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Social networking site Facebook has announced that it's giving users the ability to see the information the company has assembled about them for targeted advertising purposes.
As The New York Times reports, Facebook will be the first major Internet company to allow U.S. consumers to see why a specific ad was shown to them.
Ads on Facebook will soon feature an arrow in the right-hand corner; clicking on the arrow will allow users to select "Why Am I Seeing This?," which will list the attributes -- taken from the information the company has about you on file -- that it used to determine the ad's placement.
Your Facebook 'File'
In a video explaining the changes posted online, Facebook also announced that users will be able to tailor the advertising they see while using Facebook by deleting or adding to the information in their file.
The information in each users file is gleaned from their activity on Facebook, and starting soon, their activity on outside websites and other apps on their mobile devices as well. Such tracking of user activity outside of Facebook has previously prompted lawsuits as well as lingering privacy fears over the amount and types of information stored by Facebook on individual users.
How to Opt Out
Users who wish to opt out of Facebook's external activity tracking can do two things: First, they can opt out of browser cookie-based ad targeting by Facebook and many other websites by going to the Digital Advertising Alliance consumer opt out page.
Mobile users can also adjust the settings in their mobile operating system to restrict ad targeting.
Facebook, of course, hopes that instead of opting out, users will take advantage of the new options to see ads that better suit their interests or needs.