Ads on Facebook can be targeted so accurately that many people think Facebook is listening to their private conversations or even that their phone is spying on them. A typical digital day on Facebook leaves a rich data trail — posts you engage with, people you talk to, your age and gender, the devices you use — which is aggregated and sold to advertisers.
Meta (Facebook and Instagram’s parent company) doesn’t want you to learn how to turn off ads on your Facebook news feed, because that’s how they make money. So if anonymous browsing is important to you, you need to learn about targeted advertising and how a secure browser can help you stop it.
What are targeted ads?
Targeted ads are advertisements directed toward a specific audience, based on data gathered while tracking online activity. Ads are targeted to people based on demographics (who they are, where they live) and preferences (what they like, search for, click on). Through the use of technology like online tracking and ad tracking, companies try to display their ads more effectively, to those people more likely to engage with their products.
How do I adjust my ad preferences on Facebook?
You can adjust your ad preferences on Facebook through Facebook settings.
Here’s how to turn off targeted ads on Facebook:
On your Facebook home page, click your profile picture in the top-right to open the drop-down menu. Click Settings & privacy.
Click Ads in the left panel.
Click Ad Settings, then select Data about your activity from partners.
Toggle the button to Not allowed. This will let you avoid sponsored ads — at least for a little while.
Your attention is big business for the ad industry, retail chains, and large technology companies — eventually personalized ads will find their way back to your computer and mobile screen.
Note: This method only saves you from sponsored (sometimes called personalized, or targeted) ads on Facebook, not all ads in general. Some of the best security apps for iPhone and Android privacy apps include ad blockers, so check them out if the ads are still disrupting you.
No one knows how to stop ads on Facebook forever just yet, but some third parties have figured out how to get rid of ads on Facebook temporarily.
How can I block ads on Facebook?
Ad blocker apps are designed around stopping ads on Facebook and other media platforms. If you have Chrome, some Chrome security extensions can block ads and protect you in other ways. There are free ad blockers available on some browsers, but other, privacy-focused browsers like AVG Secure Browser have built-in ad blocking features.
Here’s how to block ads on Facebook with a private browser:
Download and Install AVG Secure Browser.
Click the three dots in the upper-right corner and select Security & Privacy Center. (Or, click the green shield icon in the address bar.)
Select Privacy Guard.
Select Strict Blocking.
Click Set strict.
That’s how you block sponsored ads on Facebook with AVG Secure Browser. Other browsers designed for privacy and security will have their own options that you can find through settings. Now that you know how to block ads on Facebook, let’s take a look at the advantages of stopping Facebook ads.
What are the advantages of blocking ads on Facebook?
Blocking ads on Facebook means that Meta will have less data on you — and less data to sell to advertisers. More generally, blocking ads helps you keep a lower profile as you hop around the internet. Every ad you look at or click gives advertisers a little more data to target you with — block ads to keep you and your device more private.
The main advantages of using an ad blocker for Facebook include:
Blocking pop-ups and disruptive ads
Blocking ads stops pop ups from interrupting your work and taking up valuable screen space.
Faster browsing and less data
As you browse, remnants of your activity are collected and stored in the form of cookies. When your browser is full of cookies, it loads slower and uses more data. Blocking ads stops many types of cookies from accumulating. Periodically deleting browser cookies can help speed up your browser, too.
Every ad you engage with adds to your digital fingerprint, which is how companies target you. You can still be tracked without ads, but blocking them certainly helps.
Protection against adware
Some ads can even give you malware. Learning how to block pop ups on Facebook and other sites reduces the threat of an adware infection.
Even if you know how to block ads from Facebook, Meta owns (or partners with) so many companies that they can likely find you somewhere else. When you add Google and Amazon to the mix, it can seem like you’re being tracked everywhere you go online. Learn more about whether it’s safe to log in with Facebook and Google.
And because there’s always a risk of a data breach, check your Facebook for leaks to make sure your data hasn’t been exposed.
How to keep Facebook from tracking you
If you block ads on News Feed, Facebook can still track you in other ways — even on other websites. After they learn all about your activities, interests, and habits, they can sell the information to other companies or use it internally.
Here’s how to keep Facebook from tracking you:
Update your Facebook privacy settings
One setting called Off-Facebook activity lets companies other than Facebook share info with Facebook about your habits and interests. Here’s how to change your Facebook privacy settings:
Go to off-Facebook activity and select Disconnect future activity.
Toggle the button for Future off-Facebook activity to off.
Delete your Facebook account
Deactivating Facebook will save you from being tracked by them. Many people only use Facebook for their messaging service, which you can still use after you deactivate your Facebook account.
Turn off app tracking on your smartphone
You're not the only one wondering if your smartphone is tracking you. Apps target you with ads more easily by knowing where you are and where you go. You can turn off location tracking in any app in your device settings. On Android, go to Settings > Location. On iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking.
Get anti-tracking software
Good anti-tracking software creates digital noise as you browse, so anyone tracking you gets confused. It also tells you who’s trying to follow you and how they’re trying to do it. A specialized browser cleaner tool will clear the history and cookies from your browser used to track you and help optimize your device.
Keep ads at bay with a secure and private browser
AVG Secure Browser keeps trackers in the dark. Companies can’t access your medical info, banking data, shopping habits, or other info if they can't see you — or if they think you’re someone else. Keep your data trail clear, keep Facebook advertisers guessing, and stop targeted ads for good. Download AVG Secure Browser and send trackers packing.