What Does The Man Have On You? March 23, 2018 9:00 AM   Subscribe

wenestvedt suggested we have a MetaTalk thread to discuss what our Facebook/Cambridge Analytica advertising profiles look like. Check Your Information > Your Categories, and also be sure to look at Hobbies and Interests. Besides being a fan of Cattle, Thought, Crop and Brick, I apparently have a mystery Housemate, perhaps lurking in my crawlspace.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to MetaFilter-Related at 9:00 AM (135 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Computation and Mathematics, Life, Physical and Social Sciences, Birthday in December, US Politics (very liberal).

According to Facebook, I am a super nerd.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:03 AM on March 23, 2018


Hobbies are under Your Interests by the way.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:06 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm a very liberal wifi-user in a craftsman home, and I vote. Also: I like love; I my sole hobby is artist, which is characterized by the word "Artisté" in scripted font on a winery's sign; and apparently instead of computer science I studied aesthetics, which someone should really let WPI know about that because it explains why I never got a programming job after I graduated.

Also they seem to have guessed that I'm playing Love Nikki ~ Dress Up Queen even though I didn't connect it to my account, which for whatever reason right now feels like the most on-point example of the creepy pervasiveness of corporate social media surveillance. But it's probably Eyebrows' fault somehow since she got me hooked.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've been a daily facebook user since June 2004 and this is all it has on me?????
WTF?

I'm...almost mad? I feel like there used to be different stuff here. I remember not too long ago something with tile cards that showed I had interests both in "dental hygiene" and "flossing", independently. Where did that info go.

(Oooh but scrolling down farther down the page I see there's an option to hide ads about parenting PERMANENTLY so goodbye random ads for breast pumps and peri bottles.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


And, yeah, this is a good a reminder as any to go and shut off as much of the stuff as they let you in there if you haven't already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:12 AM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, the interests section is far more exciting.
3 cheers for buttocks!
posted by phunniemee at 9:12 AM on March 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


I will never understand why Facebook wanted to show me that ad for a flatbed trailer meant for hauling heavy loads that was available for like $100K in Alberta. I don't even have a car, never mind a transport truck, I don't live in Alberta, and while my ass is quite large, it is not quite "power turbine for a new hydroelectric dam" large. Also, I don't have $100K.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:16 AM on March 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


I don't have a facebook profile. However, I have been baffled by how determined YouTube have been over the last 8 weeks to get me to visit SingleMuslim.com. I am neither single nor Muslim and i suspect the average Muslim lady would not rate me as a catch if she was remotely observant. Even after i went through the process of saying 'Don't show me this again' they just switched me to MarryaMuslim.com for a week, then back to SingleMuslim.com.
posted by biffa at 9:29 AM on March 23, 2018 [20 favorites]


On the "Food and drink" page, my interests include both Food and Water. Such focused advertising!

The "Business and industry" page says that I like University, Pub, Kinder surprise, and Toyota."

My "People" are a bunch of musicians (Bob Mould, Frank Turner), politicians (Robert Reich, Al Franken), plus Dan Rather and St. John Marie-Baptiste-Vianney (who died in 1859). Also, most of the cast of all the Star Wars movies, and Paul Rubens. This is the only accurate part of the whole mess.

The "Fitness and wellness" page includes Bicycle Pedal (that's one -- very specific -- item), and, well, Fitness & Wellness.

Best of all, though, are my "Hobbies" which include Mukluk, Inn, and Bathing.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I actually have an extension called "FB Purity" installed on my browser, that lets me customize my Facebook experience (item: it forces Facebook to show me posts in REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, the way GOD INTENDED). I just checked the "check what Cambridge Analytics has on you" link above -and noticed that right below each category, there was an extra button: "Clear Interests with FBP." I clicked it.

And one by one, FB Purity made all of those interests disappear, rendering me a blank slate once again.

FB Purity can be found here, if you're perhaps interested...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2018 [13 favorites]


Wait, I forgot one: the "Other" tab asserts that one of my interests -- displayed over an icon of boiling water -- is "Chemical substance." Yes, singluar.

Someone remind me how these fools are worth billions?
posted by wenestvedt at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


There's a lot of money in chemical substance. Gold, for example, is lousy with the stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on March 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


Just came to report back about the FP Purity cleanup tool. I am a devoted user but had not known about that function until now.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:37 AM on March 23, 2018


we're all very concerned about all the data that companies have on us, able to tailor ads precisely to take advantage of our demographic. I just logged on to watch CNN live, and was greeted with a spanish language nickelodeon kids choice awards ad featuring john cena, three times in a row
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


and yes, I could see him
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]




I am a devoted [FB Purity] user but had not known about that function until now.

