If the past few weeks haven’t opened your eyes to the Facebook monster, let me share a picture with you that will be worth way more words than I could possibly write.
Go ahead. Click on that picture and take a good look. That’s an actual screenshot of my Facebook account settings. And no, I did not set that particular label anywhere in my profile. Nor do I participate in the various Facebook personality quizzes (“What type of shoe are you?”), and as you might have guessed, my posts are usually for the business, especially in the last few years. I was most active when I first opened my account, and slowly tapered off when Facebook and I “grew apart,” to the point where my usage is purely mercenary and academic. Also, as any of you who socialize with me probably already know, that label isn’t inaccurate, but it is a gross over-generalization of my political viewpoints. Plural.
What the F…acebook?!
You can find this bit of data by going to your Facebook Settings, clicking the “Ads” icon on the left menu bar. Expand the “Your information” section, and then click the “Your categories” tab. If you are disturbed about the categories with which you’ve been labeled, you can click the faint “x” on the right side of each label to delete them. You can also tell Facebook that you don’t want advertising targeted based upon your profile information by turning off each category, but if you read carefully, they tell you (in small print), “We may still add you to categories related to these fields.” You can bet that whatever you remove in the categories section will probably be put back in the near future. And who knows what stuff they aren’t showing us.
Labels aside, even knowing what I know about Facebook and its recent flaying in the news, this particular thing struck me as a perfect, stark example of how Facebook (and the internet) has categorized everyone. Apparently the variations of this particular category are Very Liberal, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, and Very Conservative. Does it make you wonder what advertisers are doing with that particular bit of data? Does it make you wonder how many of those “advertisers” were actually propaganda outfits using this data to drive a wedge between you and your friends and family, purely for political and financial gain? Perhaps you are smart enough to spot the fake news, but what about your Facebook “friends”? Or their friends?