Carlos Tíscar

1 year ago · 1 min. reading time · ~10 ·

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The Instagram ads Facebook won't show you

The Instagram ads Facebook won't show you

You got this ad because
you're a newlywed pilates
instructor and you're
cartoon crazy.

This ad used your location
to see you're in La Jolla.

You're into parenting blogs
and thinking about LGBTQ
=Yo[oJo]dlo]oR

CI

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Source: signal.org

Originally posted on the blog of Signal.org

Companies like Facebook aren’t building technology for you, they’re building technology for your data. They collect everything they can from FB, Instagram, and WhatsApp in order to sell visibility into people and their lives.

This isn’t exactly a secret, but the full picture is hazy to most – dimly concealed within complex, opaquely-rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past. The way most of the internet works today would be considered intolerable if translated into comprehensible real world analogs, but it endures because it is invisible.

However, Facebook’s own tools have the potential to divulge what is otherwise unseen. It’s already possible to catch fragments of these truths in the ads you’re shown; they are glimmers that reflect the world of a surveilling stranger who knows you. We wanted to use those same tools to directly highlight how most technology works. We wanted to buy some Instagram ads.

You got this ad because
you're a K-pop-loving
chemical engineer.

This ad used your location
to see you're in Berlin.

And you have a new baby.
And just moved. And you're
really feeling those
pregnancy exercises
lately.

 

You got this ad because

you're a teacher, but more

importantly you're a Leo
(and single).

This ad used your location

to see you're in Moscow.

You like to support sketch
comedy, and this ad thinks

you do drag.

7 \
\
\ 4
h.__4

 

You got this ad because
you're a GP with a Master's in
art history. Also divorced.

This ad used your location to
see you're in London.

Your online activity shows
that you've been getting into
boxing, and you're probably
getting there on your
new motorcycle.

Access denied

We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to. The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea.

Qh

© Ad Account Disabled

This ad account, its ads and some of its advertising assets are disabled. You can't use it
to run ads

Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience.

So, here are some examples of the targeted ads that you’ll never see on Instagram. Yours would have been so you.

You got this ad because
you're a newlywed pilates
instructor and you're
cartoon crazy.

This ad used your location
to see you're in La Jolla.

You're into parenting blogs
and thinking about LGBTQ
adoption.

 

7 \
I \
A

 

You got this ad because
you're a certified public
accountant in an open
relationship.

This ad used your location to
see you're in South Atlanta.

You're into natural skin care
and you've supported
Cardi B since day one.

 

You got this ad because
you're a Goth barista and
you're single.

This ad used your location to
see you're in Clinton Hill.

And you're either vegan or
lactose intolerant and you're
really feeling that yoga lately.
Comments

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