Me neither - I suspect it's new.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I taught my kids to lie to web sites whenever it's not actually important -- e.g., tell the bank the truth, but throw up a fog of B.S. to Instagram and FaceBook -- so I am actually happy to see these rubbish results.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:52 AM on March 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Three of my interests under "Other" are "This is a test interest."
posted by enn at 9:57 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Under "Hobbies and Activities" I have... "Car Rentals".

Which, yeah, I do rent cars. But, like... maybe I'm renting them too much, I dunno.
posted by GuyZero at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


Facebook says my "Multicultural Affinity" is "African American (US)". My white, Southern European ass is amused at how totally off base Facebook is on this one. I'm not offended by this and I love messing with demographics, but it seems to be based entirely on my following and interacting with the FB pages for Black Lives Matter and other anti-racism groups as well as certain black authors/speakers, which makes me think about how racist code gets into algorithms.

Also, the image I get for my interest in "United States Congress" is the Dunkin Donuts logo. While I _do_ have an (unFacebooked) interest in Dunkin Donuts' iced tea, I don't actually associate it with Congress. Though I suppose since I'm in MA it's weirdly appropriate.

And one of my hobbies according to Facebook is "reel". Not fishing reel or film reel, just "reel". Represented by a garden hose reel. Now I have typed the word reel so many times that it looks wrong. Reel.
posted by camyram at 10:07 AM on March 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


I'm an unperson to Facebook. FB Purity + Privacy Badger + Not using the app. I don't post to my own wall, just to a couple groups (the only reason I'm on it at all). It doesn't have my name, or my location. I regularly go in and delete what little (usually hilarious and wrong) stuff it thinks it knows about me.

Lately, Zuck seems to be increasingly agitated that I'm not "engaging" enough. When I'm on a mobile browser (no FB Purity :( ) I have started getting endless PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW and FRIENDS REQUESTS and YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN boxes. Like, way more than a couple months ago. No, I am not going to friend anyone. No I am not going to click on random shit. Just let me ask questions to the local chicken keepers group in peace.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:07 AM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Mine are just Alcohol and Parenting

This.. this doesn't bode well.
posted by French Fry at 10:09 AM on March 23, 2018 [38 favorites]


Well, I enjoy drinking alcohol while listening to you talk about parenting when we're playing plunkbat, so that basically scans.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:17 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am proud to say that also I've used Facebook for a decade, Zuck knows almost nothing about me. My categories are Birthday in June, Commuters, Education & Libraries, Engaged Shopper, Parent, iPhone user, and US Politics (conservative) (Ha! That hasn't been remotely accurate since at least 2003.)

Interests are bizarrely wrong.

Video games? Nope.
Shopping? Nope.
Sports? I am whatever the complete antithesis of a sports fan is. I barely bother to clap for my own kids.
Dogs? Also a no. I mean, they're fine, I'm sure, but I've never had one.
Pizza? I eat it, but I'm not exactly building my life around it.

The only two that are basically correct are Family and Photography. What's really weird is that there is nothing at all in my interests about religion, in spite of three theology degrees, a former career as a pastor, and what has to be a pretty significant number of posts somehow connected to religion. And, you know, being part of six or seven Bible and theology based Facebook groups.

I'm assuming this is because I have always refused to fill out the interests stuff on my profile and "like" only a very small number of pages. My life seems to be almost a complete blank to Facebook, and I like it that way.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Does anyone remember that old Metatalk thread where a user (whom I believe was getting permission) would dig through another member's posting history and put together a profile based on comments they made?
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:20 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


That would be tamim analyzing thomcatspike.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Does anyone remember that old Metatalk thread where a user (whom I believe was getting permission) would dig through another member's posting history and put together a profile based on comments they made?

I don't remember them having permission, but I definitely remember that. It was very revealing of how much some of us tell about ourselves here. Zuckerberg doesn't know me, but if someone wanted to read all my MeFi comments, they could probably drive straight to my house and say the top three things that would turn me into a sobbing wreck, and then comfort me with my favorite food and the movies I like best.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2018 [28 favorites]


I appear to have both Football and Motherhood in my Interests, which makes absolutely no sense. I also appear to have Pizza listed as an interest, which... ok, fine.
posted by Ziggy500 at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


There's also a couple more examples in that thread, including rcade tamim-ing tamim and then tamim tamim-ing himself a bit. It's notable as a contextual thing how much tamim's motivation was less "gotcha" and more arguing for the value of close-reading, in response to the general received idea that thomcatspike was a cipher. (In practice thomcatspike was mostly just performatively weird.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


You know, I went through and de-populated all these categories a few months ago when I first learned about all this, and guess what, they're populated again. There's no point. You take the deal with the devil, or you don't. You can't negotiate with the devil.
posted by Miko at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have away from home town, away from family, birth month, the browser/4G connection/mobile devices I use to access facebook and the fact that I'm a page admin, all accurate.

