When Targeted Ads Hurt

Rachel Beckman of the Washington Post writes about her experiences with Facebook demographic targeting.

After my quaint status update about the muffin top ad, Facebook got even more vicious, like a schoolyard bully provoked by my initial reaction. With the knowledge that I was engaged to be married, the site splashed an ad across the left side of the screen playing into a presumed vulnerability. Do you want to be a fat bride? You’d better go to such-and-such Web site to learn how to lose weight before the big day.

. . .

I assumed that the diet ads would subside after I changed my relationship status from “engaged” to “married” in May. They did. I now receive these:

“Trying to get pregnant? Visit our site now. We’re a national network of fertility specialists treating male and female infertility.”

Ouch. I am reminded of the time Facebook tried to hook me up with an alternate wife.

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One response to “When Targeted Ads Hurt”

  1. Robyn Tippins Avatar
    Robyn Tippins

    I actually get diet ads all the time on Facebook, and I rarely talk about dieting or losing weight. Not sure if it’s because I’m listed as married, mom or just my age/sex, but that’s about all I get (and the recruiting ads from Facebook, Microsoft and Digg that are likely coming because of my company listing).

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