Facebook Ads Use Online and Offline Data to Target You
Facebook ads will now be even more annoying … I mean personal. The social media giant isn’t content with the way their ads are working right now and has partnered with four of the world’s largest data collection warehouses: Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai. This partnership means that Facebook will now have access to even more of your personal information (such as browsing history, etc.) and will use that information to hammer you with more personalized Facebook ads. And, unfortunately, unlike other Facebook ads and apps, it’s not as easy as clicking a radio button in your profile settings to get out of this mess.
How Facebook Ads Target You
These new Facebook ads are insidious. Not only will the omnipresent elephant have access to your digital history (browser cookies etc.) but these data storehouses also track your offline life as well – meaning Facebook may (potentially) learn where you shop, what you buy, and a whole lot of other too-close-for-comfort sort of info.
As mentioned above, even if you opt out of pretty much everything Facebook offers, they will still be able to (freely) access any of the data collected by one of the big four. This data is collected on a regular basis through loyalty and rewards cards at supermarket, drug stores, and pretty much anywhere else. And you agreed to it at one time or another – even if you don’t recall. (It was in the fine print). So, it takes a little doing to get this undone.
How to Thwart the New Facebook Ads
So you want to know how to enhance your Facebook security and keep Big Brother from keeping tabs on you?
Install Third-Party Browser Add-Ons to Keep Online Activity Private
These cookie gobbling add-ons have been available for years and now there’s even more reason to use them. Add-ons like DoNotTrackMe and Ghostery are available for various OSs and browsers.
Keep Your Offline Info Private
Avoid giving out your phone number, address, or any other sensitive info as much as possible. It’s hard, these retailers are going to ask for it …l constantly. But if you keep it to yourself, Facebook ads won’t know what to make of your stealthy, ghost-like digital footprint.
Manually Opt Out
Special thanks to Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation for doing all the hard work. If you need a more detailed walkthrough of any of these steps, you can visit his tutorial at Gizmodo.
This is the hardest. Essentially you have to go to each of the big four websites and find their opt out instructions. The exception is Epsilon which forces individuals to either email the company or send notification via snail mail.