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How Facebook determines a users poltical leanings

March 30, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
How Facebook determines a users poltical leanings

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Facebook is in the midst of a major backlash on two continents from users, advertisers, and legislators for permitting Cambridge Analytica to collect information on 50 million users.

The company’s core business that brings in roughly $4 billion in monthly revenue is monetizing everything you do on Facebook to help its advertisers.

However, users may not be aware that the powerhouse social network already has an opinion about your political affililations— and it’s relatively easy to find out what Mark Zuckerberg’s business thinks of your political leanings.

Concealed in plain sight under Ad Preferences is a section titled Your Information. If you visit that tab, there is an option for Your Categories, which contains a segment called US Politics — in parentheses, Facebook has its users categorized as Very Liberal, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative or Very Conservative.

The site says it builds up these categories “based on information you’ve provided on Facebook and other activity.”

Under Your Categories, users will also have their birthday listed, along with whether or not they are friends with expats, and whether or not they have a “multicultural affinity” on the website, according to the Daily Mail.

It appears that those five labels are the only options for political affiliation on Facebook, which is a tad limiting on a platform that allows its 2 billion monthly users decide among 58 gender identities.

Regardless of whether a person has “liked” a particular candidate or party, Facebook also attempts to figure out the self-professed political identities of other users who have liked the same pages as you — and then categorizes you with them.

If a user does not want the algorithm to include one’s presumed political affiliation for advertisements, he or she must hover over the box, click X, and then wait and see how that impacts the feed on the site.

Meanwhile, as a new poll shows only 41% of Americans are trusting of Facebook with their data, Zuckerberg has refused to testify in front of British legislators about the data scandal, but the CEO has reportedly shown willingness to do so in the U.S.

U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica, which has links to Donald Trump’s election campaign, has refused to admit any wrongdoing.

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