The only inaccuracy is they think I live with housemates, which hasn't been true for ~4 years.

No interests, consumer categories or political affiliations, which suits me fine.
posted by terretu at 10:44 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


My Interest in Black feminism appears under the Sports and Outdoors section.
posted by rtha at 10:54 AM on March 23, 2018 [12 favorites]


My "news and entertainment" listings are limited to:

Clue (1992 video game)
Exhibition Game

A thing I didn't know existed and a generic type of sporting event. Way to go, guys.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:05 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


One of mine was "Room". Not the movie, just rooms in a building. I mean, I never thought about it but I guess I like rooms well enough?
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2018 [18 favorites]


Give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above
Don't fence me in!

posted by wenestvedt at 11:23 AM on March 23, 2018


I remember feeling like the Tamim thing was super cool at the time (16 years ago??? Jesus, i mean... Jesus. Stands up, Sits back down, pours a rye, drinks it. Pensively watches a flying bird disappear over the horizon. Jesus) But now with hindsight it feels like a manner of soft doxxing that I'd rather avoid as a community.
posted by French Fry at 11:26 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


My categories are mostly correct but pretty boring: Birthday in August, Expat, Friend of Expats, Anniversary (within 60-90 days), US Politics (very liberal), Gmail users. It thinks I have an iPhone which is funny (I have never owned an iPhone).

One of my interests is Victory, which, yeah ok, I will cop to. I am interested in Victory.

Thanks for the pointer to that FB purity thing. I want my chronological timeline back. I have a bunch of facebook friends that I unfollowed since they're not in my lives any more, and facebook's not quite sure what to do with the apparently pitiful number of friends that I am following, since my timeline is always messed up and showing me the same things but in different orders.
posted by quaking fajita at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am interested in: Men and Women.

Did Facebook just out my bisexuality to me?
posted by muddgirl at 11:42 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


But now with hindsight it feels like a manner of soft doxxing that I'd rather avoid as a community.

Oh, for sure, there's a huge amount of "what the climate was" there and also a relatively tiny community. Anybody pulling that stunt today would be out the door before you could blink. 16 years is a galaxy away by now in a lot of ways.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:04 PM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Under Hobbies it has one entry, and that is "Human".

I think Facebook thinks I'm an alien.
posted by ultranos at 12:13 PM on March 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Facebook apparently has very little on me, which is fine. I think I did a purge and shut as many things off as possible a few years back, and I rarely log in and do anything there anymore. I think I'm going to delete my profile in the near future.

More concerning to me was the attitude I saw displayed by some of the people interviewed on the news last night, about this topic. "I don't share anything on Facebook that I consider private," one guy says, and I'm thinking that's good, but you don't know the depth of information they've got on you - it's not about what you knowingly share, it's about Facebook collecting information about you based on what you do on their site. What you like, what you click, what you hide - all of it! And then they package all of that up and sell it, without you knowing exactly what it is or who is getting it and why. We need to help people get some better depth of knowledge on this stuff and what it means.
posted by nubs at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Facebook??? thinks I like??? soccer????
posted by meese at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2018


Since I rarely use it there is almost nothing there. And whatever was there I removed or turned off. Whatever that does. I liked Current Events and Spirit? Not anymore. Screw you, Facefuck.
posted by Splunge at 12:37 PM on March 23, 2018


it's about Facebook collecting information about you based on what you do on their site.

And also a shit-ton of other sites.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


which for whatever reason right now feels like the most on-point example of the creepy pervasiveness of corporate social media surveillance.

Mine was when facebook suggested that I become friends with the owner of another small forum I frequent. I'm sure it had something to do with cookies, shared interests, and possibly geolocation. Oddly, that's the only person outside of my circle of extended family and / or acquaintances that it's ever suggested.

My facebook "hobbies and activities" are identified as: Nature, Women's rights, Gardening, Contemporary art, Modern art, Performing arts, Birds, Reading, Landscape, Artist, Plant, Botanical garden. But that sweet essence of purest liberal bougiedom isn't nearly as great as the people it identifies as my interests: Bernie Sanders, MC Lyte, Andy Warhol, The Game (rapper), and Ulysses S. Grant.

You can tell that "I still think Grant/Game would've won" is something I'm likely to say.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Previously!
posted by zeusianfog at 12:56 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


My hobbies are : Reading, Freight Transport, USB, Rain, and Carbohydrate.

