Facebook is changing the way it shows adverts, giving users more control over the topics and advertisers they see in their News Feed, even if it’s not going to let them opt-out altogether. The tweaks address one of the common complaints about adverts based on previous browsing behaviors: that they persist in showing you related content, like a new smartphone purchase, even after your original hunt is long over.
That’s because, while Facebook and other advertisers can use historical patterns to shape the adverts they show, there’s been no clear way of users then telling them that they’re no longer interested.
Facebook is addressing that with this new system. Each Facebook advert will now have a link for “Why am I seeing this ad?”; clicking it will bring up a menu of options, including “I don’t want to see this” and “Hide all ads from X” to shape what might be shown on the next visit.
There’s also an option for approving of adverts, which should help Facebook show more relevant content in future. A link to an explanation about why that particular ad was served is also given.
Meanwhile, there’s the choice to opt out of tracked advertising altogether, using the privacy settings in browsers and on iOS and Android.
Facebook says that users in the US should see ad preferences dialogs popping up over the next few weeks. The social network intends to spread the more granular control globally over the coming months.