QUESTION: I’m getting tired of seeing the same political ads. Is there a way to block political ads on Facebook?
ANSWER: With the national elections coming up, you can bet that the number of political ads you’ll see on Facebook will increase.
Fortunately, if you’re willing to spend the time, you can dramatically reduce what pops up in your feed, but remember ads are how Facebook makes money.
The following tips are specifically what you will see using Facebook on a computer, not via the mobile app.
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Hiding ads on Facebook
Facebook allows you to stop seeing any ad that appears in your feed – not just political ads – by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner of any post.
The first menu that is presented provides options that include “Hide ad” and “Why am I seeing this ad?”.
When you click on “Hide ad,” it tells Facebook that you never want to see this ad again. You should then get a “Ad Hidden” pop-up notification that asks why you want to hide the ad along with an option to “Hide all ads from XXX.”
As long as you choose one of the responses, you can click on the “Done” button to keep ads from this specific advertiser from appearing in your feed.
If you click on “Why am I seeing this ad?” you’ll get an explanation along with an option to “Hide all ads from this advertiser.”
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Your ad preferences
Another option you have to modify what ads you potentially see is by clicking on the “Make changes to your ad preferences” link that’s at the bottom of the “Why You’re Seeing This Ad” screen.
This will present you with a variety of settings that start with what Facebook thinks your interests are based on your activity on the network.
You can remove any item in this section by floating your mouse over the item and clicking the “X” in the upper right corner, which will modify future Facebook ads.
You’ll need to go into each category if you want to review everything, which may take quite a bit of time. If you really want to keep this section to a minimum, you’ll need to do this on a regular basis, because as soon as you like or view any new content, new interests will be added back in.
In the “Advertisers and Businesses” section, the fastest way to manage future political ads is by clicking on the “More” option, then on the “Whom you’ve visited” option.
Look for anything that looks political, and float your mouse pointer over it to get the down arrow option to appear on the right side. Click on the down arrow, then select “Hide ads from XXX” to hide all ads from that advertiser.
In the “Ad Topics” section, scroll down to the “Social Issues, Elections or Politics” option and click on the “See Fewer” button to the right.
Every category listed on the “Ad Preferences” page has an impact on what you will see in the future, so spend the time to go through every menu for the best results.
Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services, datadoctors.com. Ask any tech question at facebook.com/DataDoctors or on Twitter @TheDataDoc.
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