Pew: 74% of Facebook Users Have No Idea How Its Ads Work

Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch:

Pew found three-quarters (74%) of Facebook users did not know the social networking behemoth maintains a list of their interests and traits to target them with ads, only discovering this when researchers directed them to view their Facebook ad preferences page.

A majority (51%) of Facebook users also told Pew they were uncomfortable with Facebook compiling the information.

While more than a quarter (27%) said the ad preference listing Facebook had generated did not very or at all accurately represent them.

This is one reason why I think a legislative approach is critical to protecting user privacy. Users don’t know how these things work because Facebook buries the truth and its handful of privacy controls in abstruse language beneath layers of menus and controls. They have reached the size where there simply isn’t any incentive for them to be more transparent, and existing regulatory agencies are either unwilling or unable to take action.