Pew: 74% of users don’t know Facebook records their ad preferences

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Facebook has been in the news quite a bit for its ad targeting over the past year, most notably with reports that the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica used improperly obtained data to develop “personality” profiles on U.S. voters and target ads toward them during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But many users are still unaware what information Facebook actually collects for ad targeting purposes.

A new survey out this morning from Pew Research found that 74 percent of Facebook users surveyed did not know there was a “your ad preferences page” where they could see which ad categories Facebook had placed them into, based on interests and information they’ve shared with the service. Pew surveyed 963 U.S. adults with Facebook accounts between September 4 and October 1, 2018.

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It takes just $1000 to track someone’s location with mobile ads

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When you consider the nagging privacy risks of online advertising, you may find comfort in the thought of a vast, abstract company like Pepsi or Nike viewing you as just one data point among millions. What, after all, do you have to hide from Pepsi? And why should that corporate megalith care about your secrets out of countless potential Pepsi drinkers? But an upcoming study has dissipated that delusion. It shows that ad-targeting can not only track you at the personal, individual level but also that it doesn’t take a corporation’s resources to seize upon that surveillance tool—just time, determination, and about a thousand dollars.

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