For someone who just quit drinking or who is actively trying to cut down, seeing a booze ad pop up on their timeline when scrolling can have a pretty negative effect. Seeing a bunch of healthy strangers smiling on the beach enjoying a “cold one” can have you start to romanticize your drinking and it’s super easy to forget all the bad that can go along with it. And it’s funny, do you even notice all the other ads you scroll by? Cause I certainly don’t. But if I scroll past a booze ad my brain instantly catches it. Thankfully, we have the power to stop that from happening! Well, as much as the Facebook/Instagram algorithms can stop from happening.
I blocked booze ads from showing up on my socials years ago and it actually worked- it’s very rare I ever see them and it’s pretty great to never see them anymore. Seeing visually appealing ads of alcohol can make even a 30 year sober person feel on edge and tempted so removing these ads ASAP will do your mental health a lot of good.
Hiding Ads on Facebook
Step 1: If you’re on your computer, click the small triangle in the top right corner of the home page, then click “Settings & privacy” then “Settings”. If you’re in the app on your phone, tap the hamburger (that’s the 3 horizontal lines) in the upper right corner of the screen, then tap “Settings & Privacy” then “Settings”.
Step 2: In the “Settings” menu scroll down until you see “Ads” and click it. If you’re on your phone, scroll down until you see the “Ads” heading then click “Ad Preferences”.
Step 3: The next screen you’ll see is “Your ad preferences” and you’ll have to go into each heading to make changes. We’ll start with “Your interests” in the next step.
Step 4: First click on “Your interests” and click through each of the headings (“News and entertainment”, “Business and industry”, etc.). If you see something that is alcohol related (or has the potential to show you boozey ads) hover over the X on the icon and click “Remove”. On your phone, tap “See all your interests” which will bring you to a new screen. On that screen tap the drop down menu “Your top interests” and you’ll see many categories. Click through each category to view the interests. When you see a interest that is booze related click he 3 dots then “Remove interest”. Click “see more” to ensure you review everything.
Step 5: Click on the next heading “Advertisers and businesses” then on “Whose website, app or shop you’ve interacted with”. Here, do the same as you did in the previous step of clicking the X on anything alcohol related on desktop or tapping the 3 dots if you’re on mobile. Don’t forget to click/tap “see more”.
Step 6: Click on “More” then “Whose ads you’ve clicked” and do the same as in the previous 2 steps of removing related advertisers. Don’t forget to click “see more”.
Step 7: To check your progress click on “More” then “Who you’ve hidden”. Here you’ll find all the ads you’ve manually selected to be removed from your feed.
Step 8: Click the next heading (in the list of headings shown in step 3) “Your information”. In the “About you” section is where you’ll find the option to toggle on or off whether Facebook shows you ads that are intended for people based on your profile attributes. For example, in my profile advertisers know to target ads to me that are geared towards married people because I have mine toggled to “on”. If you have an employer or education with keywords related to alcohol you might want to toggle that button to “off”. On your phone it’s the exact same method as described previously.
Step 8: Still in the “Your Information” section, click on “Your categories”. These categories help advertisers reach people who match your profile characteristics so they know to show you their products, services, or causes. Look through and see if there’s anything that is alcohol related and click the X to remove it.
Step 9: Click the next heading on the main Ad Preferences page “Hide ad topics”. Here you will find the heading of “Alcohol” where you can chose to hide alcohol related ads for 6 months, 1 year, or permanently. It will look the same on mobile.
NOTE: You might still see the occasional ad and when you do, navigate to the top right of the ad and click on the 3 dots then click “Hide ad” then give the reason of “sensitive topic” then click done. The same instructions are for both desktop and mobile.
Hiding Ads on Instagram
Instagram’s ad preference menu isn’t as involved as Facebook’s. On Instagram you can just either block each ad that comes in or view the ads you recently engaged with. To access those click the hamburger icon at the top right of the screen when you’re in your profile. Then click “Settings” at the bottom, the “Ads”. Once in that screen you’ll see “Ad Activity”.
Once you’re on the profile of an advertiser you want to stop seeing posts from click the top right 3 dots then tap “Block”.
Hiding Ads on Twitter
The three ways to customize what you see on Twitter for ads is either opting out of Twitter’s tailored advertisements (which just prevents Twitter from collecting external data to modify which ads you receive) or by blocking specific advertisers as they appear or by removing your saves/collected interests from your profile.
Step 1: When on the home screen click “More” and then “Settings and privacy” if you’re on a computer or tap “Settings and privacy” if you’re on your phone.
Step 2: Click or tap “Content preferences”. The screen will look slightly different on your phone that what’s shown below.
Step 3: Click or tap “Personalization and data”.
Step 4: Here you can uncheck all the boxes in the “Personalization” section before clicking/tapping on “See your Twitter data”.
Step 5: Click/tap “Interests and ads data”.
Step 6: Click/tap “Interests from Twitter”.
Step 7: In “Interests from Twitter” review all the
Step 8: Every time an alcohol related advertiser appears in your Twitter feed you can then tap the top right down arrow then tap “Block”. Even better, tap “I don’t like this ad” which will start to build Twitter’s algorithms to stop showing boozey ads to you.