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The Great Facebook Marriage Experiment, Part 5: I R RESPNSBLE GRONUP! *not* - Tactical Ninja

Sep. 24th, 2014

10:25 am - The Great Facebook Marriage Experiment, Part 5: I R RESPNSBLE GRONUP! *not*

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I've been a heterosexual woman for just over a week.

It took Facebook about 20 minutes to notice I'd changed gender and start showing me pictures of men. It took them.. oh wait, they never got around to showing me men at all when I was a man-who-likes-men for a week. This suggests that either preferred sexuality is not relevant to the algorithm in the face of gender, and gender-normative stereotypes prevail - or that the advertisers themselves forget to specify that they want to target gay men as well as hetero women with their pictures of Blokes Waiting For You.

The other thing about these blokes that is quite different from the ladies I was shown when I was a hetero guy, is that my new lot of blokes are age-appropriate. I am being shown Over 40 Life Partners, almost exclusively. Now, it's not as though when I was a guy I was pretending to be 25 - I was still 44. But apparently if you're a woman, finding a bloke who's in your age group is so important as to be the only option you get given.

I am struggling to get my head around the reasons for this. Yes yes I know, stereotypes again, the bloke should always be older and aging is a much bigger deal to women... um, what? Why?

However, a few days ago something weird happened. It stopped showing me men. Like, completely. I haven't changed my relationship status, gender or sexuality. I haven't even been all smoochy with Dr Wheel (or anyone else) online. I did make a post about someone I overheard describing Bunnings as 'a man shop' but you'd think that'd give me more ads for man shops, right? Nope.

So what has Facebook decided I'm interested in now?

Money. And dresses. Not necessarily in that order. I think maybe the money thing is because over the election period I've talked a bit about political stuff, and politically-oriented people are assumed to have money? I don't know, but I know I've been offered credit cards, home loans, and 'ethical financial investment'. And dresses. And shoes.

Facebook has decided I'm rich, hasn't it?

Because I'm 44, heterosexual, single, and talk about politics. And possibly they know I have a mortgage because of crawly-spying that they do on visitation to other sites.

The weirdest thing? They show me different ads at home from what I see when at work. At work I get more money-oriented ads, at home I get more dresses and shoes.

I don't have the heart to tell them that both the trees they are barking up are the wrong ones. I do still like men, I'm unlikely to invest through a company that advertises on Facebook, and the shoes and dresses they are showing me are a) hideous and b) cheap, which implies that they are probably made in a place/way that clashes horribly with my supposed desire for ethical investment.

I kind of feel like I should start selectively clicking things to see if I can get my man shops back.

And then become a lesbian. Mwuahahahaa!

Comments:

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:September 23rd, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
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As a man I only get 30+ ads for women. Apparently once your age passes the decade point you can't go backwards.

"the advertisers themselves forget to specify that they want to target gay men as well as hetero women with their pictures of Blokes Waiting For You."

I would imagine that those would be separate groups, since hetero men probably don't want to be advertised to gay men, and gay men probably don't want to be advertised to hetero women, and those dating sites are sometimes customised to specific communities.
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From:call_me_katya
Date:September 23rd, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
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As a single, early-30s-er I get ads for dresses, which makes sense. They're all quite Gothic and/or Rockabilly, which also makes sense. I get ads for holidays, as they've realised I like travel. But every so often an ad will pop up for a discreet abortion clinic, and I genuinely don't know why it's there! I'm the most single single person ever. Not even a distant whiff of a pregnancy scare but it must be my age; they assume "She might need an abortion soon".
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From:tatjna
Date:September 24th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
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I occasionally get relationship counselling ones, which Dr Wheel reckons happens because of my two quick marriages a couple of months ago.
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From:fbhjr
Date:September 24th, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
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I find the results of your experiments very interesting.

Does Facebook do the targeting, or do they just sell space to people and they do it?
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From:tatjna
Date:September 24th, 2014 02:05 am (UTC)
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As I understand it, people advertising on Facebook get to stipulate which demographics they are targeting, but Facebook itself does the analysis to identify individuals in said demographic and who to target to.
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From:adnama_wpg
Date:September 24th, 2014 04:39 am (UTC)
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Interesting experiment!
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From:matrixmann
Date:September 24th, 2014 07:01 am (UTC)
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This tells how rather unspecific their algorhythms are still. But - the better it stays so.
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:September 24th, 2014 08:00 am (UTC)
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I think the work-vs-home ads are different because of where you surf at work and at home. They probably placed cookies that spied where you go with your browser session besides FB.

Would be interesting to see if you can manipulate them to show you what you want by clicking the most likely ones.
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From:meathiel
Date:September 24th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
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This really gets more and more interesting. I'm surprised you get different ads at home than at work, though. I've never noticed this. But then I hardly ever go on FB at work ... only LJ! And I don't get ads here!

Gender norms ... yes ... We were a bit surprised to have a couple doing the Spain trip where she was at least 15 years older than he was - one's just not used to it being that way round. Whyever ...
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From:tatjna
Date:September 25th, 2014 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Hehe true. I'm 12 years older than Dr Wheel and it's not really a thing, except among people who don't realise how mature he is and how immature I am for our respective ages expect it to be the other way round. I cop some flak from my colleagues in a good natured sort of way. ;-)
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From:pundigrion
Date:September 26th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
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Meanwhile on various forums if I browse on something with no adblock all I get are ads for Cougar Life...and these are forums mostly frequented by women with ads clearly targeting men.
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From:ethel_aardvark
Date:October 7th, 2014 09:06 am (UTC)
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While Facebook thought I was a man with kids it gave me banking and life insurance and was all 'providey for your family'. When it thought I was a women with kids it gave me 'lose weight weird trick for reducing your tummy' ads. Now I'm past newborn stage Facebook is all 'you're a middle aged women who must be feeling like a frump. Beauty! Anti-ageing!' Eff off, Facebook.
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