It is no secret that Facebook tracks third party web pages its users visit through the use of social plugins such as the “like” button seen on many pages across the web.
This week Facebook announced they will begin using this vast amount of non-Facebook browsing data, raising privacy concerns.
This means that Facebook will show users much more specific ads based on what Facebook says are “things we think you care about“.
“Your preferences include information from your profile as well as actions you take on and off Facebook.”
Facebook claims you can opt out of these ads through the Digital Advertising Alliance AdChoices program, but the program only allows you to opt out of around 100 specific companies, relies on cookies, and as the EFF has noted, “does not actually stop tracking.”
Despite using a separate ad blocker myself, I still have an extensive list of topics I am targeted for, according to the site. The list of foods, activities, and people Facebook thinks I am interested in is mostly accurate but sometimes baffling. A sample of the food and drinks I like, according to Facebook:
You can check your own Facebook ad preferences here (and tailor them to be more accurate to your interests, if that’s what you want). Prepare for this list to get a lot more reflective of your activity across the web in coming months.