Facebook has an opinion about your political opinions. And you can actually find out what it thinks.
The Verge and the New York Times have written about the little discovery, which let’s you see how Facebook categorizes your U.S. political views. It’s based on pages you like or associations – so if you like a bunch of Republican lawmakers’ pages, it will probably consider you conservative.
But it can also be a step removed, as the Times points out. If you like a brand that a lot of liberals like, Facebook might think you’re liberal.
Facebook uses this designation to tailor ads to you.
How to check what Facebook thinks
Here are the steps:
- Go to Facebook.com/ads/preferences.
- You’ll see a category titled “Lifestyle and Culture.” Click it.
- Underneath you’ll then see a list of topics – just look for the “US Politics” subject. In parentheses, it’ll tell you how it’s labeled your politics on a liberal-conservative scale. (Note: If you don’t see the US Politics subject, there’s a “see more” option that’ll expand things.)
Can I change it?
There’s no option to just pick a different political leaning. You can however remove it – just click the ‘X’ option, and it’ll confirm you want to stop seeing ads based on that preference.
And while you’re there …
While you’re in that settings page, take a few minutes to look at all of the ad preferences Facebook has for you. There are dozens of interests Facebook has logged from you over the years – some of them chosen by you, other inferred based on what you’ve liked and clicked before.
Some are pretty logical (why yes Facebook, I do like the NBA!) and others are a bit more vague (I’m apparently into “terrestrial television” as well).
You can nix any of these you dislike – or add interests you want to be considered when Facebook serves up ads to you.
Also note the ads aren’t all based on Facebook activity. As Facebook explains, even things like websites you visit or apps you use can be considered.
Facebook says it had an average of 1.13 billion active daily users in June. And whether it’s political leanings or other interests, the service is making these determinations for everyone.