Conservative, Liberal Or Moderate? Facebook Thinks It Knows Which Way You Swing Politically

mark zuckerberg
Are you a diehard Donald Trump fan? Perhaps you lean more towards Hillary Clinton, or perhaps even Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Given the vast amount of time that Americans spend browsing Facebook, linking stories and liking posts, the social network giant thinks that it has a pretty firm grip on your political affiliation.

Earlier this month, Facebook launched a new ad preference tool which allows you to tailor how and what ads are directed towards you in your news feed. However, buried within those settings is a tab called US Politics. Here is where you’ll see which category Facebook has pigeonholed you into: conservative, liberal or moderate.

To see what Facebook has you pegged as, navigate to facebook.com/ads/preferences, from there, click on the “Lifestyles and Culture” header under “Interests”. You should see your estimated political affiliation in the boxes below (if you don’t see it right away, you might have to select “See More”).

facebook politics

So how exactly does Facebook determine which way you swing, politically speaking? If you just so happen to like the official page of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, that’s a pretty easy determination for Facebook. However, for those that try to be more coy about tipping off their political preferences to their friends and families (for obvious reasons), stories that you post, posts that you like, and ads that you click on can still build your political profile.

Did you happen to like Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page? You just might be a liberal. Did you like the National Rifle Association (NRA) Facebook page? There’s a good chance that you might adhere to conservative values. But of course, classifying people based on supporting the NRA (or any other group for that matter) is not a foolproof method for classifying someone’s political ideology. However, coupled with other trackable activities on Facebook, a clearer picture is presented.

And of course, all this data is ripe for targeting users with advertising. “For instance, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign has paid for its ads to be shown to those who Facebook has labeled politically moderate,” writes The New York Times. “Campaigns can also use the groupings to show different messages to different supporters. They may want to show an ad to their hard-core supporters, for example, that is unlike an ad targeted at people just tuning in to the election.”

So, HotHardware readers (who also happen to be Facebook users), was Facebook correct in guessing your political tendencies?


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