Targeted Ads - Facebook - Guard your privacy if you are on facebook.

October 3, 2019 10:56 PM

Guard your privacy if you are on facebook.

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information from BBC Watch Dog

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Adverts are getting cleverer- and more personal. They pop up on our social media feeds - seeming to know what we want to buy even before we do. They're specifically targeted to each of us…totally tuned into our preferences and even our physical location.
Made in Chelsea's Spencer Matthews investigates why it sometimes feels like the apps are watching us.

He finds out about BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons- tiny gadgets which are installed in stores, and send a bluetooth signal to your phone, telling apps that you've been into that store so that you can be targeted with relevant ads.

Watchdog used a beacon locator app, and tracked down loads of the tiny devices in umpteen high street stores. Soon after visiting branches of H&M, New Look and Nike London, we were targeted with ads from the retailers which even seemed to know which cities we'd visited the stores in.

But all of the retailers told Watchdog they don't use Bluetooth beacons for advertising in this way. For example, H&M said it is trialling the technology in Sweden, but not here. So how did we end up getting an H&M advert for its Manchester stores, which popped up on our food soon after we'd visited a Manchester store? Tech expert Sarah Manavis told Spencer that Bluetooth beacons aren't the only way advertisers are tracking our behaviour on and off line:

"Whether or not H&M have a beacon that's connecting with Bluetooth, they are partnering with apps like Facebook and Instagram who do track your location and taking a whole host of other behaviours you have on the app. They can take all of that together to build a profile on you and target you with very specific ads."

That goes for other companies too- monitoring our habits means the likes of Facebook can build a jigsaw of who we are, what we like and where we live, to send us precisely tailored adverts.

Sarah told Spencer that, when it comes to where and how we consent to all of this, apps like Facebook and Instagram do make it clear when you sign up that you're granting them access to track your activity in all sorts of ways, from GPS, to wifi and bluetooth. Whether or not consumers actually read these lengthy tomes of Ts & Cs is another question...

Facebook (which owns both Facebook and Instagram) gave Watchdog viewers the following advice in response to this story:

• When you download the Facebook app, you are asked whether you want to set Location Services to Always, While Using or Never. This is a setting in your mobile device, which you can turn on or off at any time.
• We do not use WiFi or Bluetooth beacons to determine a person's location if they have Location Services off.
• If you choose to turn Location Services on, Facebook uses this to provide you with location features; for example, to allow you to post content that's tagged with your location, to show you more relevant ads and to allow you to find places or WiFi nearby. You can turn this off at any time.
• Your iOS device will make you aware when location services are switched on by displaying an icon on the top right hand corner of your device.
• The new version of iOS, called iOS 13, will send people reminders about which apps can access their precise location information when they're not using an app and how many times each app has accessed it. The newest version of Android, called Android 10, gives people more visibility into and control over when apps can access their device's precise location.

Ads on Facebook

• Clicking on "Why am I seeing this?" from the drop down in the upper-right corner of any ad tells you more about why you were shown the ad and takes you to your Ad Preferences. Anyone can visit theirAd Preferences to learn more about the interests and information that influence the ads they see, and manage this information so they get more relevant ads.
• Clicking on the upper right-hand corner of an ad also lets you easily hide ads you don't like, or block ads from an advertiser you don't like.
• In ad preferences you can see which advertisers with your contact information are currently running campaigns and hide all ads from that business
• You can also see the interests that have been assigned to you and remove these if required

Ads on Instagram

• Clicking on "About Instagram Ads" from the drop down in the upper-right corner of any ad tells you more about why you were shown the ad.
• You can also see the interests that have been assigned to you and remove these if required. To access your "Ad Interests" on Instagram:
o Go to your profile, tap the menu icon, select "Settings" at the bottom and then choose "Security."
o Then select "Access Data" and "Ads Interests", to be shown a list of interests that your ads are based on.

• Clicking on "Why am I seeing this?" from the drop down in the upper-right corner of any ad tells you more about why you were shown the ad and takes you to your Ad Preferences. Anyone can visit theirAd Preferences to learn more about the interests and information that influence the ads they see, and manage this information so they get more relevant ads.
• Clicking on the upper right-hand corner of an ad also lets you easily hide ads you don't like, or block ads from an advertiser you don't like.
• In ad preferences you can see which advertisers with your contact information are currently running campaigns and hide all ads from that business
• You can also see the interests that have been assigned to you and remove these if required

Ads on Instagram

• Clicking on "About Instagram Ads" from the drop down in the upper-right corner of any ad tells you more about why you were shown the ad.
• You can also see the interests that have been assigned to you and remove these if required. To access your "Ad Interests" on Instagram:
o Go to your profile, tap the menu icon, select "Settings" at the bottom and then choose "Security."
o Then select "Access Data" and "Ads Interests", to be shown a list of interests that your ads are based on.