Frighteningly accurate.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:02 PM on March 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


I guess my efforts to not be categorized (despite me posting my daily photo project results to facebook) is working.

I have only a single category in interests (hobbies and activities) and within are only two interests: Electricity, which makes sense considering I'm on a couple groups for Electricians; and Propeller, which WTF?
posted by Mitheral at 1:03 PM on March 23, 2018


Apparently I'm interested in London, which fair enough, and Time. Not the publication, the ceaseless march of existence itself.
posted by lucidium at 1:13 PM on March 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter: the ceaseless march of existence itself.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:15 PM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ceaseless the march of existence itself: MetaFilter!

(Remember, backward runs sentences until reels the mind.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Among my "Hobbies and Activities": Hair dryer. With a picture of a hair dryer.
posted by hanov3r at 1:30 PM on March 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


Log into Facebook
You must log in to continue.

Guess I deleted my account a few weeks too soon. (No I didn't, it has been great and I 3000% recommend it, you can still annoy your relatives by phone and pick fights with your neighbors if you must, and you can do it all without worrying about how your old elementary school teacher whom you adored when you were seven thinks Mexicans are lazy, or how several high school classmates are probably victims of MLMs but why would they listen to you about it.)
posted by solotoro at 1:50 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


my categories are just a bunch of technical data, except "Close friends of ex-pats", "console gamers" and "Soccer/US soccer fans". Which I really can't deny.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:55 PM on March 23, 2018


Oh man, this is good. I appreciate this thread. Mine include "Product (business)", "herding dog", "Price", "rings of Saturn", "Internet meme", and "Pound (mass)".

Also for some reason, "Facebook", which seems a bit redundant, no?
posted by capricorn at 2:04 PM on March 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Facebook thinks I like Michael Bolton, Justin Bieber, Soccer, Fasting, AFL, and Rugby.

Spoiler: I don't.

Also at some stage I removed the interest President of the United States, and I suspect it was probably in January 2017
posted by daybeforetheday at 2:06 PM on March 23, 2018


It also sees my different hometown and current city in my profile and computes that I am "away from hometown" and "away from family". I mean, if being a 20 minute drive across the state line counts I guess that's true?

...oh and it totally also thinks I am black. (Very pale white person here, but I am a member of my local BLM on Facebook so maybe that's where they're getting it?)
posted by capricorn at 2:12 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I find it bizarre that despite being a member of 13 different insect-related Facebook groups, none of my interests are ‘insects’ or ‘etymology’ or ‘natural history’ or whatever. I guess if anyone really wants to sell moth traps or pheromone lures they can just target the groups themselves?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:30 PM on March 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oh god. I have a very sparse Facebook with zero friends that I only use for groups (although I'm very active in those groups so they should know me better!) and Facebook thinks my only "Lifestyle and culture" interest is... "Spreadsheet". Not sure if this means I am Spreadsheet or I want to date Spreadsheet or what but I'm strangely ok with Cambridge Analytica thinking this.
posted by acidic at 2:30 PM on March 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


wow I thought I took a lot out of that page. just went through and removed everything. i don't care if they'll just track me again as i use the internet, but that felt good to click on all those X's.
posted by numaner at 2:33 PM on March 23, 2018


I looked, and suddenly I am a LOT less worried about what Cambridge Analytica (or anyone else) knows about me. If that's the best they can come up with, my privacy is still pretty safe.
posted by briank at 3:00 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I kinda guessed that Facebook thinks I'm black, but yup: I got "Multicultural Affinity: African American (US)." I'm not black. I honestly have no idea where they're getting that.

According to Facebook, my hobbies are women's rights, photography, knitting, catering, yarn and freight transport. Is freight transport a hobby?
I find it bizarre that despite being a member of 13 different insect-related Facebook groups, none of my interests are ‘insects’ or ‘etymology’ or ‘natural history’ or whatever.
Yeah, same with me and computer programming.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:07 PM on March 23, 2018


I am, apparently, the "Parent of a teen, 17+".

I am so sorry, alleged teenage offspring, that I have been unaware of your existence lo these 17+ years...
posted by Dorinda at 3:08 PM on March 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


Very Liberal, with interests in Horse Markings, Wonder, and Rats.

Uncanny.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:16 PM on March 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Hobbies and activities: Historic Preservation, Birds, Silk, Severe Weather, Air Conditioning, Being
Fair on the first three, and severe weather because I follow the local National Weather Service office I guess? But I love "Being." My hobby is "Being." I'm interested in "Being."

My "Fitness and Wellness" is "orthotics" and "flatline" and I'M STARTING TO FEEL JUDGED FACEBOOK.

