August 24, 2016

Question of the Week: Should Facebook categorize its users based on political leanings?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

In the perpetually polarizing 2016 election cycle, many individuals are wary to share their political views on social media platforms. However, that has not stopped the world’s largest social media network from attempting to come up with its own assessment of each user’s political leanings.

Skeptical? Once logged onto Facebook, complete the following steps and see for yourself: 1) visit; 2) scroll to the “Interests” header; 3) click on the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab; and 4) look for the box titled “US Politics.” This box should outline in parenthesis whether Facebook has categorized you as a liberal, moderate, or conservative. 

According to the NYTimes:

Facebook makes a deduction about your political views based on the pages that you like — or on your political preference, if you stated one, on your profile page. If you like the page for Hillary Clinton, Facebook might categorize you as a liberal. However,  Even if you do not like any candidates’ pages, if most of the people who like the same pages that you do — such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — identify as liberal, then Facebook might classify you as one, too.

It is not hard to see how this information can be highly valuable for advertisers, especially within an election cycle. For example, such data allows candidates to target varying messages to specific groupings. That being said, some may argue that this runs this risk of being too invasive.

What do you think: Should Facebook categorize its users based on political leanings? Vote below.

Should Facebook categorize its users based on political leanings?

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