If you search online for products or services, companies like Google and Facebook creates a profile of your habits. They use this information to show you ads that the company thinks will interest you.
While this may be for the most part true, there may be some topics that you would not advertise. For example, a vegan or vegetarian would not want to see an advertisement about meat.
Fortunately, you have some control over what kind of advertising you see. Read on to find out how Google makes it easier to get rid of sensitive topics.
Here is the background
Targeted advertising is a lucrative industry, but the companies that serve it must also make sure that it reaches the right audience. Although Google and Facebook already know a lot about you, they don’t know your daily problems and worries.
For example, you may end up advertising alcohol or gambling. So you will see these ads if you don’t tell Google not to show them to you. This was one of the company’s changes over a few years ago when it gave users the ability to block certain topics or categories.
Google is not the only organization where you can do this. Earlier this year, Facebook removed detailed targeting options that may include sensitive topics such as sexual orientation, religious practices and political beliefs. Facebook will also restrict advertising for alcohol, dating sites, online pharmacies and cryptocurrencies depending on where you live.
Google is now expanding the list of topics you can restrict beyond gambling and alcohol sales. Confidential categories for advertising in Gmail and YouTube now include:
- Raising children
- Weight loss
Just keep in mind that while you can restrict topics in Gmail and YouTube, it doesn’t make them disappear from Google ads in your web browser or Google Shopping.
What can you do about it
Google will stop showing you sensitive topics only after enabling this feature. But, delving into the settings, you may be shocked to see how much the tech giant knows about you and what they think will interest you.
Here’s how you can disable ads for any topic on Google platforms such as Gmail, YouTube and Instagram:
- Go to myaccount.google.com and sign in to your Google Account.
- In the left menu, click on Data and privacy.
- Scroll down the page and click Advertising settings.
- The page should show all the data points that Google uses to serve personalized advertising.
- Walk through the topics and if you notice something sensitive, click on it.
- Google will give a brief explanation of why it thinks you will be interested.
- If you do not want to see ads on this topic, click Turn off.
New confidential ad categories for YouTube ads are located at the bottom of the page. Google explains that it “does its best to restrict ads that show them when you sign in to your Google Account on YouTube.”
Click on See less a button next to the topic to restrict advertising for them.
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