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If you know adverts are trying to hook you, why do you still bite?

(EDITORIAL) Targeted ads are not the actual problem here – privacy is. By berating those ads online, you’re giving them free publicity.

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Freezing Eggs: A Response

After being shown an ad suggesting that she might consider freezing her eggs, an Instagram user penned a furious inquiry about why she was being shown the ad in question.

Well, probably because you’re using Instagram.

Personalized Ads Aren’t Personal

It’s pretty easy to see how one could take targeted ads personally, since they’re customized to appear to you based on innumerable data points that are gathered by your (not so) private browsing. We’ve come a long way from the days of one standard commercial running on television and appearing on a couple of billboards.

Advertisers have nearly perfected the art of hitting us right where it hurts.

That’s what makes it so much less offensive to me, though: the effort that goes into creating these ads about which I personally couldn’t give less of a damn makes it almost enjoyable to consider the ridiculous amounts of money that advertisers are pouring into campaigns designed to get me to click on their product.

Ads are inherently intrusive—the fact that they’re purportedly targeting you doesn’t make you special.

Put another way: Why would you take personal offense at something that you know is desperately trying to manipulate you into spending money on something you don’t need? Isn’t advertising kind of a sad, pathetic realm?

Necessary Evil

The “If you don’t like it here, then leave” argument has always felt profoundly contrived to me, yet I regrettably find this statement appropriate to reference in a roundabout way here. One of the reasons Instagram, Facebook, your favorite sites to visit using the Incognito tab, and literally most everything else Internet are free is because of stupid-ass ads like this.

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Like anything else on social media, you’re bound to come across some BS that you don’t like.

However, if you can’t handle the occasional ad that makes you think about something about which you don’t feel comfortable thinking, perhaps things like Facebook and going outside shouldn’t be in your repertoire.

Creating a Problem

In closing, all that this person’s complaint has done is raise more awareness about the ad about which they were offended. If you have an argument that’s going to progress the fight against advertisers using private information against you—e.g., the real problem here—by all means bring it on.

Otherwise, just keep scrolling.


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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.



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