Majority of Facebook Users Don't Understand Targeted Ads

Facebook brings stricter ad rules for political advertisiting ahead of elections

Majority of Facebook Users Don't Understand Targeted Ads

A survey of US adult Facebook users found that 74 per cent were unaware of an "ad preferences" page listing "interests" the site has collected to advertise to them, Pew reported in its analysis published Wednesday.

The survey found that almost three-quarters of respondents were unaware the social media network harvested a list of their interests and traits for the goal of targeted advertising, according to Tech Crunch.

Last month, researchers working for a US Senate committee concluded that the Russian government's Internet Research Agency used social media ads and regular posts on inauthentic accounts to promote then presidential candidate Donald Trump to millions of Americans.

More than half of users said they were not comfortable with Facebook making such a list about their preferences, the Pew survey concluded.

You can read the full results from the Facebook user survey over at Pew Research Center.

"We're learning from every country", Leathern said. In the Pew survey, 73% of those assigned such an affinity conceded that it was either very accurate or somewhat correct.

When directed to the page, 59 percent of Pew survey participants said the generated categories do reflect their real-life interests; another 27 percent claim they are not very, or not at all, accurate.

Surprising? You might think people would be clued in after the never-ending Facebook data and privacy scandals over the previous year, and its new campaign claiming to be more transparent.

"We want people to see better ads - it's a better outcome for people, businesses, and Facebook when people see ads that are more relevant to their actual interests", Osborne said. "This year we're doing more to make our settings easier to use and hosting more in-person events on ads and privacy".

Facebook keeps a running list of things it has learned about you for advertisers. In December, Facebook created a temporary kiosk in Bryant Park in Manhattan to provide consumers with information about privacy and ad targeting. This is similar to an approach that was tested by Facebook during the referendum on abortion in Ireland last May.

In an interview with Reuter, Rob Leathern, the director of product management of Facebook, said that the social media giant knows it that would not "be flawless, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement". Almost 60 percent of participants said that at least the preferences were more or less accurate, while 27 percent said they did not represent reality.

It's not unreasonable that users wouldn't know about the ad-preferences page.

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