Some people think that Facebook shows them ads by listening into their conversations. There is no proof that this has happened however Facebook has just revealed that they don’t need to listen to you because they have so many partnerships with websites and applications that they know most of what you do on the Internet already.

Thanks to the new California Consumer Privacy Act tech companies are being forced to tell us all what data they’ve collected about us. The new “Your Off-Facebook Activity” page shows that Facebook has recently tracked me across a shocking total 556 mobile apps and websites.

Facebook explains that they use this information to personalise the advertising:

“Show you relevant ads and introduce you to new products and services eg You may have seen ads for hotel deals if you’ve been visiting travel websites”.

“Create a more personalized experience for you by suggesting things you might be interested in, like events you might want to go to eg You may have seen events for fitness classes if you’ve recently purchased or viewed athletic apparel”.

If you want to you can turn off this tracking in the future.

Turning this off will disconnect your future activity online from your Facebook account after 48 hours. This will also prevent you from logging into apps and websites with Facebook because your web and app activity outside of Facebook will be disconnected from your account.

Facebook will still receive activity from the businesses and organisations you visit which may be used for measurement purposes and to make improvements to their ads systems, but it will be disconnected from your account. You’ll still see the same number of ads on Facebook. Your ad preferences and actions you take on Facebook only will be used to show you relevant ads.

Next you need to go back to the Off Facebook Activity page and delete your past tracking history.

Lastly I suggest you go the Your Ad Preferences page and turn off 3 more things

Unfortunately because it requires so many clicks and different steps not many people will make these changes so please make the changes yourself and encourage your friends and relatives to do so.

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Daniel Narbett

I’m not totally sure. Facebook still have demographic info of course, and will still advertise, and as a 40+ guy (on fb) all the standard ads are for dating sites and larger biceps/penis. Whereas based on my broader web history I get ads about phones, torches, multitools etc. The basic geek range 😉 Which at least is more interesting to scroll past!


Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world as simple and basic as being served up the right advertising. My issue is when Facebook gets into the space of targeted political advertising (targeting swing voters with fake messages to get them to vote one way or another), and also around social engineering to nudge an user to want something or influence an individuals ability to make informed decisions. I know I’m sounding a bit alarmist and conspiracy theorist, but do your own research on impacts of social media analytics and influencing behaviour and then maybe decide if you’re comfortable with the… Read more »