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Controlling bothersome or troubling ads online

Change your settings on Facebook, Google, and Instagram to customize your ad experiences across the internet.

Consumers are exposed to thousands of advertisements per day (up to 10,000, according to some estimates), and there is nothing you can do to escape them totally. However, by using a few little-known technologies, you can fine-tune which advertising you see and prevent seeing too many ads on specific themes and brands.

The tech titans collect information about you in order to sell your attention to organizations selling items and services for which you might be a potential sales prospect. But just because your computer’s spinning hard drives and algorithms believe an ad is “related” to you doesn’t imply you want to be blasted with it. Ads for infant clothing, for example, can be very painful for people who have lost a pregnancy. A individual whose data indicates a significant interest in beer may be suffering from addiction and want to avoid alcohol advertisements.

Even advertising that aren’t offensive can be irritating. Sometimes you just grow bored of seeing the same ones, or pitches for businesses and topics you’re not interested in.

Google and Meta (Facebook’s parent company) dominate the vast majority of internet advertising. It’s not only the stuff on Google Search or in your social media feed. The majority of the ads you see in applications, on websites, and elsewhere on the internet are supplied by Google and Meta’s advertising networks.

Google has now unveiled a new set of ad restrictions called My Ad Center, which will be available later this year. It will provide more opportunities for consumers to fine-tune the ads that the corporation sends your way, as well as make the settings easier to access. However, you do not have to wait for it to change your advertising experience.

You may limit the ads and topics you see as you browse the web by using settings that are currently accessible on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. These controls, according to the tech giants, will not ban every ad on a given topic, but they may assist.


How to make use of google ad settings

Google has a plethora of perplexing privacy options.

Google’s ad settings provide three main options. The first option is to turn off “personalized” adverts entirely. If you change this setting, Google says it will no longer utilize the data it gets from following you across the internet to target adverts. You’ll still see the same number of advertising, but they’ll be less tailored to your preferences.

If you don’t want to turn off customized adverts totally, Google displays a list of dozens of categories that the firm assigns to you (such as demographic brackets, certain brands, or topics such as gardening). Your parental status or a preference for baby names could be mentioned on the account. You can choose which entries on the list you want to avoid, though Google can not guarantee you will never see adverts on these topics again.

Finally, Google is beta-testing a new setting that avoids certain sensitive topics in YouTube advertising. Dating, gambling, pregnancy and parenting, and weight loss are all alternatives.

To locate the controls: Navigate to Google Ad Settings, or from any Google page, click the symbol in the top right (you must first sign in) > Control your Google Account > Manage your data and privacy > Scroll down to the Ads Settings section. (These instructions are for a computer browser, but they should work on a phone as well.)

You can then disable tailored adverts or make explicit selections about what you wish to avoid.


How to make use of facebook ad settings

Facebook offers its own set of advertising options. They are comparable to Google’s alternatives, but there are many more to choose from. Facebook’s ad settings include a few options spread across multiple tabs.

You can view the advertisers whose adverts you’ve recently seen and choose to hide them in the future. Then there are ad subjects, which are categories that Facebook has assigned to you. There are hundreds of them, but there is a search tool. The best approach is to search for the subject you want to avoid. (If you use the search box, it will suggest a few potentially sensitive topics like parenting or politics.) Facebook, like Google, does not guarantee zero advertisements on certain topics if you use these settings.

Then there’s a page with four more settings, which is where things become complicated. They’re all worth looking at, but two stand out. Turn these options off if you want adverts to be less targeted generally rather than ignoring specific themes.

The first is “Data from partners concerning your behavior.” The details are convoluted, but the simple takeaway is that other companies provide data about you to Facebook. If you disable this setting, Facebook claims it will avoid utilizing part of the data for its own ads.

The second is “Ads displayed outside of Facebook.” As previously stated, Facebook’s ad system is used in apps and across the internet, not only on Facebook. The “Ads presented off of Facebook” setting controls whether marketers can use data from your Facebook activity to target you on other sites.

To locate the controls: Navigate to Facebook’s advertising settings, or click the down arrow in the top right corner of the Facebook main page > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Then, from the left-hand menu, select Ads. (These instructions are for a computer browser, but the processes are the same on a phone or app.)

Ad Preferences can be accessed from here. To discover the options you wish to change, use the tabs on the left. The second option is Ad Topics, and you may just see a few of them—click “See more” to see the entire list, which may be rather large.

To control the advertising you see outside of Facebook, select the third option, Ad Settings, and then scroll down the menu that appears.


Instagram ad settings: how to use them

Instagram and Facebook are both owned by the same corporation, Meta, and they use a lot of the same technology. They also have some advertising preferences in common.

You can request to view less advertisements on sensitive issues such as parenting, alcohol, pets, and politics, as well as to avoid advertisements in other categories such as home improvement or exercise. Instagram, like the other platforms, promises you’ll see fewer advertising, but not that they’ll be gone totally.

Here’s an idea: According to Stephanie Chan, a corporate spokesperson, if you modify the “Ads seen off of Facebook” setting indicated above, the firm will apply the adjustment across all of its services as long as it can match your multiple accounts together.

Go to your Instagram profile by tapping the symbol in the bottom right corner of the app > Open the menu in the top right > Settings > Ads.

The relevant options are available under “Ad themes” and “Ad interests.”


General advice

Advertising businesses are desperate to show you adverts that you will find interesting. When you interact with an ad, the technology company that supplied the ad is compensated more.

You may not realize it, but there is typically a chance to provide feedback on the advertisements you encounter.

You can do this on YouTube, Google, Instagram, and even random websites’ advertisements. Look for a small menu or icon in the top right corner of the ad.

If you tell you don’t like an ad, the ad network that provided it may change its algorithm, and you may see less ads like the one you’re annoyed by. There are no guarantees, but it is worth a shot.