How to stop Google using your face and name in adverts

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Google is changing its Terms & Conditions, in order to allow advertisers to use your name and face as an endorsement in adverts.

Google face adverts

Unlike a TV or print advert, however, you’re not going to be paid any money by the advertiser who is taking advantage of your name and photo.

Here’s how Google describes it:

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We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.

Google, and its advertisers, know very well that an endorsement from someone you know is more likely to convince you to buy a product or service than a positive review from a stranger.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that you don’t like Google letting companies use your face and name in adverts. If that’s the case then there’s fortunately an easy way to disable the functionality:

Google option that you probably want to disable

  • Disable *that* option, and hit “Save”
  • You’re done. Your name and face should no longer appear in adverts.

It’s perhaps unsusprising, but a real shame, that Google didn’t encourage users to *opt-in* to this feature rather than requiring them to *opt-out*.

If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest security news, follow Graham Cluley on Google+.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

9 comments on “How to stop Google using your face and name in adverts”

  1. Adam

    It does appear to be opt-in for Google apps accounts, at least it was with mine, unless the administrator has opted in for you (in which case you can still opt-out individually).

  2. This was not enabled by default for my Google

    1. Xane Myers · in reply to Joël Dinel

      That's better than what Facebook did, opting everyone in regardless of anything, though it's be better if you had to choose, but as Graham said in another post, how many people would actually turn that on by their own will then?

  3. Spryte

    I guess that's a good enough reason "Not" to sign up for a google plus account…

  4. – when I checked it was preticked so it was good I just didn't click yes accept new terms
    Grae is that it ? or is there something else hidden away in the new terms and conditions
    I notice this "Auto-awesome
    Create awesome new images from photos in your library" what will it put you in a photo with a dead relative or something ?

    1. Philbert De Zwart · in reply to Stew Green

      Stew, Auto awesome is actually pretty cool.
      If you take multiple photo's in short succession of the same area, Google combines them into an animated GIF. That's all there is too it, but when you see it it looks neat.

  5. John

    Presumably this only applies if you are signed up for a Google + account? Something I have always avoided doing although I do use Gmail and other Google applications.

  6. Mohamed Ali

    I was opted in by default and so was my better half. Opted
    out for both of us. Thanks for the heads up Mate! :)

  7. Philbert De Zwart

    This isn't all bad. If someone I know has eaten at a restaurant, and he publicly (or privately with me in the Circle) gave a rating or +1-ed it, I would find that an interesting tidbit. Maybe I know that that person has awful taste, or likes heavy metal music a lot. Or if I do generally like the same thing, I could call him up and ask details.

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