(I can't click to find out what kind of ads "Flatline" gets me because I have ads blocked.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:21 PM on March 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Parrot trimming ear hair, Jai alai and cowboy poetry.

Huh
posted by clavdivs at 3:26 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's notable as a contextual thing how much tamim's motivation was less "gotcha" and more arguing for the value of close-reading, in response to the general received idea that thomcatspike was a cipher. (In practice thomcatspike was mostly just performatively weird.)

I hung out with thomcat a few times back around 2004-5 when we were both living in Dallas. I can verify that he's a (genuinely kind) human being. I lost touch with him for quite a while, but he found me on IG some time last year and we exchange PMs every once in a while. I happy to report that while his writing style hasn't changed a bit, he seems to be doing quite well.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:28 PM on March 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


Facebook knows I really like dogs, but that's not exactly a secret.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:30 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Because of my interactions with and posts about BICAS, a Tucson bicycle nonprofit, Facebook has insightfully deduced my interest in Bicas, a municipality in Southeast Brazil. Good job, Facebook!
posted by egregious theorem at 3:38 PM on March 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


Magnets. No clue why,
posted by itesser at 3:45 PM on March 23, 2018


"You must log in to continue". They have nothing on me. NOTHINGGG!!! harharharhar [yeah I know, 'you wish', but I never joined that particular club.]
posted by Namlit at 3:58 PM on March 23, 2018


"Away from home town"
"Protective services"
"Frequent travellers"
"Close friends of ex-pats"
"Away from family"
The inexplicable, "Close friends of people with birthdays in a month."
and its friend "Close friends of women with a birthday in 7-30 days"
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:14 PM on March 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Find someone who looks at you like Facebook analytics looks at you.
posted by drlith at 5:13 PM on March 23, 2018


I'm an African-American (I'm not, actually) who is into Bees, Varnish, Freight transport and Textiles (one of those is accurate). And I have hidden ads from JB Pritzker.
posted by crush at 5:15 PM on March 23, 2018


Oh, and that I am an engaged shopper who travels frequently.
posted by crush at 5:18 PM on March 23, 2018


Facebook has a lot on me, apparently. My hobbies and interests include: oxygen, valet parking, matter, being, diffuser (automotive), hour, minute, order (biology), atmosphere of earth, and conifer cone.
posted by brook horse at 5:22 PM on March 23, 2018 [13 favorites]


brook horse: oxygen, valet parking, matter, being, diffuser (automotive), hour, minute, order (biology), atmosphere of earth, and conifer cone.

Boys and girls, put down your pencils -- I think we have our winner.

(Yes, this even beats "I collect spores, molds and fungus. " )
posted by wenestvedt at 5:43 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


i hardly ever post or visit facebook, as i got real bored with it real quick

i appear to be african american, though

i guess i needn't worry about what they "know" about me, then
posted by pyramid termite at 6:26 PM on March 23, 2018


Do people believe they are showing you everything they have on you? (If so, why do you believe this, given Facebook's history.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:31 PM on March 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


My interests include the NRA (er no), GameSpot (not my thing really), price (like, as in the amount something costs), Soprano (not The Sopranos), Victory (better than the alternative, I'll grant you), Ben Affleck (wtf), Sun (seen under "sports and outdoors," and yes I do like living near a sun), Chakra (okay?), Counties (sure), and also Facebook (not sure how useful that'll be to Facebook advertisers, but sure).
posted by duffell at 6:33 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Lyft and Fender Musical Instruments Corporation? Don't own a guitar, can't play guitar, never used a Lyft in my life. Good work, Facebook.
posted by pemberkins at 7:18 PM on March 23, 2018


Boys and girls, put down your pencils -- I think we have our winner.

Dude, if steeplejack comes up, I beg you to reconsider.
posted by clavdivs at 7:30 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


longdaysjourney: "Do people believe they are showing you everything they have on you? (If so, why do you believe this, given Facebook's history.)"

Obviously not (that Facebook is showing everything). The most valuable data is probably the associations graph for users and of course there really isn't anyway to show that with perpetuating a massive privacy invasion of everyone on the graph. Might be fun to see some statistics about it though. Like you have 30 people with 1 degree of separation, 70 with 2 and 6000 with 3.
posted by Mitheral at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's remarkable how little Facebook claims to know about me, considering I'm an early adapter from 2005.

