Resisting Facebook, the sequel

Last year I “cleaned up” my Facebook settings. I installed a privacy plugin, and unfollowed a lot of brands, and said no to being tracked for advertising purposes. I also told myself I was going to post more fun things and less angry-making stuff about politics or whatever.

It did make Facebook slightly more interesting to read, although 80% of my posts are still angry things about politics.

The big change though is that the ads I see are much more relevant to me now. Instead of generic middle-aged lady things like layered dresses and weight-loss sorry, wellness programs, I now get ads for eco-friendly products and inclusive clothing brands.

I’ve gotten so used to this that I forgot it had even happened until I was joking around on Twitter with some other women about getting generic ads for adult women, full of stereotypes. But the ads I see now are actually much more relevant to my interests than when they were trying to mine all my data to find out what ads I would like. All they’ve got to go on are my posts and what things I comment on or react to, and apparently that’s what they should have been doing all along.

So far this year I’ve actually bought two products from Facebook ads: some bathers (swimmers? not sure what other regional words there are for these) from a size-inclusive and eco-friendly brand, and a bamboo flat-pack coffee table.

I don’t know if Jenny Odell would approve, but I’m pretty sure Tim Hwang would take this as another data point that programmatic advertising isn’t as good as category advertising.