Annoying Facebook Ads? Keep yourself off your friends’ pages!

Annoying Facebook Ads? Keep yourself off your friends’ pages!

Hey! So all those Facebook ads that are suddenly popping into your feed because someone “liked” something from a commercial site? You don’t like being linked that way? Don’t want to annoy your friends the same way?

Fix it!

If you look at the top of your Facebook page, on the right in the blue bar, you’ll see your icon and name, “Home” and a downward triangle.

Click the triangle once to open up your settings. Look at the bottom of the left column and you’ll see a text link for “privacy settings.” Click that link and it will open up a page with lots of useful settings here.

Find “Ads, Apps and Websites” to keep sponsored ads from showing up with your name on other FB user pages. Click Edit Settings again.

You can adjust all sorts of things here, especially if you use Apps frequently, but the sponsored ad stuff is below. See Ads, and click Edit Settings again.

Now you have two major ad types and you have to set each one individually. “Ads shown by third parties” and “Ads and friends” each have their own settings. Click through each section’s Edit Settings. (Or, try using these links, which might work for your login (or not):

The default is set to “Only My Friends” but you can change it to show “No One” your information. You have to choose the option in both places and save your settings.

FB advertised this change months and months ago, but finally got around to implementing the sponsor code about a month or so ago and it’s rolling out slowly. I just started seeing the ads on my page.

If you want me to tell you I’m seeing your name associated with restaurants and such, let me know. Happy to oblige.


Me: Now in convenient shareable format.

LS: I don’t think this actually works. I’ve had both of those settings set to “No One” for a long time, and I still see both types of ads regularly in my feed. Until this changes, I consider it nothing but a digital pacifier.

Me: No. Your settings affect what you display on other people’s pages. FB defaults to displaying your likes for your friends unless you take the time to say otherwise. Your friends need to do the same. As you can see from the directions, these settings are very well hidden. The average user has no idea how to change these settings – something FB counts on for selling the ads in the first place.

Like I said, feel free to share.

LS: Ah, I misread. And yes, they are very well hidden, a true marvel of deliberately obfuscated GUI design. I must grudgingly admire the evil genius behind it.

Me: Remarkable how sneaky this is, huh?

LS: Almost as hard to find as the place where you can block specific apps.

“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

Me: HHGTTG reference FTW!

JZS: Thanks for typing this up. I had already set my preferences thusly but it pays to check that they haven’t somehow changed mysteriously.

Ah Facebook, what can you be thinking?

Ah Facebook, what can you be thinking?

Oh dear.

On Wednesday, November 21, at about 12:56pm, Facebook posted in their Site Governance page a note that they are changing their policy and requesting feedback of a more qualitative nature:

We recently announced some proposed updates to our Data Use Policy, which explains how we collect and use data when people use Facebook, and our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which explains the terms governing use of our services.
The updates provide you with more detailed information about our practices and reflect changes to our products, including:
  • New tools for managing your Facebook Messages;
  • Changes to how we refer to certain products;
  • Tips on managing your timeline; and
  • Reminders about what’s visible to other people on Facebook.
We are also proposing changes to our site governance process for future updates to our Data Use Policy and SRR. We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them. So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback. We also plan to roll out new engagement channels, including a feature for submitting questions about privacy to our Chief Privacy Officer of Policy.
We encourage you to review these proposed changes and give us feedback before we finalize them. Please visit the “Documents” tab of the Facebook Site Governance Page to learn more about these changes and to submit comments before 9 AM PST on November 28, 2012.
You can also follow and like the Site Governance Page for updates on this process and on any future changes to our Data Use Policy or SRR.
Your timeline: You have settings that help you design how your timeline will appear to others, like hiding things from your timeline. Remember that this only impacts whether those things are visible on your timeline. Those posts are still visible elsewhere, like in news feed, on other people’s timelines, or in search results. You can delete your own posts from your timeline or activity log, or ask someone else to delete a post you’re tagged in.
Cookies info: Technologies like cookies, pixels, and local storage are used to deliver, secure, and understand products, services, and ads, on and off Facebook. Learn moreabout how we and our partners use cookies and similar technologies.

On their page, they list the following announcement (in many languages, so it’s clear this is a world-wide change):

We are proposing updates to our Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to, among other things, restructure our site governance process. Please review the updates under the “Documents” tab of our Site Governance Page and leave comments by 9:00 AM PST on November 28, 2012. Remember, substantive and relevant comments about specific changes help us evaluate a proposal.

But what does this mean to users like me and you?

Well, with the recent breaks in structure that make sure only some people see our posts, I often wonder just how much we’re shouting into the wilderness on any given subject. That said, the proposed change seems to show that Facebook’s management want to give their users more control (not less). Changing the vote-only option (at least on its face) provides users the opportunity to tell Facebook powers that be exactly what we think of the changes they make to the system.

You only have until November 28 to comment and Facebook has made sharing that information darn difficult.

Here’s what I am about to post on the thread. Feel free to repost everything BELOW the —, and to share this post with your friends:

While I welcome the opportunity to give Facebook specific feedback on policy changes, I DO NOT AUTHORIZE the changes proposed under the new Terms and Conditions statement.

At no time have I ever authorized Facebook to use my personal data (texts, photographs, personal pictures, personal information and so on) for Facebook’s commercial use, nor do I now authorize their use.

In accordance with the UK Data Protection Act, the use of same is in direct violation of the DATA PROTECTION ACT of 1998 (, and affects not only my rights but those of people connected to me via Facebook who live in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

This denial of authorization statement applies to all the data I have posted or shared on every one of my Facebook pages and groups, as well as those items shared by others through their Facebook accounts.

Commercial use of these data requires my written permission. My data MAY NOT be used for marketing research or advertising purposes.

Furthermore, I should have the right to decide who can see my “Friends” list, to manage the information displayed in my feed, and who remains my Friend.

I object to any Facebook proposal that discloses my personal data to third parties for any reason whatsoever. I continue to reject both existing guidelines and current proposed changes, and urge Facebook to consider carefully whether individuals will keep their accounts if Facebook enacts proposed data use changes. Consumer copyright, privacy policy, and data protection legislation in Germany and Europe affects users worldwide.

There is no service available anywhere that is so valuable its users should consider privacy violations secondary to their rights to use the service in question.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.