(I know they're lying)
posted by Yowser at 8:29 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Among my "Hobbies and Activities" is "Space Exploration." This is news to me.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:31 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is there anyone who shows an ethnicity other than African American? I suspect they are strictly basing this on "liking" or joining any Black Lives Matter-type pages or groups. Nothing else in my interests is stereotypically African-American and yet they've always categorized me as that. My hobbies and activities include: Owl, Snow, Auto transmission, Erosion, Minute (the unit of time) and Cafeteria. To be fair, I do like snowy owls.
posted by AFABulous at 8:37 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I recently went through and unliked all pages I had liked, just following them instead. As far as I can tell following a page without liking it makes no difference as to what items from that page appear in my newsfeed. Whether it makes any difference as to what Facebook or the next Cambridge Analytica thinks of me, who can say? I think my friends don't see it if I follow a page without liking it, though.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:45 PM on March 23, 2018


I do not have now or have I ever had a FB account. I am paranoid enough to think they have shadow information on me. But, what I cannot for the life of me understand, is why one would click on a FB link so that FB can tell you what they have on you. It is just more data for them. I trust FB as far as I can throw them.

I guess if I had a profile, under "likes" or "hobbies" would be tin foil and making hats.
posted by AugustWest at 10:09 PM on March 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Is there anyone who shows an ethnicity other than African American?

I'd love to know if there's anyone who Facebook has correctly identified as white. I mean, it has me as Asian American, but that's not terribly hard to figure out from my activity. There... er... must be a category for white, right? (lol no there's not because the box identifying me as Asian American says "Multicultural Affinity" and obviously whiteness is a blank slate such that liking BLM alone must mean you're African American. Sigh)

Otherwise, the only kind of skeevy thing in my ad profile is that there's a lot of woo (fasting, toxicity, raw foodism... I don't feel like going through the whole thing again but those were far from the only ones I noticed). I don't like or click on that shit and I have maybe 2 people max in my friends who share it, so I'm a bit concerned that it's wormed its way into my profile. I don't really care if it shows me that stuff, but it seems like maybe it's being pushed aggressively?
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:26 PM on March 23, 2018


I set up a dummy profile a while ago so I can get notified about events by a few people who only really organise them via facebook. I rarely use it for anything else. This seems to have led to a pretty minimal set of interests etc in their database, which is great.

But the one that does baffle me is under "food and drink". It thinks the "food and drink" I'm interested in is 1. "tea", and 2. "sociolinguistics".
posted by lollusc at 4:49 AM on March 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


(And the entirety of my "hobbies and activities" are apparently "tote bag" and "lizard".)
posted by lollusc at 4:54 AM on March 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


It has me nailed on a number of fronts, but my hobbies of "wild boar" and "Hell" (illustrated with a nice medieval picture of Hell, so not metaphorical) were something of a surprise.

Also my "people" consist only of Albert Einstein, Chuck Norris and Evidence, which I immediately assumed was a "fuck/marry/kill" question. I leave you to make your own conclusions as to who is in which category.
posted by Vortisaur at 5:28 AM on March 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm struggling to figure out why some people are being accurately profiled and some aren't. Surely we've all had Facebook track us across hundreds or thousands of sites.

Twitter puts ads front and centre based on sites I've visited. Twitter is one of the most mediocre products I've ever seen, astounding in the depths of its betrayal of basic software design principles. Surely Facebook, which is a relative master class in software design is better at this than them.
posted by Yowser at 6:16 AM on March 24, 2018


I’d love to know if there's anyone who Facebook has correctly identified as white.

Duh, it’s silicon valley: the default is white (and probably male).
posted by wenestvedt at 6:25 AM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Apparently I am a single mom in a multi roommate situation and am super into fashion and shopping.
posted by tilde at 6:55 AM on March 24, 2018


Yowser: " Surely we've all had Facebook track us across hundreds or thousands of sites.
"

Either ad block or ghostery (or both maybe) blocks the tracking bugs that facebook uses to monitor people across non-facebook sites. If you've got those installed facebook gets a lot less information of your web habits.
posted by Mitheral at 7:12 AM on March 24, 2018


Well, apparently Facebook thinks I’m a moderate? I don’t even know if that’s true anymore.

Also you can turn off targeted ads, which I suggest, because it will make Facebook’s stock crash harder.
posted by corb at 8:29 AM on March 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm apparently interested in "Tempo," "Matter," and "Week."
posted by aka burlap at 9:01 AM on March 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I believe this page is bullshit. If you navigate to this page, they know you're probably not there to help them target better ads. So we get a genericized and slightly obfuscated sample of the information they have. "Ha ha, they know I'm liberal but think I have an iPhone and like goat herding. Idiots." They also have your credit score, an accurate list of what you've ever bought online, your sexual orientation, what kind of porn you like, among many, many other things. All of that information is for sale to the highest bidder.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:25 AM on March 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


