It’s not a secret that your internet travels often end up on Facebook. It’s worse when you’re a writer because we can research some pretty odd things. I looked one the name of one of the goose-necked cigarette things for a story–and ended up not using it–and Facebook gave me ads for them. I don’t smoke.
Writer Anne R. Allen reported mentioning a drug in one of her Facebook posts. She doesn’t take it. But suddenly she was receiving MAIL from drug companies to get her to buy the drug!
So I thought I’d post something to help cut back on the weird advertising.
This step you’ll have to repeat about once a month. The first time will be the worst because you’ll be cleaning out years worth of accumulated data.
- Click the upside down triangle in the upper left corner for the menu.
- Click SETTINGS.
- Click ADS.
- Click on YOUR INTERESTS.
- Go through each category and delete everything.
I was pretty shocked the first time I did this. There was a lot of entries, dating all the way back to when I first got on Facebook. Some of the entries were just plain strange. Sports teams periodically show up, though I have no idea why.
You’ll only have to do this once. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t turn back on.
- Scroll to the YOUR INFORMATION section.
- In the ABOUT YOU section, turn everything off.
- Then clean out the categories section.
When I first did this, it even had my “political affiliation” (which, in my word swapping, I accidentally typed affliction). It also got that wrong. I turned it off, and its since disappeared from the list altogether.
Finally, this one will help clean things up overall. I remember when I first signed up for Facebook, it had me select books, movies, TV, music–all data mining on consumers.
- In the top banner, click your NAME.
- Click MORE and pick something like BOOKS.
- Start deleting.
While you’re at it, take a few minutes to review your friends and the pages and groups to see if there’s any you can take off.
I did a mass update myself during the 2016 election and then a second time in the last year. I unfollowed a lot of people with the following criteria:
- Anyone over the top on the politics. It wasn’t everyone, by the way. I’m okay with differing opinions as long as it’s civil.
- Any writer who appeared to follow me for the purpose of selling books to me. Not entirely sure why writers think other writers are their market…
- Anyone I didn’t recognize or had stopped posting.
It used to be that it was a badge to have a certain number of followers. But I’ve seen recent traffic that social media is a great way to keep in contact with fans of the books, but it isn’t a great way to find new readers.
The landscape’s changed a lot. Now it’s important to protect yourself from the data mining.
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Next week, we’ll have some more cover refreshes.