Orwell + Seth Goodin + Ashton Kutcher=Satan/Zuckerberg?
September 19, 2014 8:30 AM   Subscribe

 
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:34 AM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is funny and all, but couldn't you use this to really seriously harass, say, an ex girlfriend or something? Seems like a nightmare waiting to happen.
posted by selfnoise at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


His roommate is the kind of guy who taught himself to program on paper, and he doesn't use an adblocker?
posted by Nothing at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2014 [30 favorites]


The stalker was in your cache the whole time.
posted by arcticseal at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2014 [16 favorites]


Ha! I've done Facebook ads for extremely small groups before (like members of a club I'm in). Never occurred to me to prank someone though.
posted by miyabo at 8:46 AM on September 19, 2014


His roommate is the kind of guy who taught himself to program on paper, and he doesn't use an adblocker?


I don't get popups on my mead composition book either. It probably has a built in adblocker.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:47 AM on September 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


In this instance, used this way, this is hilarious. The thing is, the author also just essentially outlined a technique for torturing and humiliating people, if used in the wrong hands.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:50 AM on September 19, 2014 [21 favorites]


Most people would think this was creepy, but I loved it … because it was exactly what I would have done. We met for coffee and hit it off immediately.

It's always sad to see somebody who's almost there, right on the cusp of a moment of clarity, but can't make it all the way.
posted by mhoye at 8:51 AM on September 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


I am really glad these guys found each other instead of finding, for example, me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:51 AM on September 19, 2014 [88 favorites]


Orwell + Seth Goodin + Ashton Kutcher=Satan/Zuckerberg

You should be able to reduce that equation, given that Seth Goodin = Satan.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:52 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nah, he's just the Mystery of marketers.
posted by postcommunism at 8:54 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not on Facebook but do Chrome/Firefox extensions like AdBlock not work on that site? I guess it just amazes me that people don't have that extension installed because I rarely see advertisements on the Internet. The first thing I do with a new laptop is install chrome and then install AdBlock.

Funny prank though.
posted by Fizz at 8:57 AM on September 19, 2014


I am so glad I don't know either of these people. I am also very glad that I got to read about their exploits.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:59 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Note that this is explicitly against the terms-of-service, but that is mainly aimed at actual companies, not people harassing. "You represent and warrant that you (or your data provider) have provided appropriate notice to and secured any necessary consent from the data subjects"

Also, the comments say it is from over a year ago, so it's possible Facebook fixed this. They could very easily have a minimum target list size on targeted ads.
posted by smackfu at 9:04 AM on September 19, 2014


I see this now as the Next Big Thing for weddings and baby showers - targeting your F-List with gift ideas from and links to stores you are "registered" at.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 9:05 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


His roommate is the kind of guy who taught himself to program on paper, and he doesn't use an adblocker?

This was actually posted on the marketing subreddit yesterday and the author mentioned that they're both in marketing and don't use AdBlock in order to see what the competition is up to.
posted by aranyx at 9:06 AM on September 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


They could very easily have a minimum target list size on targeted ads.
EDIT: Facebook has since changed their policies and won’t allow you to market to any audience with less than 20 people. If you want to try this yourself, there’s a loophole. Let’s say you want to target one of your guy friends, add his email to a .CSV along with the emails of 19 female friends before uploading it to Facebook. You can then target anyone in that custom audience who is also male (thus eliminating the 19 women and effectively targeting a single person).
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 9:06 AM on September 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


> it's possible Facebook fixed this. They could very easily have a minimum target list size on targeted ads.

From the OP:
EDIT: Facebook has since changed their policies and won’t allow you to market to any audience with less than 20 people. If you want to try this yourself, there’s a loophole. Let’s say you want to target one of your guy friends, add his email to a .CSV along with the emails of 19 female friends before uploading it to Facebook. You can then target anyone in that custom audience who is also male (thus eliminating the 19 women and effectively targeting a single person).
So they "fixed" it.
posted by postcommunism at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2014


they're both in marketing and don't use AdBlock in order to see what the competition is up to.

