Why I’m not scared of “targeted ads”

October 24, 2010

Targeted ads are a favorite thing for privacy advocates to rail about. After all, it’s using the power of modern technology to observe, anticipate, and ultimately manipulate your behavior. Which is creepy.

Just one problem:they’re not very good at doing any of that. . For example, a few I’ve gotten on Facebook recently:

Scoliosis new enemy”

The grammar on this one is ambiguous. Is scoliosis my new enemy? Or is whatever it’s advertising an enemy of scoliosis? Is scoliosis a supervillain? Because if so, that’s pretty much the worst supervillian name ever


New Leaf Rehabilitation Center


There are a lot of ways you could target ads for rehab centers. You could look for status that were obviously posted while under the influence of some chemical, or you could find all the people who scored high on the “How addicted to Crack are you?” quiz. Or you could just show it to people who have never posted anything related to drugs, EVER, in hopes of…actually, I have no idea why you would do that.

Atheists are idiots

The interesting thing about this one is that it doesn’t seem to be actually SELLING anything. In fact, the link just 404s when you click on it. In other words, the entire function of this ad appears to be to use Facebook’s targeting system to locate atheists and unobtrusively inform them that they are idiots.


Tired of conventional education?

Um, no, actually. I haven’t had “conventional” education since I was in like, 9th grade, which was before I even had a Facebook account.


You have too many questions

This links to a computer program which can apparently answer your Formspring questions for you. The benefits listed include “reduced  stress”, “less email clutter”, and “saves time
Idea:if the volume of unanswered Formspring questions is causing you stress,  cluttering your inbox,, and wasting your time, just delete the Formspring.




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