What does Facebook think you're into?
December 14, 2015 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos brings our attention to Facebook's list of things it thinks you'll enjoy seeing ads about. It would seem that most people find some of Facebook's deductions eerily accurate and some of them hilariously inaccurate.
posted by zeusianfog (163 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Heh. I guess I'm "politics: very liberal". Go figure.

Not sure why it thinks I like babies though.
posted by isthmus at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2015


I had under exercise: "crying."

I'm not at all sure what to think. Noting the dunlop around my midsection, that might be appropriate.
posted by volk at 11:21 PM on December 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


If you're at all familiar with the world of user acquisition marketing, none of this is surprising. "Hmm, I want to target 40-year-old purebred dog owners living in Nebraska who are losing their hair and loved The Wire. No Dachshunds."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:21 PM on December 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


▼ FOOD AND DRINK 2

Moonshine
Spice

Nailed it.
posted by Lorin at 11:24 PM on December 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


I liked something with the word "butcher" in its title, so I like butchers? I don't not like butchers, but I can't say there's an active interest there. I'd have thought FB would have tried to suss out a bit of context, from other categorizations, nearby words, triangulations with other users - I don't know, I thought they were fancy - but it seems like they're just into matching things. (Probably not "just". But a surprising lot!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:25 PM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Frankly given that they had Sumer right there under Lifestyle, I'm a little mad I'm not getting more targeted ads for cuneiform stylus upgrades and Save Ten Sheep Using This One Weird Trick. Pander to me, marketers!
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:31 PM on December 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


If you would like to Experience This For Yourself without clicking through, go to Facebook. In the pulldown menu marked with a triangle at the top-right, choose Settings. Click the Ads heading at the left. Under the section marked "Ads based on my preferences", select Edit. You may then click the View Ad Preferences button to see expandable categories and the haphazard contents therein.

For my part, I must have opted out at some point, as my list is comprised solely of the "Lifestyle and Culture" heading, which contains 25 items. (My wife's account lists dozens of categories, the largest of which was 57 items.)
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:49 PM on December 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Metafilter : 40-year-old purebred dog owners living in Nebraska who are losing their hair and loved The Wire. No Dachshunds


There is a world where I could have resisted that but I refuse to live in it.
posted by fullerine at 11:50 PM on December 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


It pretty much has me to a T.

People:
Mr. T Actor/Director
Tom Waits Musician/Band
Christopher Walken Actor/Director
Dwayne Johnson
Vin Diesel
Flying Spaghetti Monster Public Figure
posted by Literaryhero at 11:53 PM on December 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I had "dental floss" under hobbies, which amused me.
posted by not that girl at 11:56 PM on December 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I actually have an extension called "Facebook Purity" on my computer, which screens out all ads altogether. I highly recommend it. (It also lets you screen out a lot of other gak.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:08 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I liked something with the word "butcher" in its title, so I like butchers

I like a band named Slow Down Molasses, so apparently I like molasses.

Business and industry
Web development (well I guess)
Spotify (sure)
Electric guitar (yep)
Employment (who doesn't?)
Hacker (computer security) (I suppose so...)
Convenience store (um....)
Physics (not really...)
Astrophysics (still no...)
Crystal (what?)
Echo (go home Facebook, you're drunk).
posted by Pink Frost at 12:08 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am pleased that they listed, for one of mine, "Doge (meme)" under "Business and Industry."
posted by sldownard at 12:10 AM on December 15, 2015 [24 favorites]


Hobbies and activities:
Toilet
Toothbrush

It's been following my Metafilter comments!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:23 AM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hobbies & Activities
• Gramophone record (Like with the big metal petunia on top? Do they play mp3s?)

