Facebook is now identifying users based on their political preferences. The social media giant now tells you if you are too liberal or too conservative, as an effort to target ads in a more personal and specific level.

Understanding personal preferences and interests has certainly become a priority among the big tech companies to improve the users’ experience, and Facebook is doing it analyzing and categorizing its costumers’ political leaning according to the Facebook pages they like. Therefore, if you like Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page, Facebook might regard you as “liberal”.

Obama Facebook
U.S. President Barack Obama alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image credit: EPA.

“Likes, shares, comments, interests, what you’ve indicated in your profile, social networks that you’re a part of. (Facebook) takes a look at all of that and paints a bigger picture of who you’re likely to support and what angle you’re likely to take,” said Matt Davidson, a digital strategist of Strategies 360.

So much of what’s going on in social media today is political

It is well known that Facebook, just like other web pages, shows users ads related to what it thinks they might like. But now, Facebook is going one step forward labeling users based on their political preferences. It is not necessary to state whether you are conservative or liberal since Facebook determines your political wing based on algorithms.

You just need to like a page or a candidate on Facebook, and then the company will infer the information. They even pay attention to donation records, so if you donated to the liberal party in the past, it gives a clue of what your political leaning might be.

Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama. Image credit: http://www.telemundo.com/

CNET editor, Dan Ackerman said that Facebook was devoted to building a whole customized profile for each user. He explained that understanding users’ personal interests is a top priority for social media companies.

“So much of what’s going on in social media today — whether it’s Twitter or Facebook — is political,” Ackerman said. “[It’s] people sharing stories, sharing opinions, liking things, not liking things. It’s almost hard to avoid getting information about what your political leanings are.”

How to find out your political categorization in Facebook

This is the first time Facebook is giving users the option to see how they are categorized politically, as an attempt to tailor specific messages to targeted audiences in the media.  But everything is not yet clear, the page is interactive, meaning users can whether “like” or “dislike” Facebook’s categorizations. It’s unclear how Facebook incorporates those reactions.

To find out about your political leaning according to this social network, you can go to facebook.com/ads/preferences, making sure you’re already logged on. Once there, click on the “Lifestyle and culture” tab under the Interests section.

Democrats, Republicans
Just as with other ad preferences on Facebook, it can be removed by clicking the X in the top right corner. Image credit: The Simpsons.

In there, there is a section titled “U.S. politics”. It will include the characterization of you made by Facebook, in parenthesis. It might go from very liberal” to “liberal” to “moderate” to “conservative” to “very conservative”. If the “U.S. Politics” box is not visible you might have to click “See more”.

But this left/right wing categorization is not permanent, if you disagree with it or prefer to hide it, you can do it. Just as with other ad preferences on Facebook, it can be removed by clicking the X in the top right corner.

Source: CBS News