When you use Facebook, you can choose to share things about yourself like your age, gender, hometown, or friends. You can also click or like posts, Pages, or articles. Facebook says it uses this information to understand what you might be interested in and hopefully show you ads that are relevant.
For instance, if a bike shop comes to Facebook wanting to reach female cyclists in Atlanta, Facebook shows their ad to women in Atlanta who liked a Page about bikes. But here’s what’s key: these businesses don’t know who you are.
“We provide advertisers with reports about the kinds of people seeing their ads and how their ads are performing, but we don’t share information that personally identifies you. You can always see the ‘interests’ assigned to you in your ad preferences, and if you want, remove them,” the company said.
Here is what information an advertiser shares with Facebook.
In this case, Facebook clarifies that advertisers bring them the customer information so they can reach those people on Facebook. These advertisers might have your email address from a purchase you made, or from some other data source.
“We find Facebook accounts that match that data, but we don’t tell the advertiser who matched. In ad preferences, you can see which advertisers with your contact information are currently running campaigns – and you can click the top right corner of any ad to hide all ads from that business,” Facebook said.
Some of the websites and apps you visit may use Facebook tools to make their content and ads more relevant and better understand the results of their ad campaigns. For example, if an online retailer is using Facebook Pixel, they can ask Facebook to show ads to people who looked at a certain style of shoe or put a pair of shoes into their shopping cart.
If you don’t want this data used to show you ads, you can turn it off in ad preferences.
Why Facebook need all this data?
As people use Facebook, they share information and content – whether it’s liking a post, sharing a photo or updating their profile. Facebook uses this information to give you a better service.
For example, we can show you photos from your closest friends at the top of your News Feed, or show you articles about issues that matter most to you, or suggest groups that you might want to join.
According to Facebook, data helps them show you better and more relevant ads. And it lets advertisers reach the right people, including millions of small businesses and non-profits who rely on Facebook every day to reach people that might be interested in their product or cause.
“We sell advertisers space on Facebook – much like TV or radio or newspapers do. We don’t sell your information. When an advertiser runs a campaign on Facebook, we share reports about the performance of their ad campaign. We could, for example, tell an advertiser that more men than women responded to their ad, and that most people clicked on the ad from their phone,” the company emphasised.
And if you don’t want your data to be used to show ads, you can’t opt out of ads altogether because ads are what keep Facebook free, but you do have different options to control how your data can and can’t be used to show you ads. They can be found in ad preferences.
You can decide which of your profile fields you want used for ad targeting in the Information section under “About You.” You can remove yourself from interests under “Interests” and categories under “Your Categories.” You can turn off ads that use data from apps or websites that you visit in the Ads Settings section under “Ads based on use of websites and apps.”