I was kind of a late starter to the whole Facebook thing, and now that I’m on there and found most everybody I know, people are fleeing in droves. Many of the reasons they’ve given were perfectly reasonable, privacy issues and such, but one has just never seemed to match up with reality for me.
If Facebook has spent the year or so I’ve been on it gathering some sort of database on my interests to customise the ads that show up, something has been going horribly, horribly wrong. Why else would I be getting this ad for what I can only assume is a referee job for some Italian sport that has recently come into fashion:
And when the ads aren’t completely baffling, they advocate a position so far removed from my personal beliefs that it’s staggering:
Seriously, it’s like I’ve got a personal Tea Party protest marching up and down the right margin of my Facebook front page.
I mean, Facebook can offer adspace to anyone they want. I’m not arguing that. But if the ads that show up on my front page are generated based on the interests they have logged for me, I can only infer they’re deliberately chosen to upset me and piss me off. That just seems, well, counterproductive.
I’ll be 33 next month; a postage-stamp sized ad in the corner of a social networking site is hardly going to inspire me to reverse my political stance. Have they just given up on ever getting click-through revenue from me and want to be bitchy about it now?
Then a week ago I get the ad that nearly makes me delete my Facebook profile right then and there:
Then I shake off my knee-jerk indignant response that I was already a teenager by the time Paxil was invented, much less possibly prescribed to anyone in my family, but frankly I resent what you are implying there Facebook. I shake off the idea that Facebook could somehow have access to my medical records or even my Myspace blog (where I’ve mentioned my experience with Paxil), because that is the kind of thoughts a crazy person has.
Frankly, even as a randomly generated ad, it’s creepy enough.
Then it hits me. Paxil was invented in 1992. That would make the kids of some of the first prescribed patients 18 now. A bunch of 18 year olds with emotions running rampant. Probably away from family for the first time in college and confused about life. And there, in the corner of their social networking site, is an ad suggesting that all that confusion could be blamed squarely on a parent.
Damn, Facebook. You shady.