People
• iPhone (I do refer to Siri as a she, but she is not people)

Places
• Billund Denmark Airport (I...haven't left California in at least 20 years)
posted by jamaro at 12:32 AM on December 15, 2015


SPORTS AND OUTDOORS:
  • Sling (weapon)
posted by en forme de poire at 12:36 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't know where it got "Business and Industry: Wehrmacht", but at least facebook nailed my love of "Food and Drink: Taco"
posted by logicpunk at 12:38 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


My Hobbies and Activities section is quite beautiful, in a word-salad kind of way:
  • Zip-line
  • Mammoth
  • Tram
  • Pipette
posted by en forme de poire at 12:39 AM on December 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


The Sean Hannity Show?? Facebook's sarcasm detection needs work.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:41 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had the Hannity Show too! Twinsies!
posted by en forme de poire at 12:42 AM on December 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is kind of awesome because facebook apparently believes me to be a newlywed. Which .... I mean ........ the fact that I got married ten years ago is information I gave to you, facebook. I typed it right into your little profile page.

Apparently the data say something different. And data don't lie, people.
posted by gerstle at 12:42 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay now I really want to know what one clicks on/does to get "Pipette" as a hobby.
posted by gerstle at 12:43 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Weirdly, I also had the Hannity Show despite also having "Politics: Very Liberal."

Also, "Ethnic Affinity: African-American (US)."
posted by zeusianfog at 12:45 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gerstle: I think the boring answer is just that I complain about work too much but there is always the possibility of them leveraging some super weird correlation. Like searching for silicone rings, or something?
posted by en forme de poire at 12:53 AM on December 15, 2015


"Hobbies and Activites: Global Warming"

Not so much a hobby, more a past-time IMHO.
posted by Jimbob at 1:01 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love the idea that Facebook targets ads to me based on "anti-fascism", though.
posted by Jimbob at 1:02 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also had both "very liberal" and the Sean Hannity show. Apparently Facebook doesn't get hatewatching.
posted by snickerdoodle at 1:04 AM on December 15, 2015


I logged in to facebook for the first time in years* just to see what they thought I was up to.

My list was empty.

So I guess I win? Or this was a big waste of time? Or I reminded Facebook that I exist and now they're going to start harassing me again?

I had the option to add advertising interests though, which I briefly contemplated perusing to find really weird stuff, but then just logged the fuck back out.

* Dunno when, but it was before I used a password manager when I did some annoying algorithmic password nonsense, so at least 4 years.
posted by aubilenon at 1:11 AM on December 15, 2015


I had one single entry in hobbies and activities: Lizard Animal. I do not own or operate a lizard.
posted by nom de poop at 1:15 AM on December 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


My only entry in Hobbies and activities: Miracle.
posted by emd3737 at 1:24 AM on December 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


God dammit now I feel dirty. Where's the steel wool?
posted by aubilenon at 1:24 AM on December 15, 2015


Apparently I am interested in: Christian Rock. Crying. Carrot. Yikes, that sounds like a pretty grim evening. Of course they also pegged me as a feminist queermo cyclist with an interest in public health and social policy, so they actually know me pretty well.
posted by embrangled at 1:44 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES:
Visible spectrum

It's true, I do enjoy seeing things.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:54 AM on December 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


Huh. All this time MetaFilter had me worried that Facebook was obtaining tons of data on me and creating an in-depth profile that was either scary because of how much accurate information it had on me, or scary because of how badly it had profiled me.

Instead, I find out that Facebook knows I'm an expat, and I have a smartphone, and I'm married.
I mean, seriously, check this portion of the list out. It makes up like one third of the list:
Instant messaging
facebook for android
Smartphone Owners
Sony
4G (US)
All Android devices
Primary OS Windows 10
Smartphones and tablets
4G Connection
WiFi Connection
Primary Browser: Firefox
All mobile devices
Facebook Messenger
Social network
ios
Whoa scary profile!
posted by Bugbread at 2:03 AM on December 15, 2015


Under "Hobbies and Activities" the first thing on the list is "cats," which is accurate and true.

