After receiving the nth iteration of this Facebook ad, I am official disgusted with the state of online targeted advertising. We are officially living in a scene from Minority Report.
I realize that this sort of targeted advertising is not new and that it’s far from accurately pinpointing my interests as a consumer (and they might be scanning my Facebook profile, but I don’t think they’re scanning my eyeballs…or are they…) But someone without my lack of self control in the face of chocolate might see this barage of manipulative ads and start to seriously consider clicking on this damn banner ad.
But what happens when a web service becomes a part of your daily routine, and then implements an advertising campaign that you don’t like? Or any other policy for that matter? I’m not going to stop using Facebook because of this, and they’re not going to stop doing it simply because I send them a well-reasoned complaint email.
The internet used to seem like the great equalizer – instead of three news networks and four major newspapers, we had access to thousands of viewpoints, scores of high-quality blogs, and the decision-making power to determine which ones were quality enough to earn our loyalty. Now it seems like power is being siphoned back over to the companies – many of which are “tiny startups” that have grown into giant corporate machines.
Maybe it was naive of me when I happily signed up for Facebook, and surely in the future I will not allow a web application to insinuate itself so neatly into my life. I’m now stuck with “diets for the bride on a deadline” for the foreseeable future. Unless I change my relationship status to “In an open relationship” or the hilarious “It’s Complicated.” Who knows what new and exciting ads could find their way into my news feed…