How to deal with annoying Facebook sponsored posts and ads

I work with companies that advertise on Facebook. Sometimes I make those ads myself- but that doesn’t mean that seeing some ads in my timeline over and over isn’t annoying to me. Since about every fourth post on Facebook is a sponsored ad, that’s a lot of opportunities to be annoyed.

Even though companies want to be as specific as possible when targeting the appropriate audiences who are the most likely to be interested in their products, those ads can accidentally be hilariously off-target, selling you something you’re obviously not the right buyer for. For instance, advertising a hunting and fishing guide to a life-long vegan.

Sometimes the ads can intrusive, obviously misleading, or for something you find offensive. Many times, the viewer takes it upon themselves to post a comment under the ad that describes their displeasure. Facebook being what it is, those comments can get pretty nasty.

Before you become overwhelmed and decide to post a comment on an ad that will haunt the nightmares of the person in charge of monitoring those comments, know that there’s a better way to stop those ads that drive you crazy. No, you’ll never entirely get rid of all the sponsored posts on Facebook, since Facebook is a company and selling ad space is how they make their billions. But there’s a way to slow down seeing the ones that frustrate or offend:

  1. You’ll know it’s an ad because under the title or name, it’ll say “sponsored.”
  2. Click on the three dots to the right of the title.
  3. Click “hide ads.”
  4. Click the reason for hiding the ad, like it’s offensive or repetitive. Done!
Drop down menu of clicking on a sponsored Facebook post in order to hide or report the ad.
Drop down menu of clicking on a sponsored Facebook post in order to hide or report the ad.

This does not mean that you won’t see more ads from that company in the future. It just stops you from seeing ads from that specific campaign.

To hide all of the ads from a specific company:

  1. Click on the three dots to the right of the title.
  2. Select “why am I seeing this ad?”
  3. Click “hide all ads from [this advertiser].”

Is this a situation where you think Facebook should be alerted about the ad so they can review it and possibly remove the ad entirely? Instead of hitting “hide ad” select “report ad” and there will be a possibility that Facebook will remove the ad while their ads teams review it and alert the advertiser that something is amiss.

What if it’s not a sponsored ad, but an article or meme posted from someone you know — and you’re certain that it’s some kind of hoax of fake news? You can report fake news to the Facebook fact-checkers by clicking those three dots at the top of a post in your feed and select “report post.” It’ll give you options of why you are reporting it; is it hate speech, false news, spam, harassment?

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When you report a post on Facebook, Facebook will give you options of why it should be reported.

Be specific and honest when choosing. Don’t report something just because you disagree with it. Facebook will flag it as going against community standards and restrict the access to it.

Today someone sent me a video that was a nasty conspiracy theory, and by the time I tried to watch the video full screen, FB already deemed it false information by independent fact-checkers.

If there is someone in your friends list who keep posting articles and memes you disagree with and want to stop seeing posts from them, click either “block this person” or “unfollow this person but still stay friends.” (The “unfollow” option is a magical tool for keeping the peace with friends and family that you don’t like what they have to say but don’t want them to be mad if you unfriend them completely.)

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Do you want to take a break from seeing posts from your buddy Gary while he posts incessantly about his bowels during his all-coconut oil diet? You can snooze him for 30 days. Want to stay friends but stop seeing any of Gary’s posts, ever? Unfollow Gary.

Next time you’re tired of seeing the same ad or article over and over, instead of posting something angry in the comments under it, just do this instead! It’s more effective, since Facebook benefits from advertisers trusting that Facebook is delivering ads to the correct audience.

***This PSA brought to you by the person who has to read those mean comments and offensive memes that people post on the ads I’m in charge of monitoring***

Experience & Interaction Strategist, Creator of Brand Personalities, AcroYoga Teacher, Doodler of Comics

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