Social Network

How To Stop Facebook From Using Your Browsing History For Targeted Advertising

Last week Facebook announced plans to target advertising to all of its users by utilising information gained by your browsing history. Basically Facebook will act as intermediary and deliver the targeted ads from advertiser to user, but stressed that it won’t share an individual user’s web-browsing information with advertisers directly.

There are two ways of looking at this latest change, you could take the liberal approach of “if this means I get adverts of products or services that directly interest me rather than random garbage then what’s the problem?” or the slightly pessimistic view of “how dare they use my personal browsing history to benefit advertisers

This has sparked an interesting debate on how our browsing data is used, but there is a surprising number of websites already doing this anyway, how else do you think that shortly after booking flights to New York, it seems that every website you visit has adverts for New York Hotels.

However the Digital Advertising Alliance has come to the rescue to prevent your browsing habits outside of Zuckerberg’s behemoth from being used to help deliver custom Facebook ads, this service will also raise a few raised eyebrows at just how many companies are utilising your browsing history.

So if you would like to take a look at what’s under the hood of your browser, simply disable any pop up blockers you may have installed and follow these simple steps on how to stop Facebook from using your browsing history for targeted ads.

Visit the Digital Advertising Allowance here and the scanning against your browser will begin.

Stop Facebook Targetting Ads

You might be a little surprised at just how many companies are using your browsing history so tick  the box for Facebook and any other cheeky sites you don’t feel comfortable following you and simply press “Submit your choices”

Stop Facebook Targetting Ad 2

After a short wait, you should be greeted with a message saying “Opt Out Complete” and you can smile smugly safe in the knowledge that you just secured a tiny victory against Mark Zuckerberg and maybe even watch the scene from the movie “Social Network” that states Ads aren’t cool, Facebook is Cool.


Eduardo Saverin: “You know what, settle an argument for us. I’d say its time to start making money from theFacebook but Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want advertising. Who’s right?”

Sean Parker: “Neither of you, yet. TheFacebook is cool. That’s what it’s got going for it.”

Mark Zuckerberg: “Yeah.”

Sean Parker: “You don’t want to ruin it with ads because ads aren’t cool.”

Mark Zuckerberg: “Exactly.”

How times have changed and ironically, maybe this is the reason that Facebook is no longer cool.

Zeebox Rebranded As Beamly & Recruits Online Influencers In Bid To Become Social Network for Television

Physical media is dead right? The days of browsing through TV listings in newspapers and magazines have gone, all you need is to do is simply fire up the Zeebox website or app and you can see instantly what is on the old TellyBox, along with what people are saying on Twitter, which is very often more entertaining than the TV show itself.

However, I discovered today that the former start-up realised that their user base were mostly young women, so have now repackaged Zeebox and relaunched as “Beamly” and begin to market this new brand to women aged under 35, in a bid to become the ultimate social network for TV viewers. This prompts my cynical side to think that this is quite simply one last shot at trying to get brought out by Sky or Twitter, which will finally allow the venture to make some money.

Rather than concentrating on speculation, I hand you over to the CEO and co-founder, Ernesto Schmitt, who simply points out.“The initial phase of social television and second screen was limited to apps providing a companion experience for audiences while watching TV,” 

“However, people’s emotional engagement with TV spans the whole day: they want to read up on stories about the shows and stars they love in the morning, discuss plotlines over the watercooler in the afternoon, and carefully plan what to watch in the evening – long before ever switching on the TV itself. While they watch, they want a great interactive experience that synchs with what’s on screen. And after the show is over, they want to chat and share socially with other fans. Beamly for the first time brings together all of these touchpoints with TV in a single app, all day long.”

So in a nutshell, here is the simple recipe for the big rebrand.

Simply remove the name Zeebox and the orange-look of the brand, replace with fluffy pinks and purples and a new name of “Beamly” but keep all of the original features only with a stronger emphasis on following shows and celebrities to appeal to the targeted “female under 35” demographic.

Most interestingly, Beamly has signed up more than 100 ‘influencers’ from social media sites such as YouTube to engage with users within the app before sending out the all-important press release. It’s this announcement that has made me sit up and take notice. Especially considering that Social Media reach now eclipses the reach of your traditional TV, so seeing these two mediums working together is interesting to say the least.


The growing importance of social media reach and online influence.

More and more companies seem to be realising that to make something a success, they need to spread the word fast, and the only way of achieving this, is by recruiting trusted people with a large online following and social media influence.

Although there remains a great deal of scepticism about the metrics used to measure the dark art of online influence used by sites such as Klout, Kred  and Peerindex, this is a fascinating subject and its benefits if mastered are undeniable.

The main reason for the rebranding was to lose its male geeky image, so ultimately it looks like I will now need to get my online Social TV experience fix elsewhere. I cannot help but feel the problem that held Zeebox back will also continue to hinder Beamly too, and that’s the fact that our TV habits have changed and the traditional method of watching TV is on the decline, as we binge view our way through boxsets of House of Cards and Breaking Bad on services such as Netflix.

However, I remain fascinated by the increasing high importance of online influence, so for this reason alone, I will continue to monitor the growth of this digital success story.