Ads show up all over Facebook, in the sidebars and even in your news feed, sometimes they’re eerily on point with products or services you’ve recently searched or chatted about. But have you ever wondered which brands actually know personal details about you? You can find out, pretty easily, with a feature Facebook offers. Here’s how:
Look for the small downward pointing arrow in the upper right hand corner of your homepage and click “settings” in the dropdown menu that appears. This should take you to a new page where you’re automatically on the “general” page.
At the bottom of the list there should be an option to “Download a copy of your Facebook data,” click this option. The next page should say “Download your information,” click the option below that says “Start my archive” and enter your password. Depending on how much information there is for Facebook to sift through, it may take a few minutes for you to receive an email to the email associated with your Facebook account with a link to download your data.
The email warns users to be cautious when storing or sending the data, because some of it may be sensitive and it contains personal information. Follow the link and it will take you to the same “Download your information” page as before except now there should be a green button that reads: “Download archive.” Clicking this button will bring up a notice that prompts you to enter your password again, once you do, the archive will begin to download. Upon opening the download there should be a wealth of information, like the date you signed up for Facebook and every relationship you’ve ever made “Facebook official.” Look for the “Ads” option towards the bottom of the list on the left.
First you’ll see “Ads Topics” once you scroll down there should be “Ads History” and below that, “Advertisers with your contact info.” Under this header will be a list of brands, I was shocked at how long mine was, over 55 brands had my contact info. Some of them were brands I had no recollection of interacting with, but the majority of them were brands I frequented at one time or another.
Facebook allows advertisers to choose target audiences to advertise to based on things like location, age, likes and other defining characteristics of its users. So the more information you make public on your page, the more information advertisers have to target you. Definitely something to keep that in mind next time you “like” a page or check in somewhere using the site.