My other hobbies include blizzard, gramophone record, wave, rotunda, landfill, squirrel, odor, meerkat (animal) raven, mammal, claw, sense, and carnivora.

Businesses I like include Canidae, sympathy, and wax.

Technology - transvestism

I mean, all of this sounds legit to me. The only one that was really off was that the first item under "Shopping and Fashion" was "Babies-R-Us."

Oh Facebook, I thought you knew me but you don't know me at all, do you?
posted by louche mustachio at 2:05 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Under Hobbies and Activities, I've got:

Arboretums.
Belgian train stations.
posted by colfax at 2:06 AM on December 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I also enjoy that my list specifies that "cheese sandwich" is a (food) in case there is any confusion.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:08 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a deeply weird thing. Large chunks are right, but based mostly off of the movies and books and bands and pages that I've liked over the years. It's off in some cases, though: I'm against Monarchy (Business and Industry) and Fascism (Hobbies and Activities) but it shows me as interested in both. I'm a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, but it manages to miss that. Instead I am a fan of "Eagle" under Hobbies and Activities, which also lists "Frog." It lists my far-left political proclivities (Marxism, under Business and Industry) but thinks I am interested in the Sean Hannity Show. It lists a couple of towns in New Jersey, including the one I live in, but not the one I grew up in; it also manages to not list Philadelphia, which is silly.

A lot of them I wonder what ads I'd see from them. For instance, what ads are served to someone in the US for apparently liking the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Lifestyle and Culture) or the Bolivarian Revolution (Lifestyle and Culture)? Who targets an audience like Anarchism (Hobbies and Activities)? All very odd.
posted by graymouser at 2:18 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the idea that Facebook targets ads to me based on "anti-fascism", though.

“This machine kills fascists. Order now!”
posted by acb at 2:22 AM on December 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


Under "Fitness and Wellness"

Skull
Human Skull
Buzz out

And in "News and Entertainment"
Stone
Roses
shaun dead

--
I don't even.
posted by prismatic7 at 2:28 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Suggested advert preferences:

Socialism
Marxism
PC World
Communism


The four great revolutionary ideologies of the 20th century.
posted by acb at 2:29 AM on December 15, 2015 [26 favorites]


I actively avoid liking things on Facebook, so just about the only thing Facebook has on me is my profile interests I listed when I created my profile years ago. I like a band called Magnum, so apparently I'm interested in the ice cream Magnum. I like a band called Arena, so apparently I'm interested in Arena swimwear. I thought it would be much more sophisticated than that. I'm also gratified to see that it doesn't appear to have slurped a lot of information from other websites I visit.
posted by salmacis at 2:30 AM on December 15, 2015


Also:

Fictional film (Fictional film)
posted by prismatic7 at 2:30 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Under hobbies & activities

Learning
People
Reason
Thought
Female body shape
Emotion
Language
Smile
World
Concept
Category of Being

Which is somwhat true. And all could stem from me reading about sex robots.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 2:40 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


graymouser: "A lot of them I wonder what ads I'd see from them. For instance, what ads are served to someone in the US for apparently liking the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Lifestyle and Culture) or the Bolivarian Revolution (Lifestyle and Culture)?"

The answer is probably "nobody serves ads to people in the US based on liking the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Lifestyle and Culture) or the Bolivarian Revolution, but Facebook is not only used in the US. There are probably various companies that serve ads to people in Germany based on liking the SDP of Germany and people in Venezuela based on liking the Bolivaran Revolution".

graymouser: "Who targets an audience like Anarchism (Hobbies and Activities)?"

Hot Topic.
posted by Bugbread at 2:42 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Touché.
posted by graymouser at 2:46 AM on December 15, 2015


Technology: you need a budget

DON'T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE
posted by MillMan at 2:53 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


As for my actual inferred advert preferences, they include:

Bishop (Catholic Church) (Profession)
Raidió Teilifís Éireann (Broadcasting & media production)
Like Button
Gender (under “fitness and wellness”)
Ice pop (food)


and the Eurovision Song Contest for 1972, 1974, 1975 and 2005

My “Hobbies and activities” include “Left-wing politics”, as well as “owl”, “wave”, “werewolf” “Winter (dolphin) (animal)” and “Atmosphere of earth”. (The last one's accurate; I do enjoy breathing.)

