Facebook users unaware of how their personal data is used for ad-targeting purposes: Study

A majority of Facebook users are unaware that the social media platform records a list of their interests for ad-targeting purposes.

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Facebook users say they did not know that the data collected about them was part of the social media site’s algorithm that categorized their traits and interests. Users say they became aware only after Facebook directed them to their page as part of the study.

“Facebook has basically become a breeding ground for weaponizing personal data,” tech and business attorney Seth Berenzweig said during an interview on FOX Business on Wednesday.

Facebook has made it relatively easy for users to discover how the site’s algorithm categorizes their interests via a “your ad preferences” page. The survey suggests that 88 percent of users found that Facebook generated material for them when directed to the “ad preferences” page.

“Anything you do on platforms on Facebook will be used to target you with ads,” tech expert John Mayer said on “The Evening Edit.”

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The study also points out that half of Facebook users are uncomfortable with the social media platform’s decision to categorize their real-life interests.


Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said there’s an explosive amount of digital data that’s being aggregated in a monetary form -- and that eventually could be detrimental to everyone’s personal freedom.

“A world in which somebody’s able to track everything you buy, see, do, how you sleep, how you exercise, is a world where you can begin to observe pressure on people,” he said during a Friday interview on “WSJ At Large With Gerry Baker.”