Facebook is tracking you on the internet and it wants to use this information for personalised advertising. Is this a bad thing, and can you stop it?
How are they doing this?
For years Facebook has been tracking users’ movements across the internet, through the means of the ‘Like’ button. Until now, this button hasn’t gathered much information apart from the website the ‘Like’ was made from, with Facebook noting that information.
The ‘Like’ button is now going to serve another purpose; to collect information from you to deliver targeted advertising. For example, if you were to ‘like’ a book on a website, you may find that the ads you see on Facebook are now advertising different books by the same author for you to buy.
Do any other companies do this?
Advertising which targets users on an individual level is becoming more common these days with lots of companies delivering targeted ads to people, most prominently advertising giant Google. Google records your searches, the links you click and plenty of other information to give you personalised ads, similar to what Facebook intends to do in the near future.
Is it worth it and can I turn it off?
As to whether or not the tracking is worth it depends on your views on privacy, using the internet as it exists today, one must accept that certain private information will be compromised. The extent of this compromise seems to be increasing with each passing year, but there are still some things you can do to protect your privacy. Facebook is yet to launch this feature in Australia, and once it does we will let you know if, and how, you can opt out of it. Until then, you can opt out of Google’s personalised ads by visiting this page and clicking both of the opt-out buttons at the bottom of the page.
Do you think personalised ads are too invasive? Or do you appreciate that they show you things you’re more likely to enjoy?