Whoa, that aspect of marketing never occurred to me. I almost feel bad for them now.

for certain mostly negligible values of almost
posted by poffin boffin at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


The stalker was in your cache the whole time.

The ads are coming from inside the house!
posted by mstokes650 at 9:09 AM on September 19, 2014 [19 favorites]


These guys deserve one another.
posted by Optamystic at 9:10 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Note that this is explicitly against the terms-of-service,

Yeah, I'm sure facebook will jump right on suspending this guy's account, like they're doing to drag queens and others who aren't using their legal names. /sarcasm

This was kind of great, though. The implications are nightmarish, but this particular prank was done well.
posted by rtha at 9:10 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I basically don't believe a word of this. The CEO of a multilevel marketing company has a roommate? It all reads like an ad for the amazing targeting power of Facebook's targeted ad system. The absence of even a mention of AdBlocker in the article (e.g. "I know he doesn't use AdBlocker because reasons") is telling.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:12 AM on September 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


Douchebag Blue
posted by Optamystic at 9:13 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


You're being a Stiffly Stifferson, MetaFilter.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


The only good ending I can imagine for this story is if all the time he was working on his devious prank his girlfriend was cheating on him with his room-mate. The room-mate is all "Well Played" because he is so relieved they weren't discovered. A few weeks on, girl friend leaves him, and she and room-mate move in together. They both disable Facebook and live happily ever after.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2014


The CEO of a multilevel marketing company has a roommate?

He's the CEO of a one-person company with no product. I think it would be normal for a person in this situation to have a roommate.
posted by miyabo at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


I don't believe it either. If the roommate was as clever as described he would have seen through through the prank immediately. I mean, he'd have known all about personalised Facebook ads as a marketing professional so there's no hidden knowledge being activated to put him at a disadvantage.
posted by glasseyes at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2014


Even if this is a hoax and the prankees are us, it's interesting to think that Facebook has a tool which could be so easily and cheaply used to harass target groups in such a way that they don't even realize someone is harassing them.

This is something of a griefer's wet dream.
posted by postcommunism at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2014


Did something similar using Google AdWords against a competitor who dared include our actual company name as one of their paid search terms. Anyone within 10 miles of their plant entering anything even vaguely related to our shared industry was met with our paid ad. Always at the top. They tried to keep up (mistaking it for nationwide) by increasing their bid to place higher but eventually it busted their budget.
posted by hal9k at 9:33 AM on September 19, 2014 [21 favorites]


The CEO of a multilevel marketing company has a roommate?

He's the CEO of a one-person company with no product.


Amway's still around?
posted by hal9k at 9:34 AM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


This would have been a lot funnier if the ads were subtler and built up over time. Dude pretty much blew his wad on the first one -- and had to lie to keep the prank going after the third.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:37 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Beyond harassment this seems like something that would be pretty handy for watering hole malware infection too - if Facebook's analytics will tell you what browser and version your target is using beforehand, you just need to craft a plausible ad they can't resist clicking on.
posted by XMLicious at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't believe it either. If the roommate was as clever as described he would have seen through through the prank immediately. I mean, he'd have known all about personalised Facebook ads as a marketing professional so there's no hidden knowledge being activated to put him at a disadvantage.

I believe the person pulling the prank was the marketing guy; the victim, while clever, was a professional sword swallower.
posted by Diablevert at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


they're both in marketing

Is there some way I can torment them both, then ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


mhoye:"It's always sad to see somebody who's almost there, right on the cusp of a moment of clarity, but can't make it all the way."

Don't you push them. They have to work that out for themselves!
posted by Naberius at 10:12 AM on September 19, 2014


My big takeaway from this is that there are professional sword swallowers who aren't travelling with a carnival. It's impressive to me that any community could support even one!
posted by winna at 10:21 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I believe the person pulling the prank was the marketing guy; the victim, while clever, was a professional sword swallower.

