Here's how to find out all the things Facebook thinks you're interested in
For the past few weeks, an ad for menswear-inspired button-downs has been following me around Facebook.
As far as ads go, it’s pretty well-targeted: The brand and its mission are definitely in my wheelhouse; and the shirts are beautiful, if slightly out of my price range. It isn’t surprising that the shirts would appeal to me, given that I’m known around the HG office for borrowing from the boys — but after seeing this ad multiple times, I began to wonder how Facebook knew this, too. I’ve only updated my profile once since 2012: How could Facebook have possibly gathered that I only wear muted colors and struggle with the “boob gap” in button-down shirts?
When you spend most of your time surfing the web, it’s not hard to believe that the sites we use most begin to get a good picture of our day-to-day. It should come as no surprise that Facebook keeps track of our Internet activity, and, as a result, has gathered some assumptions about who we are and what we’re into. Amongst many things, this data is used to serve us more relevant ads, which (presumably) leads to us buying more things, which then allows Facebook to charge more ad money. Buzzfeed recently discovered how to find what the social media site thinks you’re into — and the results get very specific (even if they’re not always particularly accurate).
As Buzzfeed points out, Facebook makes sure to keep these preference buried deep in the site. To find yours, first go to settings, which you can access via the arrow in the top right corner.
Or via the button next to it.
From there, click on “Ads” on the left column.
And then “Edit” next to “Ads based on my preferences.” A bigger button for you to “Visit Ad Preferences” should show up. (Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, just click here.)
This should take you to a treasure trove of things that Facebook thinks you’re interested in, organized by general categories — and let’s just say that things get pretty weird.
Apparently, two of my main hobbies include wool and moth (the animal) — neither of which are hobbies, as far as I know.
To be fair, a lot of my “interests” did make sense: Given that I write for the Internet, I can see why “News and Entertainment” would be my biggest category with 109 items. Elsewhere on the list, it said I love Beyoncé and the L.A. Lakers, along with multiple news sources that I check daily.
But many of them were a mystery to me. According to Facebook, Moses is one of 13 people I care about most; I’m a big fan of the phrase “die hard” (not the movie); and, apparently, I’m super interested in West Covina, California. How it gathered that, I suppose we’ll never know — but luckily, you can delete any of the ones that Facebook gets wrong with the simple click of an “x.”
Of course, FB is by no means the only site that tracks our online activity, and this practice has become somewhat of a “necessary evil” on the Internet: In exchange for information, we get to use awesome social media sites to communicate with our loved ones, and/or just procrastinate. Whether or not Facebook gets your interests right, we think it’s a pretty fair trade for hours of distraction.
(Image via Shutterstock.)