Are You REALLY A Liberal? Find Out How Facebook Decides What You Are (VIDEO)

You love Liberal America! You share our articles with your friends on Facebook. You retweet our reports to your followers on Twitter. You may even comment on our homepage if there is something that really gets to you.

You fume along with us at the copious amounts of right wing nonsense swirling around you. And like us, you celebrate progress towards liberal values like equal opportunity, equal treatment under the law, free speech, women’s rights, environmental protection, and so on.

liberal politics
Image via TechCrunch, available under a Creative Commons Attribution- 2.0 Generic license.

We know it, and we thank you from the bottom of our unapologetically bleeding hearts!

But are you really a liberal? Facebook has an opinion.

Facebook is a lot of things to a lot of people. A social network, a place to share pictures of your kids, a place to brag, a place to talk about movies, books, and of course politics.

But Facebook is to Facebook, above all else, a business. And at the heart of their business, is data.

They collect it, sift it, analyze it, parse it, and ultimately use it to make money by making sure that their users (you and I) are seeing advertisements that match our interests.

Now this gets us to what Facebook thinks your political leanings actually are. If you dare, you can find out what they think!

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Log on to your Facebook profile.
  2. Copy and paste this link in to your web browser:
  3. This will open your ad preferences page (bet you didn’t know you had one of those!).
  4. Now click on the “Lifestyle and culture” link tab.
  5. Look for a button called “US Politics” (hint: you may have to click “see more” a few times before you find it).
  6. And there in parentheses, Facebook’s assessment of your political leanings.

Here is an example of mine:

Facebook Political Tag
Image via Facebook

As you can see from the image above, mine was just “Liberal.” Considering there is a category called “Extremely Liberal,” I think I could have done better!

According to a piece on Facebook’s political data mining feature, the New York Times wrote:

“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.

“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.”

So if the outcome isn’t what you hoped, don’t worry too much about it. Just make sure you keep liking Liberal America and eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and you should be just fine!

Here’s a news story about people complaining that political discussions are swamping their Facebook feeds, and in some cases ending their friendships:

R.L. Paine is a writer, activist, and science lover. We all need to find a bit more Hitch in ourselves. “Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself...Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence...” - Christopher Hitchens