According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 27% of US adult Facebook users say the platform’s classification of their interests is inaccurate.
Not only that, 74% weren’t even aware that Facebook maintained a list of their interests.
51% of users were comfortable with Facebook compiling this information.
Pew Research Center asked a representative sample of users to reflect on the data that had been collected about them, which was conducted between September and October of 2018.
Even though Facebook makes it easy for people to find out how its algorithm has categorized their interests in the “Your ad preferences” page, The social media platform does not communicate this fact very well.
This would explain why almost three-quarters of users surveyed didn’t know about the list of interest and traits.
When directed to the “ad preferences” page, 88% of users found that the site had generated some material for them.
Only 59% of users said Facebook’s categorizations reflect their real-life interests.
The results found in this study is relevant to Facebook marketers targeting adds to users based on interests. Going off these stats, this means that there is a good percentage of ads being displayed to the “wrong” users.
However, with 59% of people saying Facebook’s categorizations are accurate, it’s reasonable to expect that a majority of ads will be shown to the “right” users.
As Pew Research Center concludes, there is a lot of guesswork involved when determining users’ interests:
“Typically, the precise workings of the proprietary algorithms that perform these analyses are unknowable outside the companies who use them. At the same time, it is clear the process of algorithmically assessing users and their interests involves a lot of informed guesswork about the meaning of a user’s activities and how those activities add up to elements of a user’s identity.”
For more information, read the full study here.