SAN FRANCISCO —Will users be open to sharing even more information with Facebook or will they opt out of seeing ads based on their activities elsewhere on the Web?
Amelia Sawyer, who with her husband owns and runs restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio, says she plans to opt out.
Sawyer, 35, uses social media to raise the profile of her restaurants and connect with customers. But she says her distrust of Facebook has grown. She even deactivated her account for a while, but turned it back on two weeks ago.
"When is enough enough?" she said of Thursday's announcement about ad targeting. "It feels like overstepping. And if one giant tech company does it, they will all do it. To me, it's just too close for comfort."
Facebook has been able to target ads based on its users' interests for years. Advertisers can reach users based on their activity on Facebook such as "likes." And Facebook allows advertisers to target users who visit their companies' websites. Advertisers can also send Facebook a list of customers to whom they want to show ads on the social network.
But this is the first time Facebook is using people's Web browsing habits to target ads, not just for security purposes. It's all part of Facebook's drive to grow its advertising business, which generated $7 billion in revenue last year.
Daniella Puccini, 38, a Spanish teacher and yoga instructor from Jenkintown, Pa., who checks Facebook for about a half our each morning, says she has grown weary of the barrage of ads trying to coax her to buy a new outfit or a yoga mat. But, she says, she does not plan to opt out of the new ad targeting program.
"Having Facebook follow around all the things you do is a little freaky. But at the end of the day, I have nothing to hide," Puccini said.
But, she said, she does wonder "where it is going to stop."
Facebook is trying to sidestep privacy concerns by giving users new ways to control the information Facebook uses to target ads. Users can add or remove interests. They can also opt out of seeing targeted ads based on their browsing habits.
Heather Douglass, 39, a mother of two and a homemaker from Golden, Colo., says she's not convinced the ads will be relevant enough to make the loss of privacy worthwhile.
Douglass uses Facebook to keep up with her family members who live out of state and to find homes for dogs she rescues and fosters. She says she'll wait and see before deciding whether to opt out.
"If it said: 'Heather, we know you feed your family organic food so we are going to show you this deal at the Trader Joe's within a two-mile radius of your house,' that would be great," Douglass said. "But I honestly don't feel like that's what's going to happen."
Here's how to opt out:
Go to the Digital Advertising Alliance at www.aboutads.info/choices/
If you are using an ad blocker or anything else that blocks cookies, you will have to turn that off.
On the first screen, select the "companies customizing ads for your browser" tab.
Scroll down until you see Facebook.Click the check box next to Facebook. Then click "submit."
You can also opt out on your phone.
For iOS users, open settings and go to General>Restrictions>Advertising under "Privacy" section. Select "limit ad tracking."
For Android users, go to Google Settings>Ads>Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads and you're done.