Facebook is facing a backlash on two continents from users, advertisers and lawmakers for having allowed Cambridge Analytica to allegedly amass information on 50 million of its users.
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.”
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, 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.
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.
Meanwhile, as a new poll shows only 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook with their personal data, Zuckerberg has declined to testify in front of British lawmakers about the data scandal but the CEO and co-founder has reportedly expressed willingness to do so in the United States.
U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign, has denied any wrongdoing.