in today's broad market.


These are some examples of where ads or business accounts may appear on Facebook mobile.

The problem occurs when targeted ads use personal data without the person's knowledge. Many social media platforms share or sell your personal data. That's their default privacy setting.

I have good news. You have some control over how Facebook uses your data.

How to Control Targeted Facebook Ads

Once logged into Facebook, go to and scroll down to "Ad Preferences." Then select "Review your ad preferences." 

There are three main categories inside ad preferences: Advertisers, Ad Topics, and Ad Settings. 

  • Advertisers lets you hide advertisements from specific Advertisers. 
  • Ad Topics lets you see fewer ads on certain topics, such as Alcohol Ads, Parenting Ads, and Political Ads. 
  • Ad Settings lets you control in even more detail what aspects of your data advertisers can use. 

What Factors Contribute to Targeted Ads

Facebook targets their ads based on interactions inside of Facebook, websites visited outside of Facebook (from companies that partner with Facebook), and based on your profile information on both Facebook and Instagram. 

Facebook gives you the option to turn this ad tracking off under Ad Settings > Manage Data Used to Show You Ads. 

For a full breakdown of what factors Facebook uses to show you ads, click here to view Facebook's FAQ webpage.

Remember, Facebook Tracks Your Social Interactions

Your Facebook interactions may also be used on ads to promote companies. If you liked a certain product, company, or organization, your name might pop up on those associated advertisements. 

Similar to an endorsement, your name gives validity to a product and might encourage your Facebook friends to like a page or buy a product. 

For example, if you like a Facebook Page running an ad, your friends may see your name associated with the ad.

If you do not want your name alongside ads, go to Scroll down to Ad Preferences and select "See your ad settings." Then select "Social Interactions" and pick "Only Me."

Bottom line

You have the ability to choose your Facebook privacy settings. You should customize your data sharing and advertising settings to protect your privacy and match your comfort level.