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Facebook is going to explain more about how machine learning decides the ads you see

Facebook is going to explain more about how machine learning decides the ads you see


The ‘Why am I seeing this ad’ tool is getting some updates.

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A screenshot showing Facebook’s “Why am I seeing this ad?” message.
Image: Meta

Meta is updating Facebook’s ad transparency tools to better explain how it uses machine learning to decide which ads you see you.

Starting Tuesday, when you tap the “Why am I seeing this ad?” message on an ad, you’ll see the following information, according to a blog post from Meta’s Pedro Pavón:

Information summarized into topics about how your activity both on and off our technologies — such as liking a post on a friend’s Facebook page or interacting with your favorite sports website — may inform the machine learning models we use to shape and deliver the ads you see. 

New examples and illustrations explaining how our machine learning models connect various topics to show you relevant ads.  

More ways to find our ads controls. You will now be able to access Ads Preferences from additional pages in the “Why am I seeing this ad?” tool. 

External privacy experts and policy stakeholders suggested that the company increase its transparency about how machine learning helps pick which ads to show, Pavón says. “We are committed to using machine learning models responsibly,” Pavón wrote. “Being transparent about how we use machine learning is essential because it ensures that people are aware that this technology is a part of our ads system and that they know the types of information it is using.”

I haven’t found an ad on my own Facebook feed to be able to see the new information in context, but Pavón’s blog includes a few screenshots that can give you an idea of what to expect.

Screenshots of what Meta might show with its ad transparency information.
Here’s an example of what Meta might show.
Image: Meta

The updated messaging is rolling out first to Facebook, and the company plans to bring it to Instagram “in the future.” TikTok has also started to be more transparent about why you see the content you see, adding a similar “Why this video” feature with details about what appears in your For You feeds in December.