They doubtless have some of their real information wrong. Maybe they wrongly think you're having an affair, or that your interests include iron pipes and gunpowder. What could go wrong?
posted by double block and bleed at 9:29 AM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


So we get a genericized and slightly obfuscated sample of the information they have

I am so certain you are correct about this. They are interested in giving us the semblance of control, not actual control.
posted by Miko at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


The other conclusion is that on average facebook just isn't very good at this. Never attribute to malice etc.
posted by quaking fajita at 10:40 AM on March 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Amongst other things, apparently I am interested in "Bedbug". Well, I mean, I suppose if you stretch the definition of "interested in" to include "utterly terrified of"...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:55 AM on March 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hobbies include: Old Age and Bathing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:58 AM on March 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


The other conclusion is that on average facebook just isn't very good at this.

I've heard that thesis before, but I don't buy it. They're making money hand over fist, and it's not by selling crap data. They are dumb, but not quite in that way.
posted by Miko at 10:59 AM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


The most recent On the Media goes into what kinds of dumb they are and aren't in good detail.
posted by Miko at 11:00 AM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


My hobbies include: televisions, occupational health and safety, bag, pigment, tavern, giant panda, toxicity, and atmosphere of Earth. Yeah that all checks out! Should put this on my dating profile.
posted by rodlymight at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


As I've mentioned before, if I were any more white, you could schmear me on a bagel, but I (like camyram) got "Multicultural Affinity: African American (US)" because, I'm sure, I post a LOT about issues of injustice for people of color. Otherwise, if you remove things related to the types of devices I use, the only things mine says are either true and boring, or off-base. For example:

Away from hometown/Away from family -- well, OK, yes, I only really have two relatives and they are elsewhere

US politics (moderate) -- well, I'm pretty freakin' progressive, and there's nothing conservative about me, so I'm curious what falls in the moderate column

Frequent Travelers -- I go to a conference once a year

Friends of Soccer/US soccer fans -- nope. Not at all. No sportsball.

My hobbies are entirely inaccurate. Nope, FedEx is not my hobby--I complained about their gun stance. Bakery, though my friend once owned one at which I ate fairly often, is not a hobby. Amazon? Well, I guess there they got me. How the heck is Clinique a hobby?

But seriously, my most perplexing hobby? "Year"
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


"Close friend of women with birthday in 7-30 days"
"Returned from travelling one week ago" (false, unless it's a month-length week)
"Ex-pats (United States)"
"Close friend of ex-pats"
"Uses a mobile device"

Also a bunch of music, and "Photograph" (I guess simply because I have uploaded a picture to facebook?).
posted by busted_crayons at 1:45 PM on March 24, 2018


… entomology, rather.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:28 PM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


My profile indicates that I've been pretty darn good at not giving FB much to go on. My Categories are just "Birthday in March" and "Politics (very liberal)," and Hobbies and stuff are pretty much just likes I've given to bands. Hiding in plain sight.
posted by rhizome at 2:37 PM on March 24, 2018


One of my Lifestyle and Culture values is "seashell", which I love very much. Yes FB, you are correct. Seashell.
posted by glitter at 3:14 PM on March 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


My hobbies include: televisions, occupational health and safety, bag, pigment, tavern, giant panda, toxicity, and atmosphere of Earth. Yeah that all checks out! Should put this on my dating profile.

Hey, you giant panda, you! Wanna come up to my tavern and check out the toxicity of my bags of pigment?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


It did accurately note that I am obsessed with tote bags. But under sports I have "tree". So, you know - win some, lose some.
posted by Toddles at 11:20 PM on March 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


there's been talk on twitter that the FB app scrapes all your phone call metadata but that wasn't true for me and I've had the FB app on my (iPhone) for years (until last week). It does have a long list of everyone I've ever friended, defriended, or had in my phone contacts, including a lot of people I don't recognize (probably people I met once at a party). Has anyone else tried this? Is it Android specific?
posted by AFABulous at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2018


I think it’s Android-specific, according to this article:
The same call record and SMS data collection has not yet been discovered on iOS devices. While Apple does allow some specialist apps to access this data in limited ways like blocking spam calls or texts, these apps have to be specifically enabled through a process that’s similar to enabling third-party keyboards. The majority of iOS apps cannot access call history or SMS messages, and Facebook’s iOS app is not able to capture this data on an iPhone.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 11:59 AM on March 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


In related news, I just deactivated my Facebook account.
posted by duffell at 2:58 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm deleting everything, every post, every like, every friend, preparatory to deactivating the account. I realize this is stupid and pointless and the horse has left the barn and gone must and stomped all the villagers to death, and I know that I'm only deleting it for me and all my friends, not for Zuck, Trump, and Putin, but I don't care, it feels too good to respond to "are you sure you want to delete this? You won't be able to find it again" with DELETE and "are you sure you want to unfriend your grandmother?" with UNFRIEND.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:05 PM on March 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Facebook has decided that one of my interests is "Time Travel."

