Facebook, the biggest online social media platform, could be a pain in the butt due to a slew of advertisements. If there is one thing which I, alongside a handful of unsuspecting end users don’t like is the website’s tendency to over share our information without prior warnings. You never know when you have ‘Liked’ something at Facebook and the whole world knows it because of the ad thingy going on.

One Facebook user shares the ridiculous number of “personalized” ads on his screen; all based on his information.

Facebook user shares his screenshot - Three different ads on same page

If you are not familiar with Facebook ads, you should read a little bit about them here. In simple terms, we are talking about those name based Ads that are generated on the basis of personalized user information. Let’s say, you recently ‘Liked’ something, it will show up on your friend’s profile’s right side as ‘XYZ Liked Blah Blah’. Got it?

How is that an advertisement? Based on your choices, if something is showing up on other people’s profile within your network, and that too at a place where normally Facebook ads are displayed, it is pretty much an advertisement. It is true that a lot of people still don’t think that such activities can be classified as Ads.

However, this is exactly how Facebook is training end users these days. At times, Facebook displays a lot of Ads in such a manner that they don’t appear to be advertisements. In fact, people simply take them as textual activity updates about their friends, family members, class mates and etc.

Another example of these ads could be a recent accomplishment of yours. You did something that you think is more relevant to closest friends on Facebook. You don’t want to share this information with anyone. But at some point, Facebook tricks you into using some apps or something that sends out the word on your “accomplishment” to the entire community.

Under ideal circumstances, Facebook shouldn’t have done what is being talked about here. The so-and-so “friend” is supposed to navigate to your profile to get the updates, rather than seeing them in the side bar or any ad space reserved for advertisements.

Good news is that you can disable/ opt out of these ads very easily. Over the period of time, Facebook has gone through a lot of security setting changes. Even the most regular users sometimes don’t understand how these settings work, or where exactly is a specific option for making changes to something that isn’t needed anymore.

  • The first step is to log on to your Facebook account. (Pretty plain and simple)

Take a look at the screenshot below. You will see a small arrow at the right side of your name. Hover your mouse over the top right side of the screen to see this. Click this arrow and a small menu will drop down.

  • Go to the Account Settings Option

On the left side of the screen, there will be lots of options. You need to click the ‘Facebook Ads’ link from the entire list.

  • Click ‘Edit Social Ads Setting’ and you will see a menu similar to the image below.

At this point, all you have to do is select “No One” and click the ‘Save Changes’ button. That’s all you need to know about making the new privacy settings against ads to go into immediate effect. All your friends will be unable to see your recent interests or activities that are going to be automatically updated on their side of the account.

What if you don’t want to see Facebook ads?

Another slightly common scenario is where you have opted out of Facebook ads, but you don’t want to see normal ads as well. You can install the ‘Ad Block’ extension for your browser. Right now, I am using Google Chrome Ad Block extension which gives me the freedom of blocking ads on any number of websites.

I have white listed my site, therefore the Ad Block extension icon is in Green color

Ad Block is Disabled on this page

After installing Ad Block, you will notice a small red color icon in the top right side of the browser pane. I can see this icon in my Google Chrome browser at the time of writing this article for you. I don’t know about rest of the browsers but the general idea is pretty much the same. By default, Ad Block is able to filter the ad based content on all the websites that you will be visiting.

In some cases, the extension is not able to block a number of ads. These ads can be manually blocked by clicking the icon and then the ‘Block an Ad on this website/ webpage’ option. Same way, if you are interested in pausing this extension on a select number of websites or perhaps one website, you can do so by either pausing the extension or adding the said website to the extension’s “White List”.

If you believe that name based Facebook ads are not that harmful, let us know why?