SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 13, 2014 (AFP) - Facebook on Thursday made it easier for people to understand and control how their information is used at the leading social network while expanding its quest to better target ads.
The simplified data policy came as Facebook announced that work to improve targeting of ads in the United States is expanding to other countries.
Several months ago, Facebook began using information such as where people go on the Internet to help target ads.
For example, visits to an array of travel-related websites could prompt vacation ads to pop up for a person at the social network.
Feedback from a website where someone bought a stereo would raise the likelihood of them seeing ads for speakers or other accessories.
New ads come with a built-in option of people seeing why they were shown the marketing messages and allowing them to remove "interests" from advertising profiles at Facebook.
"We also wanted to make sure people could turn that off," Facebook advertising vice president Brian Boland told AFP.
"We are not changing the ways and places people opt-out, but we are going to enhance the way we apply those controls." If a person opts out on any device, the choice will be applied no matter what smartphone, tablet, or computer they use to access Facebook, according to Boland.
"In order to apply that setting for most publishers, you would have to go into the settings on each device to limit tracking," Boland said.
"What we are doing is if we see that setting once, anywhere, we will apply it across everywhere you use Facebook." Facebook is expanding the ad targeting update to Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia with more countries to be added in the future, he said.