Tech

This is what Facebook thinks your political views are

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David Cornish
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It knows what your dog's name is. It knows what you studied at university. It has a pretty good idea which football team you support. But did you know that Facebook also has an idea what your political standing is?

The social network recently altered the way in which its adverts function on its news feeds, restructuring ad preferences in order to give users a greater amount of control over what services and goods compete for their eyeballs when browsing the site.

This new system also gives users a glimpse of a whole heap of personal interests Facebook holds on you - from your lifestyle preferences to your favourite bands, to your political leanings. 

  • This is what Facebook thinks your political views are

    How to see what Facebook thinks of you

    First off, this is much easier from the desktop version of Facebook rather than the mobile app. 

    Open a browser, log in to Facebook and head to: www.facebook.com/ads/preferences

    This page will show you all of the various categories of interest Facebook has collected on you, which it believes will be of interest to advertisers. 

    If you don't use Facebook an awful lot, or don't interact with a lot of pages on Facebook, a lot of this information could be deeply inaccurate. You can edit it, removing things you're not interested in, or adding things that you might want to hear more about in future.

  • This is what Facebook thinks your political views are 1

    How to find what Facebook thinks your political views are

    If Facebook thinks it knows your political leanings, you'll find it under the tab "Lifestyle and culture".

    I haven't liked any form of political campaign, so Facebook is pulling in a bunch of information on my religious views instead. Many other users are finding that Facebook will label them as 'Conservative', 'Liberal' or somewhere in between.

  • This is what Facebook thinks your political views are 2

    How does Facebook use this information?

    Facebook attracts advertisers to its network due in a large part to how much information it can offer them when targeting potential customers. Got a product that you want to aim at conservative-thinking men who like cricket and beer? Facebook will know which of its users fit the bill. Want to target people with an interest in human skin colour (shown here)? Sure thing. 

    Facebook attempts to be very up front about how much information it holds on you. It's not trying to hide anything, or 'spy' on your activities; it's a free network, that makes the bulk of its money on selling details about user habits to advertisers. 

    Have a click around your advertising preferences and see just how on accurate Facebook's picture of you is. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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