Facebook has ads. That’s their big revenue source, and that’s fine with me. I was in college during the “dot com bubble.” I entered the workforce a few years after the bubble burst. At a very basic level, I know how these things work. Free services are only “free” so long as somebody is getting paid. On the internet, that’s done via advertising.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the interface. I couldn’t pick out an ad from anything else in my “timeline.” Maybe there weren’t ads for the first few hours of my experience. After all, if I “had no friends,” and my timeline was empty, was I really a person? Could I be targeted with ads? If I got a random smattering of ads, would I be offended, and stop using the service? All serious questions for an ad partner.
Well, I’ve got ads now. Here’s the first set I noticed. Obviously, picking “single” as my status and noting that I was “looking for women” triggered the first ad for a dating app. That seems relevant, although I didn’t join Facebook for that purpose. It’s not that I wouldn’t keep my options open; the odds of anything fruitful coming from a Facebook relationship seem lower than low. It’ll be interesting to see long it takes them to figure out that I’m not interested – or if they’ll be able to figure it out at all.
Next up: Tequila. Good guess given my age and gender. Not good when you consider that it’s at the bottom of my list of favorite liquors. Looking at the rest of my data, I’m a little surprised they even suggested tequila. Maybe a number of my friends liked it at one point or another? Maybe people who showed interested in my schools or employer overwhelmingly liked tequila. Maybe I’m some kind of weird non-tequila-drinking minority among my peers. Either way, I guess if I were to go out and “like” some bourbons, I’m sure that would remove the ad entirely.
After that, two ads for games. The first one looks like a Bejeweled clone. “People like Bejeweled” is a reasonable general statement if you look at my country of origin, and primary language. The second is a racing game. Also good for males of my age range (but not interesting for me since Mario Kart 64 back in the 90’s).
Lastly, an ad for Facebook Marketplace, specifying used cars. Okay. I’ve only been “on Facebook” for a few hours. Maybe there isn’t enough data on me to generate a full set of targeted ads yet. I’ll check back in a week or so, and see what it suggests.