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Terms & Conditions: Facebook’s ‘Data Use Policy’ explained

Part 4. Advertising

Your “basic info” and any other information you’ve shared publicly, or otherwise given Facebook access to, can be used to by the social network to deliver ads.

Advertisers: When someone advertises on Facebook, the social network allows them to choose the exact demographic they want to target. (You can try making your own ad here.) This information comes from your Facebook profile and activity on the site.

“Social context”: Facebook will often pair ads with other content from around the Web that is related — just as Google and many other online advertisers do.

Sponsored Stories: Sponsored Stories are like ads from your friends. They are created from your actions on Facebook (Likes, RSVPs to invitations, etc), and appear in the same place as ads to on your Facebook News Feed dashboard. 

Facebook content: Facebook sometimes promotes its own features based on services you or your friends use. So if you use a Facebook contact import tool, Facebook might tell your friends you did so, or vice versa.

Part 5. Facebook’s tracking technology

facebook eye

Facebook uses opt-in cookies, pixels (invisible blocks of code embedded in a website), and other similar technologies to track what you do around the Web. Facebook likes to talk about how this collected data helps make Facebook better — but remember: this is the primary way your data is collected. In other words, when people complain about Facebook “spying on you,” these are the technologies they are talking about.

You can block these cookies and pixels using a browser plug-in, like Do Not Track Plus or Ghostery.

Part 6. Odds & ends

At the end of Facebook’s Data Use Policy, it tosses in a variety of other information, like how to contact the company, what to do if a Facebook user dies, and details about how it abides by the laws of certain countries. None of it is likely vitally important for most users, but it’s worth a look.

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