How to Stop Facebook Ads From Tracking You

Opt out of targeted Facebook ads

In order to serve advertisers better, Facebook has developed an advanced system of tracking user behavior and finding ads specific for those users. This system monitors your profile information and your behavior on Facebook (and elsewhere) in order to show you ads that are most relevant to your interests.

Many people find this kind of tracking and targeted advertising to be a privacy concern. Here's how to stop Facebook ads from tracking you.

How Targeted Facebook Ads Work

Facebook sponsored ads are so relevant to user interests and behaviors that many Facebook users think Facebook is eavesdropping on conversations. The reality isn't quite that sinister.

Facebook uses all information it can gather about you in order to show you more relevant sponsored advertising.

Screenshot of Facebook Profile

The information from your profile includes:

  • Location
  • Age and gender
  • Where you've worked or gone to school
  • Your family members and relationships
  • Any other details in your profile

Targeted advertising doesn't stop with your profile. When Facebook sells ads to advertisers, they promise advertisers that Facebook users can be targeted based on:

  • Ads you click on
  • Pages and groups you engage with
  • How you use your device and your "travel preferences"
  • The type of mobile device you use and your internet connection speed

All of this information leads to very accurate and relevant sponsored advertising.

Facebook also uses data from advertising partners that collect even more information about you through things like website cookies. This provides Facebook with some of your purchasing and web browsing activity even when you aren't logged into your Facebook profile.

How to Stop Ads on Facebook

If you're bothered by highly targeted Facebook sponsored ads like this, you can opt-out of Facebook ads by changing some Facebook settings.

  1. Select the down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page, and select Settings. In the left navigation pane, select Your Facebook Information.

    Screenshot of selecting Your Facebook Information in Facebook.
  2. On the Your Facebook Information page, select the View link to the right of Access Your Information.

    Screenshot of selecting Access Your Information in Facebook.
  3. Scroll down to the Information About You section and select the down arrow to the right of Ads and Businesses.

    Selecting Ads and Businesses in Facebook.
  4. You'll see four options to stop ads on Facebook. In order to opt out of ads, you'll need to start by selecting Ads Interests.

    Selecting Ads Interests in Facebook.
  5. On the Your Ad Preferences page, under the Your Interests section, you'll see categories of interests across the top. Select each of these and select the X in the upper right corner of the box that displays an interest you don't want to see ads about.

    Screenshot of removing ad interests in Facebook.
  6. On the same Your Ad Preferences Page under the Advertisers and Businesses section you can see businesses that are allowed to display ads to you on Facebook because:

    • The business obtained your profile from a Facebook interests list
    • You interacted with a website, app or store
    • You visited the business or advertiser Facebook page
    • You've clicked on the business's Facebook ad

    Select View Controls under any of these business names and in the pop-up window you can select Don't Allow to opt out of that business showing you ads based on Facebook interest lists.

    Screenshot of opting out of Facebook ads.
  7. On the same Your Ad Preferences Page under the Your Information section you stop Facebook sponsored ads based on your relationship status, employer history, job title history, or your education. To opt out just disable the toggle switch to the right of these profile fields.

    Screenshot of opting out of Facebook ads.
  8. Scroll down to the Ad Settings section of the Your Ad Preferences Page. Select each of the following items and at the bottom of each box, change the pull-down menu to the status specified below.

    • Ads based on data from partners: Set to Not allowed. This will prevent Facebook from showing ads based on your activities off-Facebook.
    • Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products you see elsewhere: Set to Not allowed. This will prevent Facebook from showing ads based on any of your interactions with Facebook products or services outside of the Facebook site.
    • Ads that include your social actions: Set to No One. Prevent whether you've liked a business or ad from the displayed ad for that business.
    Screenshot of Ad Settings in Facebook.

    You can further manage off-Facebook activity by visiting the Off Facebook Activity page. Select Manage Future Activity under More Options and select Manage Future Activity in the pop-up window. Finally, disable the toggle switch to the right of Future Off-Facebook Activity. This will block an future activity outside of Facebook from getting saved with your Facebook account.

  9. Scroll down to the Ad Topics section of the Your Ad Preferences Page. You can select See Fewer next to a few of the more controversial Facebook topics to see fewer ads about those topics.

    Screenshot of Ad Topics in Facebook.