Facebook ad preferences allow any user to see the huge amount of data held on social network

The site takes all of the information that it collects and tries to guess at what you might be interested in — all of which can be viewed on Facebook

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The Independent Tech

Facebook collects a huge amount of information on its users — and gives them the ability to see it.

Guessing what you like is key to Facebook’s business, which uses the information to show ads that it thinks you will click on. And the site allows you to see all of those guesses, and

Facebook works out what you are into through three main ways: information you tell Facebook, like how old you are; how you use Facebook, such as what you click on; and the various ways that Facebook is able to track you even once you’ve left the site.

The site has a special tool called Ad Preferences that allows you to see the results of all that information. It won’t show all of the data that Facebook has tracked, but it will let you check what the site claims to have learnt from it — all of the interests and other things that Facebook thinks it has discovered.

The tool is most easily accessed by heading to your Facebook page and finding an ad. Click the little “X” and select “Why am I seeing this?” From there, choose “Manage Your Ad Preferences”.

From there, you’ll be able to find all of the information that Facebook thinks it knows about you. That will include a broad range of things — potentially how long you’ve been married, your politics, and any other extra information that it has worked out.

Facebook will use all of that information to decide what it shows to you. Advertisers on the site can choose to target information at any of those things, which will make it more likely for them to show up for you.

The information shown isn’t a secret — Facebook advertises the options to change what you’re seeing on their own page. Checking the information could actually help Facebook, since excluding topics or advertisers that you’re not interested in could lead you to seeing more that you are.

Facebook even encourages people to click on ads that they like so that it’ll know what they like, or to voluntarily add information to its list of interests. Doing so won’t change the amount of ads,