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The great Facebook marriage experiment, Part 3 - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 21st, 2014

08:58 am - The great Facebook marriage experiment, Part 3

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Yesterday Facebook started showing me ads to get my jewellery valued. I can kind of understand this. As a dead grandmother, it's important for me to know the value of my estate when deciding whether or not to leave it to my granddaughter.

However, I realised that I was tired of being dead, and old. So I thought I'd shake things up a bit. First, I grandchild-divorced tieke, who hadn't brought me any of her drawings or asked me for advice about boys in ages. Then I moved from Scott Base, Antarctica to Black Dog, England. Then I became a man, and then I got engaged.

To start off with, I didn't name any names for my fiance, because last time I did that, concerned emails started arriving from people's mothers. But it didn't take long for a volunteer to emerge. So now I'm engaged to plantgirl. The wedding's tomorrow, and she's been busily making preparations. As the man, I have naturally been hanging back being a lazy arse motherfucker as society dictates I should, and letting her get on with it. I did like the suggestion of pink chainmail for the flower girls though...

So anyway, since becoming a man, my ads have changed. One of the first I was shown was a picture of a skinny man hugging a fat woman, with the caption "You wouldn't believe what she looks like now!" and a link to a stomach stapling surgery. To which I was somewhat agog. I wasn't shown that as a woman, but now I'm engaged I'm being shown stomach stapling ads for my fiance??? Eek. Another man on my list confirmed that he also sees this ad. I am not sure who else sees it, but I didn't see it as a single woman, a woman married to another woman, or as a dead grandmother.

Now, Facebook is showing me ads for smartphones, television, and travel. And still the jewellery valuing one. I can only assume that I'm supposed to know the value of the rock I just bought for plantgirl, in case she gives it back in a fit of pique at my insistence on staying in England after the wedding.

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure the Facebook ad selection algorithm takes into account your IP, because despite having shifted hemispheres twice, it's still showing me ads for shows in Auckland, and for thermal underwear. I think maybe it's decided I'm a tourist in NZ because I'm logging in from here. And the second I said that, my ads changed. Now I'm looking at sunglasses and trips to Norfolk Island. Yep, definitely a tourist.

Since plantgirl may very well explode with excitement if we muck around, I figured a whirlwind wedding would be a good idea. I suspect the honeymoon will be over fairly quickly, but you never know - it might be a match made in heaven. She tells me she's very excited about how Facebook is advertising children's stuff to her now, because she never thought we'd have kids so soon. Clearly she hasn't got to the Mummy Tummy yet. That'll be after the wedding then.

And how does Dr Wheel feel about all this? Well, he was philosophical about missing out yet again due to his absence in foreign climes, but I was pleased to see plantgirl extending an olive branch to him by inviting him to our wedding. His response:

"I'll join, but I'll be the bitter ex that gets too drunk and makes a scene at the reception. I'll make a speech that's more embarrassing for me than for anyone else, and then try and sleep with the bridesmaids."

Reasons to love Dr Wheel #594.

Comments:

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From:m_danson
Date:August 20th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
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I'll donate the wedding cake.

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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
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CAN'T TELL IF BOOBS OR BOMBS
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From:m_danson
Date:August 20th, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Apparently I do not have a sufficiently dirty mind. I made these innocently thinking they were BOMBS (because world domination) then absolutely every single person who saw them including the pets screamed BOOBS.

So … they are Schrödinger's BOMBS/BOOBS.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 09:29 pm (UTC)
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PETA is very thankful to you for finally alleviating the inherent cruelty of Schrödinger, and will be starting a gratitude campaign featuring pictures of you wearing a crown and eating asparagus shortly.
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From:m_danson
Date:August 20th, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
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ROTFLMAO
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From:plantgirl
Date:August 22nd, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
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What she said.
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From:kehleyr
Date:August 20th, 2014 10:41 pm (UTC)
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lol
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
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My fiance is quite over the top. She's adorable! ;-)
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From:kehleyr
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
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I hope I find someone like that myself :-D.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure she'd marry you too if you asked, but Facebook probably won't let you.
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From:kehleyr
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
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LOL, those bastards ;-D
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From:plantgirl
Date:August 22nd, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
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Now I'm tempted to start posting on facebook about how you want to share me with other people, just to see what happens.

