Facebook is facing a major backlash on two continents for selling 50 million of its user’s personal information for profit.
The company’s core business that powers around $4 billion in monthly revenue is monetizing everything you do on Facebook to serve its advertisers. However, users may not know that the powerful social network already has an opinion about your political leanings — and it’s fairly easy to find out what Mark Zuckerberg’s company thinks of your political preferences.
Hidden in plain sight under Ad Preferences is a section called Your Information. If you click on that tab, you’ll see an option for Your Categories, which contains a section called US Politics — in parentheses, Facebook will have you labeled as Very Liberal, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative or Very Conservative.
The social network says it fills up these categories “based on information you’ve provided on Facebook and other activity from affiliated websites.” So, just what is an affiliated website? It’s a website that allows you to sign in through a Facebook icon, or send messages by clicking the Facebook icon. Yup, they’re everywhere.
Under Your Categories, users will also find their birthday, whether or not they are listed as friends of expats, and whether or not they have a “multicultural affinity” on Facebook.
It seems like those five labels are the only options for Facebook political affiliation at this time, which is a bit limiting on a platform that lets its 2 billion monthly users choose among 58 different gender identities.
Regardless of whether you’ve clicked ‘like’ for a particular candidate or political party, Facebook also tries to determine the self-professed political identities of other users who have liked the same pages as you — and then lumps you in with them. This profiling method has nothing to do with you directly, just how Facebook thinks you and your friends “should” think because you ‘like’ the same pages.
Don’t want the algorithm to factor in your presumed political affiliation for advertising purposes? Just hover over the box, click the X and see how the tweak impacts your experience on the site.
A new Reuters poll shows only 31 percent of Americans trust Facebook with their personal data.
Mr. Zuckerberg appeared before the US Congress to answer questions earlier this year. While he pledged to stop collecting so much personal information and then reselling it, little has happened so far. Even if you have seen the marketing response that claims that “Facebook Cares about you”, the end results indicate nothing has changed.
Zuckerberg has declined to testify in front of British lawmakers about the data scandal.
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