Facebook Users Uncomfortable With Interest Categorization

January 29, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Creative & Formats | Customer-Centric | Digital | Personalization | Privacy & Security | Social Media

Facebook has assigned interest categories to the majority (88%) of users’ ad preference pages, according to a Pew Research survey of more than 950 US adult users of Facebook. However, almost three-quarters (74%) of Facebook users were not aware of this practice, .

Once made aware of the interest categories, almost 3 in 5 (59%) Facebook users felt the list of categories were either a somewhat or very accurate representation of them. Only 28% of respondents felt that the categories did not represent them accurately.

Digital advertisers are striving to dynamically segment their audiences in order to improve customer experience with advertising. That doesn’t mean that consumers won’t feel somewhat ill at ease when encountering the segmentation efforts in action. Even with that relatively high degree of accuracy of the information, about half (51%) of users surveyed expressed discomfort with the practice of Facebook creating lists of categories about them. By comparison, only slightly more than one-third (36%) said they were comfortable with the practice.

Along those lines, shortly after the Cambridge Analytica story came to light in early 2018, a separate Pew Research Center survey revealed that not only did younger users feel more discomfort about their privacy with Facebook than older users, but of the 9% of users who took the time to download the data Facebook made available to them, some 79% adjusted their privacy settings.

Facebook’s practice of assigning political labels continues despite the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The survey found that roughly half (51%) of users were assigned a political label. Of those who received a label, 73% of respondents felt the label accurately described their political views. Another 18% said that the label was not very accurate, and 9% felt it was not accurate at all.

The full report can be accessed here.

About the Data: Pew Research Center’s Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data, is compiled from survey data of a sample of 963 US adults ages 18 years and older who had a Facebook account.

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