For some reason “Lifestyle and culture” has “Republican Party (US)”, “Liberal Party of Australia” and “Catholic Church” in it, along with a bunch of different years of the Eurovision Song Contest. There are also “Away from home town”, Away from family” and “Used travel app (1 week)”, which I suspect are meant to be markers of my situation for ad-targeting purposes. (I wonder what other markers they have; do they have “Broke up with girlfriend” or “Bereaved pet”, for example?)

It seems to interpret band names as any other possible meaning; for example, it put down “Singapore Sling (drink)” because I like the Icelandic psych-rock band, and “Hamilton Tiger-Cats” because of the London band Tigercats. The Australian post-rock band Laura, meanwhile, spawned tags for a luggage label and a 1944 film of the same name. Meanwhile, “technology” has “Mousepad”. I can't remember the last time I owned a mousepad.

Also: why does the “Travel” section include “Riot”?
posted by acb at 2:55 AM on December 15, 2015


FBP, beyond just letting you block ads, also forces Facebook to actually remember certain preferences, most notably the preference to display items in your news feed by "most recent" rather than "top news." (If you don't have FBP, Facebook will on a regular basis change this preference back to "top news" without telling you). I believe there is not just a technical but in fact a very strong moral case for preferring most recent over top news.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:56 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Who targets an audience like Anarchism (Hobbies and Activities)?"

Hot Topic.


“Anarchism” and “Anti-fascism” would, from an ad-targeting point of view, probably fall somewhere between “oppositional teenager” and “smug self-congratulatory Guardian/NPR type”. Basically boost their ego by telling them how radical and independent they are, and feed them conspiracy theories (note: not the same ones you feed to their Republican uncle who rants about Obamacare and chemtrails).
posted by acb at 2:57 AM on December 15, 2015


All very odd.

I sort of think they're maybe trying to throw us off the scent. What they're showing us about our ad preferences is based on insensitive, uncontroversial stuff - at least I'm seeing bits of info mostly about devices and likes, only a few about behaviour. (Because single word instances matter, somehow? Not for individuals, they're just grabbing anything and everything and crunching it six ways to sunday. They've still got our off-site searches, actual social networks/demographics, hovers, I think?) Also I think the less you interact, the more bizarre the portrait generated from likes is going to be.

EDUCATION
Contemporary dance Field of Study
Sociology
(I wish, that's an awesome double major. Or would have been in the shimmering 90s, before the rug got pulled out from under us etc. But for real, why didn't I do this)

HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES
Optical character recognition
Comedy club
Visual perception
Political freedom
Day

in LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
Don (honorific)

PEOPLE
Pema Chödrön Author (should probably get to this book at some point, probably clicked on an interview)
Frederick Wiseman Actor/Director (big yes)
William Shatner Actor/Director (**cannot avoid this man**)
Brian Clough Athlete (ironic like)
Governor General of Canada Government Official (dunno, maybe)

TRAVEL, PLACES AND EVENTS
India (not been, wish to, friends yes, have liked many pics)
Fátima, Portugal (yes)
Time (confusing here, but yes, just in the one direction, annoyingly)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:02 AM on December 15, 2015


colfax: Under Hobbies and Activities, I've got:
Arboretums.
Belgian train stations.


and

Also: acb:why does the “Travel” section include “Riot”?

I sense some great business opportunities in niche holiday planning.
posted by rongorongo at 3:09 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


"All Frequent Travellers" and "Generation X". Ennh. I'll take it.
posted by barnacles at 3:12 AM on December 15, 2015


"Food and drink: Mountain hut" raises more questions than it answers, I feel.
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 3:15 AM on December 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


???