And yet I never see any ads for time travel, very disappointing.
posted by NormieP at 3:33 PM on March 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


I deleted all my interests and profile stuff this morning, but have spent the day poking around online just like every Sunday. I just went back and now see FB is pretty sure I'm into: Automobiles, Holiday cottage, Freight transport, Sequence, People, Toughened Glass, Labaratory glassware.

What.

OK the holiday cottage is because I'm searching for lodgings for an upcoming London trip. Otherwise... what.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:30 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh there are other tabs, and they are delightful. Under Technology: "Desktop metaphor." They're not wrong, but still!

Under Food & drink: Trivet. My dude I have literally never owned a trivet in my adult life.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


A year or two ago I kept getting side-by-side ads encouraging me to "date senior men" and "date cowboys." I've been waiting for my gray-haired Jesse James since then.

I hope he digs that I'm into
['fish', 'photograph', 'space', 'taxidermy', 'rooster', 'boot camp (correctional)']
posted by bendy at 11:52 PM on March 25, 2018


ex-pats, close friends of ex-pats, ex-pats United States, life, physical, and social sciences, management, frequent travellers, friends of US soccer fans (go Portland Timbers and lol warshington flounders, a good friend does a lot of fan graphic design for the Timbers and is awesome at it)

and that's it

been using FB since 2006, never gave them anything so not too surprised there
posted by fraula at 1:42 AM on March 26, 2018


A year or two ago I kept getting side-by-side ads encouraging me to "date senior men" and "date cowboys." I've been waiting for my gray-haired Jesse James since then.

For a while, I was getting lots of "Date Police Officer" ads, followed by a stretch of "Date Corrections Officers." I was expecting "Date Convicts" next, but now it's all old age, bathing, and discount tombstones.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:28 AM on March 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


This tweetpoem:

I have repurposed
the data
that were in
your personal profile

and which
you were probably
saving
for friends

Forgive me
they were politically useful
so lucrative
and [WHICH WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS POEM ARE YOU?? TAKE OUR QUIZ CLICK HERE]
—Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

seems awfully apropos, wonder if the poet is mefi's own?
posted by runincircles at 2:30 AM on March 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


According to Facebook, my hobbies: smile human duck vibraphone.

I'm sure a lot of my friends would smirk to wee "smile" there, especially listed first. I guess I'm interested in humans? Duck is delicious, but I rarely eat or cook it (though it features every Christmas, as is tradition in Denmark) and vibraphones are pretty cool, but I've never even played one nor do I listen to much vibraphone music so far as I'm aware.

If I didn't adblock everything, I bet this profile would have some hilarious and incongruous ads.
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Facebook's pretty sure I'm a multiculturally Black woman who likes music. Specifically "Christian music," soul, gospel, rhythm and blues, and "Madness (band)," which I have never heard of until now but evidently was an 80s British ska group.

I'm a white atheist, and if I had to pick one out of that list of musical genres I don't really click with that much, I guess I'd pick rhythm and blues?
posted by deludingmyself at 7:22 AM on March 26, 2018


Also my hobbies are "pets" and "mammal."
posted by deludingmyself at 7:24 AM on March 26, 2018


So on All Things Considered this evening, a reporter describes how you can go into your settings and see these cateogories, which are fairly harmless, but then when she requested and paid-for a report on her psychographic profile from Cambridge Analytica, they had things like the GPS coordinates of her house and her voting history. What she says seems to support the notion that what they're giving us as choices isn't the real data they're selling.
posted by Miko at 1:27 PM on March 26, 2018 [4 favorites]




I wonder how these Markov-esque "hobbies" are generated. Given their rather arbitrary nature, they almost sound like crowd-sourced tags generated by a mix of native and non-native English speakers. Maybe the tags are defined by the advertisers, and we're seeing the tags from what ads we were matched with most frequently by The Algorithm.
posted by slogger at 10:28 AM on March 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Firefox has launched a "Facebook container" extension, designed to limit the amount of data Facebook can track about user's web activity.
posted by nubs at 12:11 PM on March 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


In related news, Mr. Fox has released the "Henhouse Container" extension.
posted by Miko at 5:00 AM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


By the way, there's an FPP today with a good piece on this stuff. Google is probably thrilled we worry so much about Facebook.
posted by Miko at 5:02 AM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


« Older Fig is awesome   |   Why is my comment getting favorited so much?! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments