Tanya O’Carroll, 35, a campaigner on technology and human rights, is suing Meta, the parent company of Facebook, because it will not let her opt out of the user profiling it uses to sell adverts.
O’Carroll was “bombarded” with baby content after becoming a mother in 2017. When she tried to turn such adverts off using Facebook’s settings, it did not work.
After digging further, she discovered that Facebook had tagged her with more than 700 characteristics based on her activity. It inferred what films she watched, where she wanted to go on holiday, her shopping habits, the clothes she liked, her political sensibilities and health, relationship and family matters. Some of the subjects should not have been there or were incorrect.
“Homosexuality was one of them. The name of a UK political party was one of them. Feminism was one of them. These are things that are actually just considered sensitive, protected characteristics, things that could reveal things about you that really an advertiser should not be seeing,” she said.