1. Social Media

Do You Find Facebook's New Ads Creepy? – UPDATE x2

UPDATE: It turns out the post below was blocked because of the copyright infringement with using the cover that I ripped from Amazon (mea culpa). Check back here for the post with the new ad, which Facebook is running.

UPDATE 2: I retract my mea culpa. Facebook censored my latest ads too, albeit only after it got quite a few clicks and impressions. More to come…

What do you think of the targeting with Facebook’s new ad offerings?

I’m trying an experiment and marketing this specific post to fans of the novel 1984. If you’re coming to this page from Facebook, leave a comment to let me know if this targeting creeps you out at all. You can of course choose to remain anonymous.

Here’s the text of the ad, followed by the image:
Subject: 1984 Fan, is this Creepy?
Body: does this ad disturb you? i want to hear from you on my blog. i targeted you because you like 1984, and marketers can go even further.


UPDATE: This ad never ran. I received the message below before it got a single impression:

This ad has been disabled and should not be run again on the
site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an ad if it
violates our Terms of Service or Advertising Guidelines. Unfortunately
we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been
deemed abusive. Please review our Terms and Guidelines if you have
further questions.

So much for Facebook welcoming constructive feedback. I’m still eager to get your opinions on this. The screenshot of the error message is below (click to expand it). Note that – I wish I was making this up – the original text of the ad was blocked while I edited for using too many capital letters. There were three capital letters in that version of the copy.


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Comments to: Do You Find Facebook's New Ads Creepy? – UPDATE x2
  • Avatar
    November 8, 2007

    Hi David,
    I’m waiting for your second “Wag the Dog” ad.

  • Avatar
    November 8, 2007

    This is exactly why there is so much room for others to fill the void. FaceBook is a stepping stone. I’d be surprised if they don’t do themselves in. Too many liberties with people’s info won’t go unnoticed. What are they trying to hide?

  • Avatar
    November 10, 2007

    I have to say that it is a bit creepy, but, in my opinion, creepy in a good way. After all, anyone who would be offended, or any other such emotion, would only be in denial about the similarities between our current existence and that imagined by Orwell in 1984. Similarities, which of course, are only confirmed by the censorships imposed upon the ad itself.

  • Avatar
    November 10, 2007

    Your ad has in fact run on facebook. (screenshot: http://aycu11.webshots.com/image/32890/2002020083408718135_rs.jpg )
    I don’t find data-mining such as this to be particularly Orwellian, though the term has taken on an overbroad meaning due to misuse. The only advertisements (save this one) that I’ve ever even glanced at on facebook have been flyers for events in my network. As facebook already has this information on what I like, and it doesn’t appear that individualized information is being shared directly with advertisers, I don’t think it’s really a privacy concern. I don’t think, however, it will work very well, since all of the previous (non-flyer) facebook ads have been so irrelevant, and also based on the way that so many users decide to “creatively” format their profile information. This is an issue for facebook, though, not me.
    What bothers me, though, are the new “Social Ads.” While it appears to be some sort of opt-in program, as one must rate the products, the idea of using individual’s profile pictures for advertising purposes rubs me the wrong way. Certainly is fair to use the pictures in the news feed to identify someone who wrote on someone else’s wall, etc. However, if facebook or one of its “partners” uses my image (which either I or a frend took, and to which I or that friend hold the copyright) for a commercial purpose, I deserve (both ethically and legally) some reimbursement.


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