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9:04am on Tuesday, 4th May, 2021:



Some of the ads I see on Facebook are scarily super-specific. I look at the web site for Viz, the comic, then 30 seconds later Facebook presents me with an ad for a subscription to Viz.

Other ads are also super-specific, but incorrectly so. Since before Christmas, I've been receiving ads trying to persuade me to buy a comedy portrait of my pet's head superimposed on a human body. I don't have a pet. The ads have now changed tack and are trying to sell me a comedy portrait with two heads superimposed on it: my pet's and my husband's. I don't have one of those, either. Gawd knows how much money they've wasted on this.

Other ads invite me to watch videos I have watched under a minute earlier. Others invite me to register to vote in elections in the USA. Others try to tell me something in a foreign language. Others press me to follow celebrities unknown to me.

I'm quite happy with these ads, because I'm never tempted to buy anything.

Oh, it's deliberate, by the way: I switched off Facebook's setting for delivering targeted ads to make sure that the one page in four that is an ad is easily skippable. When I do see a targeted ad (like the one for Viz), I know it's used third-party cookies. It's such a rarity that it comes as a surprise, so I'm not tempted to take advantage of whatever opportunity it's offering me.

It'll be interesting to see if I'm delivered an ad for a cat's head on a general's body portrait immediately after posting this on Facebook.

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Copyright © 2021 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).