Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal: How to stop those creepy targeted ads

Is Facebook serving you with creepy ads? Here’s how you can stop the social network from tracking you around the internet.


Facebook is the most widely used social networking website by billions of users across the globe. More than a platform to connect with family and friends, we also use the social network to share good and bad moments of our lives, be it using photos, videos or simple status updates. And while not many users are aware, the social media giant is tracking your every move.

Ever came across a moment where you were looking for some product online, say shoes or apparels or even travel destinations, and an ad similar to your interest pops up on Facebook? I’m sure this has happened a lot of times, and while some may try to figure out how Facebook knows about your likes, others simply ignore. But after the recent data scandal by Cambridge Analytica, personal information about 87 million users was compromised. In India itself, information about 5.6 lakh people is likely to have been leaked.

The firm had acquired user details such as their profile, location, and most importantly, data of their friends. It used this data to help Donald Trump identify voters with target ads, while also offering best ways to approach, and where to campaigns. Cambridge Analytica even helped with strategic communication, like what to say in speeches. The important thing to look here is Facebook serves users with targeted ads based on their browsing habits. If you want avoid Facebook from tracking you, while also stopping those targeted ads, here’s how to do it.

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Disable ad settings on Facebook

Step One: Ad Settings

To stop Facebook from collecting your data, head over to Settings, followed by Ads in the left column, and click on Ad settings.

Step Two: Your browsing history

Now, there are three tabs, click on the first one that says “Ads based on your use of websites and apps.

Step Three: Turning off your interest

Finally, under “Show online interest-based ads,” you will see a drop-down menu with two options. Select Off, and you’re good to go.

There is one more tab, that serves ads on apps and websites outside Facebook. Simply click on it and select ‘Off’ to stop Facebook from showing ads on connected devices, such as smartphones and TVs.

Finally, head over to Settings on Facebookfollowed by Apps in the left column, and then click on Ads. Here, you need to turn off Facebook’s ability to collect your data from other websites that you visit.

Step Four: Your information

On the same page, you have a tab called “Your Information” to share your relationship status, your employer, job title and education among others. Toggle the button to turn these off, which will block Facebook from sharing your data with advertisers. 

Disable ads settings on smartphone apps

If you have disabled the ad settings on web, no need to disable on smartphones. However, if you don’t usually login to Facebook on a PC, you can turn off interest-based advertising on your Android or iOS smartphone too.

On Android

Step One: Account Settings

To begin with, open Facebook, tap on the hamburger menu option on the top right and scroll down to Account Settings.

Step Two: Ad Settings

Scroll down and tap on Ads, and tap on Ad settings.

Step Three: Social actions

Just like web, you will find three tabs here. Tap on the first two tabs and select “Off” from the options. And on the third tab about “Ads with my social actions” select “No One.

Step Four: Your information

Go back, and under Ads page you will find a tab called “Your Information” where you need to toggle off the options that lets you share your information such as relationship status, employer details, education, employer, and more.

On iOS

Step One: Settings

The menu options are slightly different on iOS. To begin with open Facebook and tap on the Hamburger Menu on the bottom right corner, then scroll down and tap on Settings.

Step Two: Your Information

Next, tap on Account Settings, followed by Ads. Next, tap on “Your Information” and toggle the buttons about what you share with people.

Step Three: Staying anonymous

Now go back, and tap on Ad Settings. Here, tap on the first two tabs and change Yes to No, and on the third tab, change to ‘No One’and you’re done. 


Once these settings are made, Facebook will no longer serve you those creepy ads, nor it will stalk you on what you search on the internet.

  • Published Date: April 13, 2018 8:54 AM IST