And kids, that is how I met your father.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:26 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]




So about two months later I was experimenting with different ways to use Facebook’s Custom Audience targeting and having quite a bit of success. I was using a list of about 10,000 people and getting some of the highest click-throughs I had seen in a long time.

Well, I believe the part where he said he's a marketer. Not so sure it isn't for Facebook.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:03 AM on September 19, 2014


how can we keep tabs on these guys, to observe their relationship as roommates descend into the inevitable train-wreck that it is destined to become?
posted by rude.boy at 11:16 AM on September 19, 2014


They already made that movie.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2014


the OP seems to be ignoring questions about the timestamp/story discrepancies over on the reddit post from 2 days ago http://www.reddit.com/r/marketing/comments/2glgdd/i_pranked_my_roommate_with_eerily_targeted/
smells like catfish...
posted by headless at 11:46 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Next you're gonna tell me all the stories on /r/tifu and /r/askreddit are made up, too.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:49 AM on September 19, 2014


www.reddit.com/r/TodayIBullshitted/
posted by headless at 12:10 PM on September 19, 2014


My big takeaway from this is that there are professional sword swallowers who aren't travelling with a carnival. It's impressive to me that any community could support even one!

There are some great ones at places like Coney Island.
posted by corb at 12:12 PM on September 19, 2014


the OP seems to be ignoring questions about the timestamp/story discrepancies over on the reddit post from 2 days ago

Where? I was curious what people were asking, so I loaded all the comments. The word timestamp doesn't appear anywhere, and any occurances of the word "time" didn't seem to be asking questions.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:05 PM on September 19, 2014


[One comment deleted. It's not clear to me if linking the roommate's website here is bringing his personal info out in an unwanted way, or if it's driving traffic for a viral stunt, but either way maybe let's hold off on that?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is it really that hard to believe that someone who is both smart and technical doesn't use an ad blocker? If so, I'm officially offended (to the degree that I allow myself to be offended by Metafilter comments, at least).

I don't use an ad blocker, and haven't for years. Yes, "for reasons." The reasons are:
  1. I consider viewing the ads to be the price I pay for using free sites and services. There are sites whose ads I find annoying, and I avoid using those sites rather than blocking their ads.
  2. The ads on most sites aren't particularly annoying.
  3. At least last time I fooled around with ad blockers, they were buggy and bloated, causing some sites to render incorrectly and slowing down the browser.
posted by primethyme at 4:37 PM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hate every single thing about this jerkwad, except...

I, a Jew-ish guy

That's a solid pun.
posted by Monochrome at 7:58 PM on September 19, 2014


CTRL+F for "Gaslight."

Nothing!

For awhile there I felt like facebook and the internet at large were trolling me about heart disease and high blood pressure. 4 SIGNS YOU'RE HAVING A HEART ATTACK RIGHT NOW! While I'm pondering whether I'm experiencing profound workplace stress manifesting in chest pain or a heart attack, every site with ads that I happen to visit is telling me that "experiencing a sensation of dread" is a tell-tale sign. Well sure, I bet a lot of heart attack victims experience dread before it hits them, but so do anxiety-ridden manics. Reader, I ended up in the ER and they were like "anxiety bro." The ads didn't bring it on mind you, I had palpitations literally in the workplace and got a ride there.

I too had a philosophical and technological aversion to Ad-Blockers after giving up on them in prior years, but Chrome AdBlock is pretty good.
posted by aydeejones at 11:36 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is so Media!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:43 AM on September 20, 2014


I do find it weird that the images he posted of the ads don't always match the ads in his screen grabs if his roommate's feed. The last one at any rate, it's not the same wording. So, did he delete the originals after uploading or what?
posted by caution live frogs at 7:28 AM on September 21, 2014


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