Facebook's New Ad System Will Target Users Based On Personal Information From Profiles

Like to tell the world your business on Facebook? Get ready for some heavily targeted ads. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is working on a system that will use all of your personal information to target its ads. Currently, Facebooks advertisers are only allowed to target ads based on age, gender and location. The new system will consider things like favorite activities and preferred music, without exposing the data to advertisers.

The Wall Street Journal says:

These ads would show up differently than the banner ads and boxed flyers that appear on the borders of Facebook pages, say people familiar with the plan. Instead, they would be interspersed with items on the “news feed,” which is a running list of short updates on the activities of a user’s Facebook friends. In addition, the ads would show up on Facebook pages that feature services provided by other companies, one person says.

Facebook Gets Personal With Ad Targeting Plan [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sherryness says:

    My Space already does this.

  2. Cowboys_fan says:

    I’d rather see a directed ad than a non-relevant tampon ad or some crap I never use.

  3. trstn says:

    I don’t really see the problem with this. Google already does this with emails, myspace (I think) already does this too.

    So long as my data is protected and not given to the advertiser I don’t really mind. Like Cowboys_fan says, I’d rather see targeted advertising I might actually be curious about than random crap I never would.

  4. LiC says:

    I still won’t be clicking on the ads.

  5. Canadian Impostor says:

    Speaking of Adblock Plus, I won’t notice the change.

  6. DontKnowthe411 says:

    @Jason: Exactly. I am still wondering what all these “ads” people are talking about are.

  7. gabi says:

    They already put advertisements in the newsfeed, so I don’t think there will be much of a change.

  8. motoraway says:

    Thanks to Firefox, Adblock and AdblockPlus, I rarely see any ads of any sort.

  9. Kavatar says:

    So I’m gonna be targeted by ads for…Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

  10. gabi says:

    @motoraway: I use those too, but if I blocked the newsfeed ads, I could also block the parts of the newsfeed that I actually want to see. Apparenty advertisers will always find a way to get to you. :P

  11. Starfury says:

    I still won’t click on 99.9% of ads even if they’re targeted at me.

  12. Murph1908 says:

    Agree w/ Cowboys_Fan.

    If I go to a page that I have submitted information for, I have already given them my ‘private’ information. So if they target ads to me based on that information, better than ads for stuff I don’t want, like Washlets.

    What I don’t like is going to another seemingly unrelated site and seeing targeted ads based on a search or other data…like when I go to one of my favorite blogs and see my recent searches for Amazon in an ad. Made me instantly delete all Amazon cookies.

    (FYI, at home, I too seem to miss out on these ads. Just not at work.)

  13. Murph1908 says:

    Me either.

    But somebody does. Just like somebody is buying their Viagra online and gobbling up penny stocks.

  14. @Kavatar: bwahahahaaha!

    Maybe you can switch your interests to stuff you’d actually want (assuming those ads were advertising X% off an item).

    Hmmm…I’m very “interested” in external hard drives…or maybe I would be if I were on Facebook.

  15. Kryndis says:

    @gabi: Look for an addon called Element Hiding Helper. It works along with Adblock Plus and makes it much, much easier to block only the things you want to block.

  16. jamesdenver says:


    Unless you’re gay, in which case all your mySpace borders are soft core porn pictures of underwear ads – making you feel uncomfortable at work when you simply want to add a friend or approve some inane comments.

    As if I’m ever stepping foot on an Atlantis Cruise anyway.

  17. synergy says:

    Blocking ads is great. When I use other people’s computers all the blinking flashing and whatever other junk just annoys me. What a waste of bandwidth.

    Another reason for me to continue not using Facebook.

  18. Amelie says:

    Considering what sort of person the owner of Facebook is, I certainly wouldn’t trust what he’d do with my information:
    “Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of Facebook, the fast-growing social networking Web site, is being sued by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, twin brothers who were founders of ConnectU, another social network.

    The brothers and another ConnectU founder, contend that Facebook’s founder stole the idea from them. In a suit filed in 2004, the ConnectU founders accused Mr. Zuckerberg of lifting their site’s source code and business plan when he worked for ConnectU as an unpaid programmer. They are asking that Facebook’s assets be transferred to them.

    Here are the facts that are not disputed: In 2002, when the Winklevoss brothers were juniors at Harvard, they conceived what was initially called the HarvardConnection, which was to be a social network for the college. In November 2003, they asked Mr. Zuckerberg, who was studying computer science at Harvard, to develop the site’s software and database, promising to compensate him later if the venture prospered.

    Mr. Zuckerberg abandoned the project in February 2004, a month after registering the domain name thefacebook.com. By the end of that February, his new site, also a social network for Harvard, had registered half the college’s undergraduates. By April 2004, it had spread to other Ivy League schools.

    “The general rule is that ideas are free unless strapped down by contract or patent.” In practice, a great idea is owned by whoever expresses that idea most successfully.”
    (This basically means that the Facebook guy wins.)

  19. Amelie says:

    This is the correct link:

  20. gondaba says:

    @gabi: With Remove It Permanently (RIP) you can setup a rule with XPath to block the ads within your newsfeed. I have one set up like this:

    //div[@class=’feed_item clearfix ad_capsule’]

    Works like a charm! The ‘ad_capsule’ is the key there.

  21. C2D says:

    Firefox teamed with Adblock Plus, NoScript, Remove It Permanently, CustomizeGoogle, and Filterlist.G Updater makes for 99% ad-free browsing on my computer.

  22. nidolke says:

    Adblockplus, you know I love you. Anything else that looks remotely ad-related my eyes and brain just glaze riiight over.

  23. Well, this explains the delightfully inappropriate sponsored newsfeed ad I saw today. Immediately after confirming a new relationship with my special lady, my newsfeed started displaying the following:

    “The hottest love has the coldest end.

    Hear real accounts of heartbreak in Episode 2 of Facebook Diaries, now playing on Ziddio. It’ll give you chills.”

    Great. Thanks for the encouragement, Facebook.

  24. aishel says:

    Add the following string to Adblock, and the ads go away:


  25. drjayphd says:

    @possiblymalignant: See, now, if only you’d put “It’s Complicated”, you could’ve avoided that whole mess. ;)

  26. ZeGerman says:

    Yawn. It’s not like it really matters. Myspace has been doing this for ages.

  27. Aeroracere says:

    Gmail READS YOUR MAIL to figure out which links to place on the top and right of your email windows.

  28. AbstractConcept says:

    well at least you won’t have advertisements for things you don’t care about, right?

    I think most people are smarter enough to decide what is worth buying and what isn’t… I tend not to notice banner ads myself.

  29. papa_panda says:

    I’m pretty sure myspace does this as well. But it’s not very specific. Like I listen to a lot of hardcore music, but I see a lot of ads about punk music, I can see the connections the advertisers made. What’s funny is that I’m not gay and I don’t say I’m gay or anything like that, and I always see ads saying something like:


    are you?

    I like playing the interactive games on the ads if I see something new or if I’m really really bored, but I never pursue the ads.

  30. drjayphd says:

    @papa_panda: Those ads pop up a lot on a pro wrestling message board that I read… gee, why would they ever think it was homoerotic? ;)

  31. TechnoDestructo says:

    Targeted ads are a great idea and all, but the targeting is only as good as the pool of ads to be targeted. If no one advertising on a site is selling anything I want, well, then none of their ads will be relevant to me no matter how carefully they’ve selected me as the most likely consumer from their pool of users.

    Targeting ads would work if you had everything for sale anywhere in the world available to be advertised to everyone who might buy anything anywhere in the world. Short of that, meh.