Facebook has begun tracking users on sites outside of the social network using cookies, as the firm looks to boost its ad relevance.
Currently, Facebook shows ads based on user activity within the social media network. For example, expressing an interest in a certain band, or liking a page about “Game of Thrones” will influence what type of targeted ads show up in a user’s feed.
Under the new scheme, Facebook will also begin using information from the websites and apps you visit outside Facebook, too.
Users can block that tracking, and ads based on extra-Facebook Web surfing, by following instructions from the Digital Advertising Allowance.
The roll-out of this type of advertising will initially start in the US “in the coming weeks”, according to a blog post.
“Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use,” Facebook said
“Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps,” the firm said. “We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.”
Separate from the cookie announcement, Facebook is also premiering a new tool, accessible via every ad on Facebook, explaining why you’re being shown an ad, and allowing you to adjust your interests to prevent or encourage targeted marketing.
In 2012, The US Federal Trade Commission found that Facebook had deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. The FTC made Facebook get user consent for changes to its privacy and also subjected the social network independent audits for the next 20 years.
Watch this video explaining how the new programme works below:
Read the blog announcement here