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How to Stop Getting Facebook Ads in 2023

Feel like your Facebook feed is drowning in ads? You‘re not alone. The average user sees between 1500 to 4000 ads per month on Facebook. And during the fourth quarter of 2021, Facebook made $32.64 billion in advertising revenue.

With all those sponsored posts competing for your attention, it‘s no wonder your newsfeed can feel overrun. Luckily, you aren‘t powerless against the onslaught. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to stop getting so many Facebook ads this year.

How Facebook‘s Ad Targeting Works

Before we get into how to block ads, it helps to understand why you see them in the first place. Facebook has a sophisticated ad targeting system designed to serve users relevant, engaging ads to keep them spending more time on the platform.

Here‘s a breakdown of how Facebook targets ads to individual users:

  • Information you provide: The most basic way Facebook targets ads is through information you voluntarily provide it, such as your age, location, gender, relationship status, education level, employer, and job title.

  • Your activity: Facebook also tracks your activity across its entire ecosystem of apps and services. This includes what you post, pages and people you interact with, events you view or say you‘re interested in attending, groups you join, articles you read, and videos you watch.

  • Connections: By linking your email contacts and phone number, Facebook can match this data to user profiles on its platform. That allows it to better understand your real-world relationships.

  • Lookalike audiences: Facebook will find users with similar characteristics to you based on criteria like demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. It shows your ads to those lookalike users, assuming if they‘re like you, they may also engage with the ads.

  • Offsite activity: Through partnerships with millions of websites, apps, and advertisers, Facebook gathers information about your activity when you‘re not even using its services. This includes sites you visit, items you view or purchase, articles you read, and videos you watch.

Armed with all this data from your on-platform and off-platform activity, Facebook‘s algorithm determines which ads are most relevant to you and displays them in your newsfeed accordingly. Essentially, the more Facebook knows about you and your browsing history, the more tailored the ads.

Why You‘re Seeing More Facebook Ads Lately

If your newsfeed is suddenly overrun with what seems like more ads than usual, there are a few possible explanations:

  • Increased ad loads: Facebook regularly experiments with tweaking the balance of ads versus organic content (posts from friends, Pages, Groups) in newsfeeds. It may increase ad loads temporarily to test engagement.

  • More advertiser demand: With nearly 3 billion daily active users, demand for Facebook advertising space continues to grow. To satisfy advertisers, the platform needs to serve up more ads.

  • Specific targeting: You may match the audience targeting criteria for certain ad campaigns running now more than your friends. So you see those ads, while they don‘t.

  • Algorithm changes: Facebook is constantly adjusting its newsfeed algorithm, sometimes in ways that surface more advertisements over regular posts.

  • New interests and events: Major life events and changes, like engagements, new jobs, moving, or having children alter the types of ads Facebook shows you to align with your new interests.

  • Holiday shopping: Retail ad spending ramps up before holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you‘re likely to see more ecommerce ads around these times.

  • Current events: Trending news events often provide fodder for related ad campaigns. So Facebook may show you more ads associated with topics like elections, natural disasters, or celebrity news.

  • Cookies and tracking: Maybe you‘ve shopped online more lately at stores that drop cookies or pixels to track you for later retargeting. Now you‘re seeing more of those ecommerce ads on Facebook.

9 Ways to Stop Facebook Ads

Luckily, there are several approaches you can take to clean up and take control of your Facebook feed. Here are nine tactics to effectively block those irritating ads on Facebook:

1. Use an Ad Blocker

An ad blocker is the most direct, effective way to halt Facebook ads right in their tracks. Ad blockers are browser extensions that automatically remove ads before they even have a chance to load on web pages you visit.

When you first open a website, the ad blocker checks it against a blacklist. Anything that matches known ad sources gets blocked right away so you never see them.

Because of countermeasures Facebook has implemented, not all ad blockers work perfectly. But many still significantly reduce ads on Facebook and provide a much cleaner experience.

Some top ad blockers include:

  • uBlock Origin: This completely free, open-source blocker works on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, and other browsers. It‘s lightweight yet highly customizable for advanced users.

  • AdGuard: Works seamlessly across browsers and devices, including ad blocking apps for iOS and Android mobile devices. AdGuard removes all ads from Facebook and most major sites.

