Users Vote No On Targeted Political Facebook Ads

By Justin Lafferty 

Not a fan of politically charged sponsored stories? You’re not alone. New statistics from the Annenberg School for Communications show that an overwhelming majority of people polled (85 percent) said they would feel “angry” if they found out that Facebook was targeting political ads at them, based on their profile information.

Other findings of note:

  • 70 percent of adult Americans polled say their likelihood of voting for a candidate they support would decrease if they learn that a candidate’s campaign organization uses Facebook to send ads to the friends of a person who likes the candidate’s Facebook page.
  • 66 percent of Americans do not want to see political ads tailored to their interests.
  • 64 percent of Americans say their likelihood of voting for a candidate they support would decrease if they learn that a candidate’s campaign organization buys information about their online activities and their neighbor’s online activities and then sends them different political messages it thinks will appeal to them.
  • 91 percent of Americans say no when asked if it’s OK for a political candidate’s website to sell information they provide to the site. 63 percent of them say no even when told that the site’s privacy policy would inform them it was selling the information.

The study also showed how campaigns are using Facebook to get to know voters. In the 2008 election, campaigns tracked Web behavior to find people who would be sympathetic to their targeted ads. Now that Facebook has boomed in popularity, it’s a valuable part of a political campaign.

For instance, Facebook introduced ZIP code-based advertising, so political committees can target people in specific areas. From geographically based advertising, they can get a better sense of the demographics of people living in a certain area — key points such as sexual orientation, employment, education, ethnicity, and age. Campaigns also utilize sponsored stories, pointing out which friends like a politician’s page.

Readers: What is your reaction when you see politically based sponsored stories?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.