Skip to Content
Social media

Facebook thinks it knows how you lean politically

If you spent any time on Facebook around the 2016 elections or have spoken with anyone at all over the last few years, chances are you have a good idea of where people you know stand politically.

Really, you could barely talk with someone, either online, in person, on the phone or however, without opinions on different candidates and races being shared. You may have wanted to avoid the topic, afraid it would cause division and end friendships.

But while you may have learned more about your friends and family by what they posted online, it turns out, you were not the only one to do so. Facebook has also tried to peg people, politically, and it believes it has you figured out.

It’s all about advertising, right?

Maybe Facebook is right about you or maybe it isn’t. Regardless, this is just another instance of them taking the information you have provided and creating a picture of who they think you are.

It makes sense. Facebook has tried to learn as much as it can about all of us, in part, so that it can better sell advertisers on making use of its platform. A better understanding of its users means better targeting for ads, which in turn should lead to a better response to those ads.

Facebook figures out your political leanings, as well as other areas of interest, by analyzing information you have provided on the site or via activities through it. Did you “like” a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump? Did you share a story about former Secretary Hillary Clinton?

Along with political ideology, Facebook will display things related to birthdays, where friends are from, what devices you use to access the site or app and what else you enjoy.

We’re going to guess you have a pretty good idea of your own politics, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to check and see what Facebook thinks. To do that, follow these instructions:

First, click on the upside-down triangle at the top of the screen to open the drop-down menu and click on “settings.”

Then, on the next screen, find the “Ads” line on the left-hand side. Click on it.

That will open up another screen with plenty of options. Find “Your information” and click on that.

A new screen will open, one that displays different buttons to press as well as a grayed out tab that says “Your categories.” Click on the tab.

At that point, the next screen will display a load of information Facebook thinks it knows about you, including politics. Does it have you pegged correctly? Do you think it’s wrong?

Remember, unlike some things Facebook has done, this information is collected and learned in order to target you with advertising that is more relevant and useful to you. If you think the site is wrong or would rather not see ads relating to the listed topics, just hover over them with your mouse and click on the X that appears on the right-hand side of the box.

What does it all mean?

An optimist will likely see nothing wrong here. In fact, one could argue that Facebook getting a better grasp of who you are and what you like is a good thing because at least the ads you do see, annoying as they may be, could actually matter to you.

However, if you are a bit more pessimistic about Facebook and their intentions (and really, who could blame you?), then you will likely see this as yet another way the social media site has tracked you. During a time in which there is story after story about how Facebook has betrayed our trust, no doubt this revelation will do them no favors.

Facebook is also collecting data from your calls and texts

Facebook is keeping track of phone calls and text messages. If that sounds bad that’s because it is, though according to Facebook it’s not exactly what it seems. Click here to see what we are talking about.

Stop robocalls for good with Kim’s new eBook

Robocalls interrupt us constantly and scam Americans out of millions of dollars every year. Learn Kim's best tricks for stopping annoying robocalls in this handy guide.

Get the eBook