Are you frustrated by the types of ads you get served on Facebook? Have you turned off App Tracking and still get weird ads? Well, there is an easy, albeit buried way to see what categories Facebook is using to serve you ads and you can turn it off (to a degree).
The first step is to go to the settings on your Facebook account – the top right button on the website (it’s a little different on the mobile app but the steps are similar). Click on “Settings and Privacy”, then “Settings” to get a long list of the various settings within Facebook. Scroll almost to the bottom of this list to “Ads” and click on that.
Next, click on “Ad Settings” and in the middle of the screen should be “Categories used to reach you” option. Clicking on that takes you further down the rabbit hole and shows you your profile information. This is what Facebook shares with advertisers from your profile. Mine were all enabled…so you want to turn these all off.
If you continue to scroll down on this list, you’ll see “Interest Categories” – this is place you want to be. Even though I had dialled back all my privacy settings, turned on “Do not App Track”, etc. there was still literally hundreds of keywords, brand names and even celebrity names listed here. These are the categories that advertisers will get to choose from when they are building an ad campaign in which they target specific types of people. I was shocked and surprised at some of the random words in this list. Clearly some of these terms hadn’t been searched, liked, mentioned, etc in ages and likely were from a a time when the privacy settings were looser on my account.
This is where you can tap the button to remove them from your list. Keep in mind (and Facebook mentions this at the top of the screen) that this won’t reduce the number of ads you get served and it won’t prevent these topics from ever being shown to you, but it makes you less obvious of a target.
That’s it! Enjoy a slightly less annoying version of Facebook after you spend the time removing all the irrelevant categories and keywords from your list. It took my over 45 minutes to go through all mine and there is no bulk remove option.
You can see what you removed in the “Removed Interests” tab as well…and if you decide you want, you can undo the removal. But you probably won’t do that.