White blocking targeted advertising on Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter



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Targeted advertising is a huge business. It brings Facebook about 98% of its revenue. In the first three months of 2019 alone, the company's revenue amounted to $14.9 billion and grew by 26% in year. This incredible growth is primarily due to ads shown on Instagram.

Over the same three months, Google earned $30.7 billion[ /URL], and Twitter is about [URL='https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-23/twitter-tops-sales-daily-user-estimates-on-product-improvements' ]$787 million[/URL] revenue from targeted advertising. Facebook, Google and Twitter approach ad serving differently, but their success comes down to the same thing: targeting.

Targeted advertising involves showing you an ad that is likely to correlate with your interests. Data based on your gender, age, income level and psychological characteristics, including relationships and interests, is used to deliver targeted advertising.

Facebook, Google and Twitter track your activities, location and search queries to understand your preferences and show you relevant ads and banners from other advertisers.

They don't actually sell your personal data, but they do sell access to it. If you searched for flights on Skyscanner, when you visit Facebook or Youtube you will immediately see offers from other airlines or hotels. A little scary, isn't it?

To block the appearance of annoying ads or banners in the sidebar, you can download special extensions that will protect your browser. However, unless you are willing to give up social media and search engines, there is little you can do to completely stop them from tracking you. The Facebook Pixel, which the company uses to track users' online behavior, is active on [URL='https://theoutline.com/post/4578/facebook-is-tracking-you-on-over-8-million-websites?zd =1&zi=aujnciha']more than eight million websites
and even follows people who don't have a Facebook account.

However, there are several ways you can control the ads you see.

How to block targeted advertising on Facebook​

First of all, find out what is being advertised to you. This can be done by clicking on the "Advertising Settings" button in settings of your page on the site. What Facebook determines as your interests depends on the pages you like and follow, geotags, and posts you interact with. All this information can be found in the “Your interests” section of your ad settings. The data is divided into categories and can be deleted by clicking the button in the upper right corner.

Advertisers upload a list of their customers to Facebook using their email addresses or phone numbers. They receive this data from newsletters you have subscribed to or when you make purchases at the company's retail store. Facebook matches this data with a person's profile without revealing their identity to the advertiser. Have you signed up for the ASOS newsletter to get cashback on your first order? Don't be surprised when you see banners from this company in your Facebook feed.

At the time of writing this article, I was shown ads from 22 different companies over a seven-day period. Most of the banners appeared because I had applications from these companies installed on my phone. Ads from such advertisers may be hidden, but again they must be blocked individually in the ad settings section. There is another section where you can review the ads you have already interacted with and report your negative experience after visiting a particular site.

The "About You" section helps Facebook create a special profile of your preferences to display targeted ads. If you are single and have indicated this fact in the “Marital status” column, do not be surprised that you will soon see an ad from Happn or another dating site. There is no need to remove this information from your profile as you can prevent Facebook from sharing it with third parties. Simply change your settings on the page.

Next, be sure to open the Ad Settings section to have more control over your personal data. You can prevent Facebook from sharing information about your online activity with Instagram or certain partner websites and apps. For example, if you access the Spotify app or Netflix website using your Facebook credentials, information about your activity and interests will be shared with the company .

People want to know what their friends like. And Facebook takes advantage of this. The company will show ads to your friends based on your activity, including likes, follows, shares, and meetings you've joined. Ads will appear in your friends' feeds and create the impression that it was you who advised them to subscribe to a certain page. You can prevent a company from making these types of ads by going to Settings under “Ads based on my preferences” and selecting “No one,” which will prevent other users from tracking your Facebook activity.

Although ads cannot be completely blocked, you can determine which ads you don't want to see on your page. At the bottom of it, find the “Hide ad topics” option and decide which topics (for example, alcohol or parenting) do not interest you at all.

How to limit advertising on Instagram​

Advertising on Instagram is no different from a regular post, except for the fact that the sponsor of this post is also indicated under the username. You can hide a promoted post by clicking on “...” in its upper right corner. Instagram will ask you why you want to hide this ad. Report the ad as inappropriate so you never see it again.

The Instagram ads section only contains information about ads you've recently interacted with, as well as a link to frequently asked questions. Instagram shows you ads based on your activity on the site, Facebook and other partner websites and apps. This means you may see ads based on the preferences of the people you follow and your interests on Facebook. It is also clear that Instagram will change its policy for displaying targeted advertising, based on innovations from Facebook.

How to block targeted advertising on Twitter​

As with other Facebook-owned companies, it is not possible to completely block ads on Twitter. You can prevent interest-based advertising from being shown to you by turning off this setting in the Personalization & Data section of your Privacy Settings. Additionally, go to Your Twitter Data to see a list of topics and accounts that have been selected based on your profile and activity. In my case, about 127 interesting topics and users were found. You can delete any of the topics or any of the users, but keep in mind that the list will be updated every time you retweet or like a tweet.

These settings only work for ads served by Twitter itself, not by third-party advertisers, including Google. You can use these links: optout.aboutads.info and www.networkadvertising.org/choices to opt out of receiving interest-based advertising from third parties.

How to block targeted advertising on Google​

You can block targeted advertising using Google Ad Settings. This site provides users with detailed information about how their ads are personalized. Ads are based on the personal information you've added to your Google account, data from partner companies, and an assessment of your interests. You can block ad personalization by selecting this option in settings. This will apply to both Google products and the roughly two million other websites and apps the company partners with (excluding Google Search).

If you're logged in, go to the Data & Personalization section to change your ad personalization settings. Go back to access activity controls that let you stop Google, Youtube, and other services from tracking your web and app activity, search history, and locations. By installing special blocker, you can disable Google Analytics.

Google Chrome, other popular browsers, and the Youtube app have settings for private browsing or video browsing, known as incognito. This means that the browser or application ignores cookies to track your activities and does not keep a history of the pages you visit on the Internet. Although Google still knows what sites you visit. The company also recently announced that incognito mode will be coming to Google Maps