  • Ghostery: In addition to ad blocking, Ghostery stops trackers from gathering data about your online activity and building profiles. This improves privacy beyond just removing Facebook ads.

  • Blur: Blur takes privacy protection a step further by masking your info to prevent companies from identifying your personal details and tracking you. Plus it blocks ads and trackers.

The benefit of using an ad blocker is it requires virtually no effort on your part. Once installed, it hands-off blocks Facebook ads automatically as you browse. But ad blockers also remove all customization. For more control, keep reading.

2. Adjust Facebook Ad Preferences

Rather than completely blocking all Facebook ads indiscriminately, you can tweak your ad preferences to see fewer ads from specific categories or advertisers. Here‘s how:

  1. Click the dropdown arrow in the top right corner and select Settings & Privacy > Settings.

  2. Choose Ads from the menu on the left side.

  3. Under Ad Topics, explore the options and select any categories you want to see fewer ads about. Topics range from alcohol, pets, and dating to social issues, elections, and politics.

  4. Toggle any unwanted ad topics to See Less. The ads won‘t disappear entirely, but this does cut back.

You can also limit ads about social issues, politics, or other sensitive topics you don‘t want to see in your feed. Adjusting preferences gives you more granular control over the types of ads Facebook shows you.

3. Limit Ad Personalization

Another way to reduce pesky irrelevant ads is turning off personalized ads altogether. These are ads specifically picked out just for you based on your personal profile, activity on Facebook, interests, and other collected data signals.

To limit personalized ads:

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads.

  2. Select Ad Settings within the Ads section.

  3. Turn the switch for Ad Personalization to the Off or Not Allowed position.

Facebook may still show you ads, but they won‘t be tailored specifically to your interests and habits. However, note that Facebook will continue using your info for other purposes like suggesting posts and Pages you may like.

For full control over how Facebook leverages your data for ads and recommendations, visit your Off-Facebook Activity settings.

4. Browse the Facebook Ad Library

Facebook maintains a searchable Ad Library containing all active advertisements running on the platform. You can use it to see ads from a specific brand, hide ones you don‘t like, and more.

Access it by:

  1. Going to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads.

  2. Selecting Ad Library from the menu.

  3. Browsing or searching for ads from all advertisers.

  4. Choosing Hide Ad on any ads you want removed from your individual view.

This cleans up your own newsfeed. But doesn‘t block that company‘s ads across all of Facebook. For that, keep reading.

5. Use a Privacy-Focused Browser

Your choice of web browser can also play a role in how many ads you see as you browse Facebook. Rather than using Chrome, Safari, or Edge, try a browser focused on privacy protections:

  • Brave: Brave blocks trackers and upgrades sites to secure HTTPS connections automatically to protect your data. It also strips out ads.

  • Mozilla Firefox: Firefox blocks cross-site ad trackers by default. You can also enable additional ad blocking features for even more protection.

  • DuckDuckGo: This privacy-centric search engine also offers a mobile app browser that blocks many hidden trackers and forces sites to use secure HTTPS connections.

The privacy-first design removes Facebook ads, though sometimes at the cost of breaking site functionality. Test different alternatives to find one that works best for your browsing needs.

6. Use Third-Party Facebook Apps

If you primarily access Facebook through its mobile apps, try using a third-party alternative instead. Many replace the official Facebook app with enhanced privacy:

  • Frost: This Android app blocks Facebook ads and trackers, but lacks some features like Stories.

  • Swipe: Swipe for Facebook offers iOS ad blocking as you scroll and curbs some tracking.

  • Friendly: Works across platforms to remove Facebook ads and trackers while letting you filter feed content.

Third-party Facebook apps sometimes lack features or timely updates. But their ad blocking powers can still make them a worthwhile swap.

7. Route Traffic Through a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) adds a layer of privacy protection by routing your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. This hides your IP address and physical location, making it harder for Facebook to connect your off-platform activity back to you.

Some VPN services even bake in ad blocking:

  • Surfshark: Surfshark can remove ads from Facebook and YouTube.

  • ProtonVPN: The ProtonVPN Android app includes a built-in ad blocker.

  • AdGuard VPN: As the name suggests, AdGuard VPN focuses specifically on blocking online ads and trackers.

A VPN may not block Facebook ads as completely as a dedicated ad blocker extension. But combining masking your IP on top of removing ads takes privacy and control to the next level.

