FACEBOOK users are being warned that the presents they purchase for loved ones ahead of Christmas may be revealed to them by accident.

Users who search for the perfect gift online could be targetted by “tracker ads” which will spoil the surprise when a family member or pal uses the same computer.

Rhys Gregory, digital director at Effective Communication, has explained how to avoid this happening at Christmas.

He told Wales Online: “Over the years online marketing has become very clever, which in most part can be beneficial to both the user and the organisation behind the website.

“As a user, you don’t want to see irrelevant ads for products or services that you’ll never buy.

“Likewise, a website that may be getting paid in return for you clicking on ads will only want to show you ads that you are more likely to click on.

“Whilst your actual identity will be kept anonymised in most situations, your device and your behaviour (the websites that you visit) won’t be.

“Cross-website tracking cookies allows the websites that you’re visiting to access this information.

“Which is why you may see an advert for a camera on Facebook, after you viewed photography equipment on Amazon.

“Usually you may be happy to see this, especially as it’s relevant to what you were looking at. But not if that camera was a gift for someone.”

How to prevent it occuring:

  • When visiting a website for the first time, block all cookies or – if the website allows it – turn off marketing-related cookies.
  • If you are returning to a website that you have already visited, go to the settings section of your internet browser. Select the Privacy option and opt to block all cookies, and also prevent cross-site tracking
  • the good old stalker ads


  • I don’t let anybody else use my computer. Seems it was a wise decision.


  • I use an ad-blocker so I don’t get these crazy pop up adds all the time. It’s annoying to get them.


  • I never even thought of this, it is a shame that the pop-up adverts follow you.


  • What a crazy world we live in when our computer keeps track of us.


  • Simple fix – turn off or block cookies.


  • I often see this and it’s a bit scary! Big brother is watching.

    • Big brother is in more places than we like to believe..


  • It’s amazing what other pages things you luck at suddenly pop up on. Good thing we discuss what we will be looking at together before we look at something.


  • Thankfully I am the only one who uses Facebook, but it does bother me greatly that anything I google is displayed on my Facebook page in under a minute saying “are you still interested in this item?” Going to have to turn those things off! Thanks for the tips!


  • This is something I had not thought of. I do find it annoying when ads for things I’ve been looking at suddenly pop up on other random pages.


  • How annoying !
    Thanks for the tips.


  • NOt a Facebook user here thank God


  • I pay so little attention to ads Im not sure Id notice.


  • I would of never thought to take notice of the ads. Very clever

    • I ignore the ads when I see them – I think….nice try!


  • This is why I use my phone for online shopping now or go incognito on Google browser.


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