You Can Run, But You Can't Hide From Facebook Ads

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You don't have to be one of its 1.65 billion active users to be targeted by Facebook.

The tech titan this week announced the expansion of its Audience Network, allowing publishers and developers to reach more people through advertising.

Previously, only members of the social network who log into third-party websites and mobile apps with Facebook credentials would encounter interest-based ads. Now, the promotions will be visible to everyone—even those who don't use or aren't connected to Facebook.

Introduced at the 2014 F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Audience Network offers "a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps," the company said at the time.

But while online advertisements come as no surprise to Web browsers, many complain that they are "annoying, distracting, or misleading," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook's ads and business platform, said in an announcement.

"We think companies can do better," he added. That includes opening "like" buttons and tracking cookies to the entire Internet, so Facebook can effectively shadow folks as they move around the Web, The Wall Street Journal said. For example, a non-Facebook users who visits a recipe site may later be targeted by cooking-related ads.

A broader Audience Network reach could put Facebook in direct competition with digital advertising king Google. It would also help boost the company's global ad revenue, which topped $17 billion in 2015, according to Statista. Non-members will have the option to opt out of interest-based ads, the Journal reported. Users, meanwhile, can tweak their preferences so as to not see promos off the social platform that are based on Facebook interests.

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