Billions of people have accounts on Facebook and many people wonder how much this platform knows about them. Latest reports suggest that people should relax as Facebook does actually know that much about its users as initially thought.
In recent study conducted by a reputable US newspaper pointed out a new interesting feature on Facebook that enables its users to check out what does Facebook think their interests are, and what kind of ads might be shown to them to target their preferences. These targeted advertisements are usually shown as ‘suggested posts’ one the right or left side of your account`s news feed, or when you scroll down on your friends` profiles and their status updates. Sites like Google and Facebook use all kinds of technology to learn the browsing habits of their users. They do this with a purpose to present the users better advertisements and relevant services and products from companies that try to sell their products. Facebook has a page for adding preferences where their group different interests of the user under several top categories such as ‘people’, ‘news and entertainment’, ‘lifestyle and culture’, ’business and industry’ and others. There you can see that your public profile information, your activity on this Social Media platform and the way you are interacting with different companies all influence the types of advertisements you are seeing on your news feed. If you check out the lists there you will also see what your previous browsing habits were.
If Facebook thinks that your favorite music band is the Rolling Stones because you have previously liked their official page, then they might present you with other similar pages of other bands or will show you ads about different musical instruments. Another example is if you list Cooking Guide as your favorite book then Facebook will present you all kinds of ads regarding foods and cooking utensils. Recent studies have also shown that Facebook can even guess the political leanings of their users not just on the basis of the users` likes of politicians and political parties, but also based on users' interactions with products and web pages that might have some kind of political leaning.
However, many users have found that not every ad is relevant. Some hobbies or activities cannot possibly pinpoint what type of ads should be shown. For example, if you put that you like physics under your hobbies, then it might be hard for Facebook to generate relevant ads. Sometimes users can get puzzled by Facebook`s labeling. For example, if you are a fan of fitness then Facebook may think that your interests involve ‘back’ or ‘sleep’, which may not be that accurate.
A lot has been said about the targeted ads and the uncomfortable feeling when you realize that your online activity is monitored and tracked. However, for big companies such as Facebook and other companies that purchase ads, this is a big and profitable business. For some users it is a breach of trust, security and confidentiality. That is why users should be careful what they like and what pages they visit on the Internet.