As you search the Internet for products or services, companies like Google and Facebook build a profile of your habits. They use this information to present you with ads that the company thinks will interest you.

While it may be true for the most part, there may be some topics you prefer not to advertise. For example, a vegan or vegetarian would not want to see meat ads.

Fortunately, you have some control over what ads you see. Read on to see how Google makes it easy to drop sensitive topics.

Here is the background

Targeted advertising is a lucrative industry, but the companies that serve them must also ensure that it reaches the right audience. Although Google and Facebook already know a lot about you, they don’t know your daily struggles or worries.

For example, you may be in the demographic of alcohol or gambling advertising. So you’ll see these ads unless you tell Google not to show them to you. This was one of the company’s changes 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 could include sensitive topics such as sexual orientation, religious practices and political beliefs. Facebook will also restrict alcohol advertising, 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. Sensitive categories for Gmail and YouTube advertising now include:

  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight loss
  • Dating

Just keep in mind that while you can restrict topics in Gmail and YouTube, it won’t make them disappear from Google Ads in a web browser or Google Shopping.

What can you do about it

Google will stop showing you sensitive topics only after you enable this feature. But as you rummage through the settings, you may be shocked to see how much the tech giant knows about you or what they think you’ll be interested in.

Here’s how to turn off advertising for any topic on Google-based platforms like Gmail, YouTube, and Instagram:

  • Go to myaccount.google.com and sign in to your Google Account.
  • In the left menu, click Data and privacy.
  • Scroll down the page and click Ad settings.
  • The page should show all the data that Google uses to serve you with personalized ads.
  • Take a look at the topics and when you notice something that may be sensitive, click on it.
  • Google will give a brief explanation of why it thinks you may be interested.
  • If you don’t want to see ads related to this topic, click Turn it off.

The new delicate advertising categories for YouTube advertising are at the bottom of the page. Google explains that it will “do its best to restrict the ads that present them when you sign in to your Google Account on YouTube.”

Click on See less button next to the topic to restrict advertising for them.

Keep reading

Google warns of urgent security fix: Update Chrome now

Privacy Fix: How to remove your address and phone number from Google search results

Don’t want to get any more ads for weight loss or dating? Here’s how to opt out

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