What Your Facebook Ads Tell You About What They Actually Know About You

What Your Facebook Ads Tell You About What They Actually Know About You

Have you ever wondered why Facebook ads seem to always know what you've been doing?

The fact that Facebook always seems to know what ads to show me has creeped me out for a little while now. Today, my interest was peaked further when a classmate told me that Facebook can listen to you. I've decided that I need to find some answers for myself and you all about what Facebook is actually using to help advertisers learn about (stalk) us.

The first thing I discovered, which I suppose should have been obvious, is that Facebook isn't just Facebook. Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. According to their website, they use your interests indicated on these sites to tailor ads to you. This wasn't so creepy. I assumed that what I put on my profile or liked on Facebook would be used for this purpose.

Things start getting a little more interesting when looking into what is called a Facebook pixel. Essentially, advertisers can add pixels to their web pages' codes that help track consumer behavior and engagement online. It then matches interests with ads to show on Facebook. If you've downloaded an app, made a purchase, or even just viewed the webpage, they know. Facebook allows the advertiser to tailor who gets more attention for some products based on things like age and location (yeah, they track you through your GPS or IP address).

What sort of things does Facebook take from your clicks and uploads to build a profile of you for advertisers? I'll use my own Facebook as an example. Facebook indicates that it uses my relationship status, knows what kind of phone and computer I use (and their operating systems), keeps track of what apps I install on my phone, and found out I live in a "housemate-based household." If you click on an ad or page that has a similar audience to another company's, you may start seeing more ads from that second similar company as well.

As for the rumors about Facebook listening to us, it does seem to be false. Facebook released a statement on their blog stating that the app can access the microphone, but it does not listen to your conversations to target advertising. Instead, the microphone aspect is necessary for certain features like audio in Messenger.

To be fair, Facebook is transparent about these issues on the site. If you go to your settings, you can find all sorts of information about what Facebook is taking from your internet usage. You can also adjust various ad settings. For example, you can hide ads on a particular topic, such as alcohol. You may remove certain companies that Facebook has determined interest you. Even for fun, you should go on to see what it "thinks" of you. I enjoyed learning that 60 percent of my hobbies section included puppies (French bulldog specifically) and kittens. They are nothing if not thorough, because it also knows I have car insurance with State Farm, eat my heart out at Chipotle, and engage in a little retail therapy at Nordstrom.

Cover Image Credit: Larissa Hamblin

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.

We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.

2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^

8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.

14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.


17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.

18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”

23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

Cover Image Credit: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8289/7759302068_fac2dfd31d_b.jpg

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VHS Players May Be Gone, But They Still Exist In Our Memories

Although it wasn't the high definition and quality that I am used to, my face lit up when I felt the same feelings that I did as a 5-year-old when watching "The Spirit of Mickey."


What were the VHS players again?

VHS players were the old video systems that played video cassettes to watch in the comforts of our home back in times before the Blu-Ray DVD players and Apple HD TVs dominated. Now the VHS players, as well as videocassettes, are no longer available in stores.

I almost forgot that we had these and I bet everyone else did too, especially we are living in the times of advanced technology.

The Disney video cassettes that I have stored away, helped remind me about the VHS players. As a kid, having a VHS player was a luxury in order to view all the Disney movies that we all know and love. I remembered that my childhood was awesome because of the VHS player and Disney video cassettes.

The other day, my twin sister and I wanted to test out the VHS player, to see if it could still function after all these years. My twin sister and I used one of our favorite classic Disney VHS video cassettes, "The Spirit of Mickey." This Disney VHS videocassette contains many Mickey Mouse cartoons from a long time ago, black and white, and in color, that also includes characters such as Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy, and Minnie. Then, when we placed our video cassette into the ancient VHS player and pressed play. We gasped in astonishment that after all these years, it could still run so smoothly.

Moreover, it was very nostalgic when we saw the old blue Disney intro screen with the same magical moving curve on top of the logo and the high pitch background sound to complete it. Although it wasn't the high definition and quality that I am used to, my face lit up when I felt the same feelings that I did as a 5-year-old when watching "The Spirit of Mickey."

After I finished watching it, my brain was going down memory lane. At the same time, I was feeling a little sad that the stores nowadays do not sell these anymore. I recalled going to electronic and entertainments stores that they only sell original DVDs and Blu-Ray DVDs now. No video cassette in sight or on the shelves. I remembered that the VHS players had the unique recording feature to put shows onto the blank video cassettes. Back then, my aunt usually helped me and my sisters catch up on shows that I would miss such as "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," "Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue," "House of Mouse," "Disney's One Saturday Morning" shows, "Mickey Mouse Works," and "Mickey's Christmas Carol." Wow, those were the days with great cartoons to look forward to on these video cassettes from the VHS players.

The newer generations will have no idea what VHS players are and they won't even know that they exist. From then on, I decided to cherish the VHS player that I have and keep the VHS video cassettes. Even though the VHS players are out of our lives now, they will always remain a big part of my history and life that I will not forget.

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