Okay, let’s be honest. You go to your friend’s Facebook page to see what they’ve been up to, and maybe check out their latest vacation photos.

But instead, you get hit with ads for things you didn’t even know you wanted (or don’t want). It’s a bit weird, right? So, why does Facebook do this?

Well, it boils down to one thing: data. Facebook is constantly tracking what you do online – the websites you visit, the things you like, your interests…you get the picture. They use all this info to paint a detailed portrait of you.

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Advertisers then tap into that data and say things like, “Hey Facebook, show my new sneaker ad to people between 25-35 who love basketball and listen to hip-hop.” If you fit that description, guess what? That sneaker ad might pop up right there on your friend’s profile.

Sadly, you can’t completely banish ads from Facebook, since that’s how they make their money. But, you’re not entirely helpless. You can go into your Facebook ad settings and clean up some of the random interests they’ve linked to you. You can also try using an ad blocker in your browser, or at least report the ads that feel totally irrelevant.

Long story short, Facebook is a business, and targeted ads are what keeps it free for us. It might feel a bit intrusive, but at least now you understand a little better why those ads are sneaking into your friend time.

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