If anything makes me want to delete all my social media accounts and crawl in a hole, it's election season. Although politics is one of those things I prefer to leave off social media, it's kind of unavoidable right now. But since I don't discuss my political orientation much, then it stands to reason that my, say, Facebook account can't know anything about it, right? Wrong-o! It turns out your Facebook can predict whether you're liberal or conservative for U.S. users based on your activity on the platform — whether or not you actually talk about politics on it at all.
When you think about it, it isn't all that surprising, since Facebook is the master of serving people content they'll have an interest in. Take this personal anecdote as an example: I was shopping for barstools online, and guess what I saw when I hopped on Facebook afterwards? Barstools! But it doesn't even need to be that direct, either. I'm a former vegetarian, and I'd read articles on the daily about vegetarian eating, sustainable farming, etc. Sure enough, Facebook would serve up ads for meatless burgers, sanctuary farms, and vegan clothing. Touché, Facebook.
It's similar work at play when Facebook is identifying which party you affiliate with. You don't have to post "I LOVE HILLARY" to your wall for Facebook to categorize you; the platform will look at something you like, and if most of the other users who also liked it are of a certain political disposition, that's what Facebook will categorize you as.
So, how do you determine what Facebook has labeled you as? It's pretty simple.
1. Go To Your Facebook Ad Preferences Page
Either click the link above, or navigate to Settings, then Ads, then Ads Based On My Preferences, then Visit Ad Preferences. You'll see a screen that looks like this.
2. Click On The Lifestyle And Culture Tab
If you scroll down a little, you'll find this under Interests.
3. Look For The Box Labeled U.S. Politics
I had to click See More several times before the box came up, but there it is. Facebook has me categorized as liberal. True? Pretty much. Well played, Facebook.
Try it and see if Facebook's pick is accurate. Sure, it's not 100 percent foolproof, but FB is pretty good with these things. Was it right about you?
Images: Megan Grant/Bustle (3)