Fwiw, in choosing ad interests, I deliberately checked "weight loss" as an option. As a result I am getting ads for plus-size women's clothing. I'm still certain it's for the sheep, and that's really not fair to give them complexes. Don't they have enough issues coping with having all their wool shorn off each year?

Edited at 2014-08-22 03:23 am (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 22nd, 2014 09:24 am (UTC)
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I haven't chosen any ad interests, I more or less skipped that part when I signed up, so I probably get shown more generic stuff. But after 24 hours of being engaged, the ads I'm getting now are definitely seeming to be targeted to a particular demographic of men. I reckon we should give it till Sunday night here before we get married, then see if anything changes after.
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From:fbhjr
Date:August 20th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
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It is strange. I'm a 50 year old male married to a female and I get adds for solar energy and glasses.
I live in an apartment. I'm not buying solar for someone else's property.
Don't know why that got picked...
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
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I bet solar panels don't get offered to teenagers.

I think there assumptions that are made based on age range, marital status, and gender, that can be refined by looking at relationships with others. They are probably quite stereotypical, and part of what I'm doing with this experiment is trying to see what sorts of stereotypes the targeted advertising supports.
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From:t_c_da
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
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I suspect there may be a learning period where the algorithm has to unlearn it's previous ideas about you as it learns the new ideas. This will change what ads you see over time.

I've been fairly assiduous in telling FB what I don't want to see wherever/whenever ads pop up, as well as running NoScript to block most of the ad servers and Social Fixer to keep FB from reverting to "favourites" mode all the time.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
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From what I understand, that's what most people do. I don't, because I'm interested in how it works and what it does, and ultimately how much I can game it.
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From:fbhjr
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
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I understand the experiment and am quite interested in it.
I'm giving you what I see in case you need additional control info.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 20th, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Does FB know you live in an apartment? I guess if the triangulation of various social media including phones is as sophisticated as people say it is, it could possibly glean your address and discover that it's an apartment building, but I'm not sure targeted advertising would go that deep.

Interesting...
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From:fbhjr
Date:August 21st, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
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i won't even put my town in it, so I doubt it knows it is an apartment. But, it is a big apartment complex, so any kind of location service should see that's where I live.
All of my mobile device things that can find their location on the map certainly know it.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:August 21st, 2014 12:32 am (UTC)
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damnit...I've always shied away from wedding stuff but now you have awakened the desire for pink chainmail flowergirls...

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From:tatjna
Date:August 21st, 2014 12:33 am (UTC)
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We have also developed a UV setting in which I can have my fluoro pink dyed sheep and she can have her flowers with usually-invisible insect trails...
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From:kotturinn
Date:August 21st, 2014 10:51 am (UTC)
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ROFL!
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From:meathiel
Date:August 21st, 2014 05:30 am (UTC)
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The experiment gets more interesting ... Just a pity all this happens while I'm asleep and I don't usually see it!
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From:plantgirl
Date:August 22nd, 2014 03:25 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure we should get married so soon. We haven't picked a location yet, and it took Facebook 40 hours to figure out I was engaged. My most recent posts have confused it yet again, since I haven't been talking about the wedding.

But what *do* you think of Iceland for our wedding?
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From:tatjna
Date:August 22nd, 2014 03:26 am (UTC)
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Spectacular. We should go volcano-surfing.
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From:plantgirl
Date:August 22nd, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
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Oh, that would be wonderful!
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From:damnitnicole
Date:August 23rd, 2014 05:53 am (UTC)
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I am so entertained by your algorithm experiments. And yes, in addition to your listed details, FB takes into account your IP and MAC addresses, and also your friends (politely called your "social graph"). You can say whatever you want, but FACEBOOK KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE.

No, seriously, when I have friends in from out of town, if we all have location services turned on on our phones, FB knows we're near each other even if we post nothing about it and fills our feeds with more of each others' posts than usual for the next month.
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From:pundigrion
Date:August 28th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
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Facebook algorithms be crazy, yo! Also even creepier now...
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