As surprising as it may sound, but close to two-thirds of Facebook users in North America are still not aware that the social media network is classifying their interests and builds lists of their traits that are then used to deliver targeted ads by Facebook advertisers.
A study by Pew Research Center reveals that 74% of Facebook users say they do not know such a list of their traits and interests exists while 51% state that they are not comfortable with Facebook collecting this information about them.
As you can see, a majority of users, 59%, say that Facebook's “ad preferences” page, which is automatically generated based on collected data about user interests, reflects their real-life interests, which is encouraging.
Nonetheless, a good number of users also express privacy concerns and say their political affiliation is described inaccurately. Some 14% of those to whom Facebook assigned a specific political affinity say it does not represent them accurately.
About one-third of all American Facebook users have their ad preferences page listing 21 or more categories and only 11% of users are not assigned to a category.
Facebook Assigns 10 to 21+ Categories to Most Users
Another interesting finding is that 78% of all Facebook users who believe the listings for them are not accurate also say they are uncomfortable with these lists being created in the first place. Less than half of respondents, or 48%, who say their listing is accurate also say they have no fears the listings are created and used improperly.
Facebook's data collecting practices are no different to those of competitors and the main difference is that they are by far the largest social media network. That said, Facebook users are expected to be a little more proactive when familiarizing with the platform's data collection and user tracking policies and practices.
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