Facebook thinks I’m an overweight Liberal

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Facebook thinks I'm an overweight Liberal

Listen to the post

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"Could it be the kebabs or my predilection for pin-stripes?"

One of the greatest things about social media is that it allows advertisers to target their messages to certain demographics and consumers with identifiable buying habits.

Initially, this sounds insidious. However, targeted advertising is largely a boon for both sides of the sales equation.

Advertisers don’t need to waste time and money reaching the wrong audiences. Consumers are less likely to be bombarded with advertising messages with little on no relevance to their personal tastes and habits.

In fact, much has been written on the topic already, perhaps never more famously that Jeffrey Zaslow’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Oh no! My Tivo thinks I’m gay” from  December 2002. So, I won’t bother attempting to address the pros and cons here.

What I will say is that I was slightly dismayed to discover today that Facebook thinks I need Weightwatchers and might want to ‘friend’ Matthew Guy MLC, Victoria’s Shadow Minister for Planning.

Now, I’ve never been one to speak publicly about my political views, other than to support or voice my concern regarding political decisions. To put it lightly, there are aspects of both sides of politics I would gladly change if given a magic wand.

But, of greater concern, how did the algorithms responsible for the placement of Weightwatchers banner advertising decide to single me out? Have I been posting too many updates about my love for Skittles? Or was it the photo from 3am, with kebab in hand, that took me less than 2.7 nanoseconds to ‘remove name tag’?

Am I being paranoid? Should I be concerned that Facebook thinks I’m a overweight Liberal? I doubt it. But it would be interesting to hear of any other examples and causes of aggregater anxiety.

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1 comments
RickMeasham
RickMeasham

More likely, WeightWatchers have good data on the sort of people that tend to join their club. [The following is totally fabricated] 62 Year Olds never join. 52 Year Old Builders stay members for 4 years 42 Year Old School Teachers stay members for 8 years and buy every gimmik we sell 32 Year Old Accountants join when it's free and stay members for 4 years. 22 Year Old Students rarely join 18 Year Old Unemployed people join when it's free and leave shortly after So, given all that, it's better to spend the $$$ on Facebook users in their early 40s in the education sector. And that data IS in Facebook. For the benefit of advertising to overweight 42 year old school teachers, it's worth showing your advertisement to the thin ones. On the other hand, if the viewer is an 18 year old, it's not worth advertising. The benefit isn't there. If Facebook DID keep weight data, then it would be possible to target even better. As for the politician: they'll pretend to be friends with everyone, ask for a cup of sugar and then make you pay gift tax.