Facebook has long used “like” buttons and comment boxes on other websites to track vital data about its users as they move about the broader Internet. Now, however, Facebook will start leveraging that browsing data to serve up targeted advertising to users in the U.S., the company said Thursday.
If the idea of Facebook ads gleaned from your entire web history creeps you out, Facebook is offering a way to opt out of the program — You can visit this website built by the Digital Advertising Alliance to tell Facebook and other companies that you don’t want to receive specially targeted ads.
This won’t stop Facebook from showing you ads, but it will prevent the ads from being served up based on your web activity. It also won’t stop Facebook from collecting info about your browsing habits for other purposes. The social network ties such data to individual members’ profiles, keeping it for up to 90 days.
People can opt out of targeted ads from Google, Yahoo and other large websites using the same service. These settings must be enabled on each individual browser a person uses.