Reacting to a Facebook post seems harmless
Reacting to a Facebook post seems harmless

Facebook ad preferences: How to find out everything the site knows about you, and trick it into being wrong

The site makes its money by guessing what you are into – but you can help it out, or teach it to get it wrong

Andrew Griffin
Monday 09 May 2016 12:01

It’s possible to find everything that Facebook thinks you’re into – and trick it into getting it wrong.

The site makes its money by tracking your moves around the internet, your friends and your conversations to try and work out what kind of a person you are. It then uses that information to target ads so that people see things that they’re likely to be interested in.

But despite the huge portion of people’s lives that are lived on Facebook, the site still picks out strange – and often wrong – things about them. And it’s easy to find out what the site has decided you’re into.

Everyone’s ad preferences can be found by heading to the dedicated page on Facebook’s site. There, you’ll see everything it has decided you’re into, grouped by topic (such as “Food and Drink” or “Hobbies and Actives”).

Once on that page, the full information on every preference can be seen. Clicking on any of the interests will show why Facebook has decided you are into it – sometimes that will be because of a specific page you like, but other times the site won’t be able to say why you like it.

If it’s wrong – or you just want to trick Facebook – you can use the same page to add things that you’re into. Clicking the bar at the top lets you add new things, and see all the things Facebook counts as preferences.

You can also remove things. That means that theoretically you could change your ad preferences so that you only had one thing in them.

Doing that will change the ads you see on Facebook so that they’re about whatever you choose.

Facebook offers the option to change ad preferences as a way of ensuring that people are shown things they’re interested in. The company argues that it makes most sense for people to see ads about things they like – that way they’ll be useful, rather than annoying.

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