I do. I really like cheese.
But it’s a little weird that when I post a status about cheese, Facebook immediately shows me an advertisement for Roquefort.
Sometimes it’s scary to realize just how much the Internet knows about you. And there are definitely very real dangers resulting from revealing too much personal information online. But sometimes, it’s also funny to see what the Internet thinks it knows about you.
When that little ad for cheese popped up today on my Facebook site, I decided to do a little experiment really quickly, just to see what would happen. If you are unfamiliar with the layout of Facebook, the desktop site has a sidebar on the right with ads on it. Sometimes these ads are for products or companies that Facebook figures you will like, and these ads link you to a website outside of Facebook. Other times these ads are recommendations for other Facebook pages, not necessarily companies or products, that Facebook encourages you to “Like” based on your related statuses, other interests or your friends’ interests…or, in my case, your fake statuses.
So, my first status today was about cheese, and in my sidebar popped up one ad for cheese, one ad for organic food and one for ice cream. Makes sense. Not that weird. Next, I posted “I really love philately” (stamp collecting – and that one was a lie). The ads on the sidebar encouraged me to “Like” the Facebook page for “Photography” – not any particular company or product, but just the activity in general, because apparently none of my friends “Like” Philately (I’ve no idea why). But still, the ads kind of make sense. My next status: “I love playing the kazoo.” The Facebook pages for Music and The Beatles popped up in the sidebar. That’s pushing it a little. I wouldn’t considering the kazoo a musical instrument, considering how tortuous Kazoo Day at the local library always is. But whatever. The worst was yet to come. My final post: “I hope someday to be an evil dictator” (totally not true – by this point, I decided to needed to go further and see what Facebook would do). And what popped up in the sidebar? Links to the Facebook pages for…wait for it…Facebook and Youtube. World domination and pure evil indeed.