Facebook earns revenue from advertisements, but those ads and banners that keep popping up on your sidebar are annoying. Of course, Facebook doesn't want those ads removed, and there is no official guide or application to remove them. To get rid of ads generated by Facebook, you can download ad-blocking programs to clean up your browser page. If you have Firefox, Safari or Chrome, you can download the Adblock Plus extension. Once installed, this popular add-on blocks the upload of ads that originate from certain advertisement sites.
When you click "like" on a product or page, Facebook can then use that information and your name and profile picture, to display targeted social ads on your friends' pages. Using personal information from your profile to target an audience raises privacy issues. Third-party advertisers can also use Facebook to promote their products by posting auto-generated advertisements. You may have noticed this when you do a search on Google for a product and see an ad for it appear in your Facebook feed.
You can't opt out of seeing Facebook ads completely, but you can opt out of ads based on your browsing habits. To opt out, log on to your Facebook account, and click on "Settings" at the upper right-hand corner of your homepage. It's just above the command to log out. Then, scroll down to the section in "Settings" marked "Ads." You'll see a number of ad preferences. Go to "Ad Settings." Change the settings for "Ads based on data from partners" and "Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products you see elsewhere" to "Not Allowed." The section marked "Ads that include your social actions" (i.e. pages you have liked) can be changed from being seen by "Only Friends" to "No One" also.
In the section marked "Your Information" (above "Ad Settings") you'll see Facebook also serves up ads based your marital status, education, employer and job title. You can also disable those requests and/or remove that information from your profile. The profile is in the "About" tab of the Facebook page with your name.
Originally Published: May 20, 2011