8. Leverage Antivirus Software

Antivirus software focuses on protecting your devices from malware, viruses, and other cybersecurity threats. But many also pack in useful bonus features like ad blocking and VPN services.

For example:

  • Bitdefender Total Security: Bitdefender centralizes antivirus, ad blocking, anti-tracking, and VPN into one convenient package.

  • Kaspersky Internet Security: Along with robust antivirus, Kaspersky adds an encrypted connection and ad blocker.

  • Norton 360: Norton bundles multilayered virus protection with helpful extras like password management, a VPN, and online privacy.

So your antivirus can pull double duty improving both security and privacy while reducing Facebook‘s ads.

9. Use Social Media Clean Up Services

If Facebook‘s algorithm keeps serving irrelevant or low-quality ads, try reshaping how it sees you with a social media clean up app like Oscura or Jumbo.

These tools audit your Facebook activity history and allow you to bulk delete or hide old posts, likes, reactions, and other items Facebook uses to build its profile on you.

Pruning this potentially outdated data from your digital footprint resets Facebook‘s understanding of your current interests and needs. So future ads better match your actual wants rather than old activity.

Should You Delete Facebook to Avoid Ads?

Deleting your Facebook account altogether is certainly the surest way to avoid its ads. But for many, the benefits of staying connected with friends and family on the platform are too valuable to give up.

Luckily the steps above allow you to control Facebook ads without resorting to complete deactivation. Try tweaking your ad preferences first, then install an ad blocker if you need more drastic action.

If ads still bog down your Facebook experience, third party apps and social media clean up tools offer helpful middle ground options. They enable continuing to use Facebook while optimizing its functionality and reducing junk.

Fully deleting your Facebook account as a last resort is still an option if all else fails. But first see if you can rein in those pesky ads and reclaim your newsfeed.

Facebook Advertising: By the Numbers

  • Facebook made $32.64 billion in ad revenue in Q4 2021 alone, and over $117 billion total for the year.

  • There are over 12 million active advertisers on Facebook as of December 2021.

  • The average user sees 1500 – 4000 ads per month on Facebook.

  • Facebook runs 6 million active ad campaigns daily.

  • 92% of Facebook advertisers use advanced targeting options beyond just age and gender.

  • Facebook gathers over 98 data points on the average user.

  • 70% of Facebook users say they dislike seeing too many ads in their feed.

Facebook Ad FAQs

Still have questions about curbing Facebook advertisements? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Why am I suddenly getting more Facebook ads?

Facebook regularly tweaks its algorithms, which can surface more advertisements in feeds. Holiday shopping seasons also increase ads. Or you may be seeing more retargeted ads after browsing new sites that drop tracking cookies on your device.

How do I stop video ads on Facebook?

Use a dedicated ad blocker extension like uBlock Origin or Brave‘s built-in blocking to halt video ads. Adjusting your ad topic preferences can reduce some as well. You can also report offensive sponsored video ads to Facebook for review.

Can I use Facebook without ads?

Not through the regular Facebook app or site. But third-party Facebook apps like Frost remove all ads. Or use an ad blocking browser extension like AdGuard with the Facebook site itself to strip out ads.

Do Facebook ads drain my battery?

Yes. All those auto-playing videos and animations tax your processing power, internet data, and screen brightness more than static posts. Ad blockers improve battery life by reducing this resource drain.

Are Facebook ads safe to click?

Most come from legitimate businesses. But some may link to phishing, malware downloads, or scams, so be vigilant about clicking, especially on ones that seem suspicious. Use antivirus software for added protection against risky ads.

Why does Facebook show me irrelevant ads?

Facebook may have outdated interest data based on old activity and purchases. Try pruning your profile with a social media clean up tool. Limiting ad personalization and off-Facebook data connections can help too.

How do I stop personalized ads on Facebook?

Adjust your Ad Preferences and turn off Ad Personalization. Additionally, limit Facebook‘s use of your off-platform data under Off-Facebook Activity settings.

Take Control of Your Facebook Feed Again

While you can‘t completely eliminate Facebook ads, you aren‘t powerless against them. Follow these tips to block distracting ads, limit tracking and profiling, and reset your newsfeed.

Try using an ad blocker extension for immediate relief. Pair it with built-in Facebook ad controls for ongoing improvements. With a few simple changes, you can remove the ad overload from your Facebook experience.

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.