Facebook Knows Your Very Soul
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

You probably know that Facebook has learned quite a bit about you. However, you may be surprised how much the social media platform knows about all of its users.

For instance, Facebook knows how you are likely to vote this presidential election. From The New York Times, here is something interesting you can do, to see how Facebook categorizes your politics and interests:

1. Log in and go to your page.

2. Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences from a Web browser. This is where Facebook collects information about you and learns your advertising preferences.

3. Under “Interests,” click “Lifestyle and Culture.”

4. Look for “U.S. Politics.” Here is where you will see how Facebook categorizes you politically (i.e. “liberal” or “conservative”).

According to the NYT article, Facebook learns about you through the pages you “like” and also by your posts.

Although the data-mining of our preferences may seem somewhat unsettling and perhaps to some, invasive, Facebook recently announced new tools for giving its users more control over the ads they see:

“What we’ve heard is that people don’t like to see ads that are irrelevant to them or that disrupt or break their experience. People also want to have control over the kinds of ads they see.”

If there are certain ads you don’t want to see, from the Ad Preferences page referenced above, you can click “X” to remove that category of ads. For example, if you weren’t interested in ads about automobiles, you could look for the “Automobiles” category under “Interests” and remove that topic:

Image: File

(Image: File)

You can also use the same tool to stop seeing ads from certain companies or organizations.

According to the social media titan, Ad Preferences gives users more control over ads than using third-party, ad-blocking software:

“Rather than paying ad blocking companies to unblock the ads we show–as some of these companies have invited us to do in the past–we’re putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls.”

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Samara Lynn

Samara Lynn is a technology journalist, covering the industry for a decade. Her work appears in The Wirecutter, Tom's Hardware, PC Mag, and other online outlets. She's the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and previously worked in the IT industry. She's currently the digital manager at Black Enterprise.

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