Facebook informs users that it's about improving ads so they're more relevant and giving people more control over ads.
Users can avoid this kind of behavioural advertising by going to the Digital Advertising Alliance opt-out webpage and installing opt-out cookies to limit information gained from your browser or opting out of all tracking advertising.
Privacy advocates are unhappy because it represents a new invasion into people’s web browsing habits to exploit for advertising.
The social media giant has been criticised for this latest grab at personal information, particularly in light of the Snowden revelations about large scale internet surveillance by the US NSA and the invasion of privacy this represents.
Some advocates say this latest change violates the FTC settlement and wants it to act.
Facebook has reportedly said it’s only doing what competitors are doing and that ads on the social media platform will have links to pages explaining why they’re seeing that ad and how to remove that interest from their profile.
At this stage, it’s only changing for US users, but Facebook expects to expand the system to all users in the new few months.
Facebook sells user data to large online databrokers such as Acxion and Datalogix, which in turn onsell to other online advertisers and marketers, to amass large stores of information about people’s web browsing habits to target advertising.
One simple way to limit tracking is to install a browser plug-in such as DoNotTrackMe.