Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Facebook's been the king of personalized advertising for a long while, at least within that site's walled garden. The company, which has billions of users serving up biographical data and "likes" of companies and interests, knows you better than anyone. The company's "like" buttons on third-party sites also track you across the web, providing even more information on your preferences based on your browsing history.
And now, Facebook plans on sharing that information with ad providers on non-Facebook sites.
It's a bit creepy, but it's also not new: advertisers have been stalking you for years, through cookies and other means. That's why, if you visit a site looking for knitting needles or a rifle stock, you may see advertisements for knitting or firearms on the next few sites you visit. Fortunately, there are ways to opt-out of "online behavioral advertising."
Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising's Opt Out Page
The Digital Advertising Alliance, an industry group of all of the major advertising stalkers, has a centralized opt-out page which should be your first stop on the path to de-creeping your web surfing. A few notes:
Everyone should surf the web with an ad blocker installed, and Adblock Plus (ABP) is the most popular of the lot. It's an extension for your browser that blocks ads -- tracking or not tracking -- providing you with a faster, less annoying browsing experience. Again, some notes:
We mentioned this handy tool when it was first released a few weeks ago, but it definitely belongs on this list as well. The EFF's Privacy Badger blocks tracking cookies and scripts on websites, which makes ad stalking far more difficult.
A warning, however: this extension is in pre-beta, so it may not be perfectly stable. Also, some sites may fail to function if this is enabled. Much like ABP, you can click the Privacy Badger icon and disable the extension entirely -- or enable certain trackers to restore functionality (such as enabling the Facebook "like" button).
Editor's Note, June 14, 2016: This post was first published in June, 2014. It has since been updated.