It's easy to get a look inside the logic. Log in and check this out: https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences

This is not just a list of the pages and profiles you’ve liked. It’s also an index of the types of content you’ve shared and interacted with. It’s essentially an inference of interests. Go check it out.

Maybe it’s time to prune the garden of your profile. Pull some weeds. Like that show, “Weeds.” Remember that show? Well if Facebook “thinks” you liked it, then that interest may be used to serve you ads.

At first take, this topic is received as one of privacy concerns. People are a little creeped out to see what Facebook has gotten wrong or worse, what Facebook has gotten right. However, I think it's more about the relevance of the advertising and your right to curate and design the criteria by which you are served ads.

When I first went in to my preferences, I was surprised to find that Facebook had me tagged for a variety of broad political topics and religious and spiritual affiliations. This explains some of the ads I saw in my newsfeed and subsequently flagged “not relevant,” which is a more localized preference setting.

Needless to labor the point, I removed some of the things I considered a misinterpretation of interest. However, I left most of the things that I do find relevant and would invite advertisers to know.

It’s no big secret that online advertising has privacy, transparency and relevance issues to resolve but I am encouraged by tools like this. As I see it, it represents an evolving participatory democracy where audience and advertiser can agree to engage and improve the value of the advertising in the process.

Jeff Smack
Digital Communication Director