NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - It is common knowledge when you sign up for sites like Facebook you're basically giving the tech giant unfettered access to find out what you like to eat, where you like to go, and now -- even if you don't specifically declare it -- how you might vote.
We've all heard about media bias, but this election cycle, Facebook has been facing accusations of social media bias. Months after the site was accused of burying conservative news, the service is surprising some users by being able to deduce their political leanings.
So how does it know?
Tom's Guide staff writer Henry Casey says that Facebook tracks your activities and collects big buckets of data. And from that bucket, the company is able to predict lots of things, including who you might support in an upcoming election. For example if you visit a lot of links from your liberal friends -- or like a lot of pages that are also liked by liberals -- Facebook will classify you as a liberal.
To see how the company categorizes you, go to facebook.com/ads/preferences. Under the "Lifestyle and Culture" tab you'll see a box titled "U.S. Politics." In parentheses you'll find your political prognosis. With about 204 million users in the United States, that can be very lucrative information.
It's all part of the new ad preferences the company rolled out earlier this month, allowing users to better understand how Facebook positions advertisements to them and give them the ability to customize certain settings in order to get more relevant ads
If this isn't something you want Facebook to have or know, you can always self-identify your political views on your profile or you can remove "U.S. Politics" as an interest altogether.
This is all just another reminder that everything you do online can be tracked and used in ways you may never have thought of.