Business and Industry: Umbra, Penumbra, and Antumbra
Food and Drink: Cherry Blossoms
Hobbies and Activities: Chameleon (animal)

I'm guessing it thinks I'm a ... character from a Neil Gaiman graphic novel?
posted by kyrademon at 3:16 AM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, you folks who have tons of different interests listed, do you look at lots of non-user generated content linked to on Facebook? Do you press the Like button on those kinds of content?
I use Facebook a lot, but it apparently knows almost nothing, either correct or incorrect, about me. One thing I notice is that Mefites often talk about reading articles or watching videos linked on Facebook. I occassionally click on linked stuff, but 90% of the stuff I look at is posts by people I personally know, and I suspect I've clicked the Like button on content not generated by friends like...four times, ever?

So I'm wondering if that accounts for the lack of ad preference information, or if it's something else.
posted by Bugbread at 3:17 AM on December 15, 2015


Bookends, pumice stone and West Germany.
posted by Segundus at 3:23 AM on December 15, 2015


So I set up a Facebook account a few months back for the one and only purpose of being invited to Taff's place for dinner. I used a new email address I set up only for the Facebook account, and a username and password I use for nothing else. After a couple of days I even changed my name so that it is not my real name. I have never connected it to any apps, never friended anyone outside the self-contained pool of about six mefites who also hang out with Taff, and I have posted things myself about three times ever. Mostly I just lurk.

Yet the advert settings are eerily accurate. It has Australia, NZ, Indonesia and the Netherlands as places I am interested in. I am from New Zealand, live in Australia, carry out fieldwork in Indonesia, and my best friends are both in the Netherlands, which I visit as often as possible. It has my educational interest as urban planning, which is not my main field of research, but I am on three major projects relating to that field. It also lists a lot of food as interests, which sure, I like food a lot. (I mean, I joined Facebook solely so I could eat Mr Taff's dal more often). But lots of people like food, yes? (And it's not very specific: it lists my food interests as "breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea".)
posted by lollusc at 3:28 AM on December 15, 2015


Oh and like bugabread, I don't click through to content. Or very rarely. I think I clicked on a link Taff posted about Tibet once, and maybe watched a video associated with that. I haven't clicked through to anything else, and have never used the like button inside or outside of Facebook.
posted by lollusc at 3:32 AM on December 15, 2015


Apparently, one of my "Hobbies and Activities" is "Extinction."

...Facebook thinks I have an 'extinction' hobby? And an 'hour' hobby and a 'being' hobby...
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:52 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


My hobbies according to Facebook are:

cats
livestock
rescue squad
mammal
claw
excited state (wtf???)
posted by kitten magic at 4:07 AM on December 15, 2015


The livestock and mammals are clearly the times I try to break up the cat video posts with ones of ducklings, baby chicks and bunnies.

Facebook, let's just call it "cute animals"
posted by kitten magic at 4:09 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and activities:

Hell

(?)
posted by geegollygosh at 4:35 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are moments of accuracy, but it is just so reductive and blunt. One of the main reasons I use facebook at all is to click "like" and make nice comments when people post baby photos (because babies are adorable and saying nice things about them makes new parents happy), which apparently makes me a person who is interested in advertising about babies.

And WTF, Sean Hannity? I'm not even sure I am facebook friends with anyone who likes Hannity.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:49 AM on December 15, 2015


Paula Deen is in my People List, which is accurate, but that's because last year I clicked-to-enlarge a lot of thumbnails of her riding a stick of butter.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:02 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hobbies and Activities:

Emotion
Predation
posted by drunkonthemoon at 5:09 AM on December 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


As long as I can use AdBlockPlus and SocialFixer to keep my Facebook page free of everything except the actual posts, I really don't care what they think I'm interested in.
posted by briank at 5:11 AM on December 15, 2015


I'm a mid-fifties, Caucasian, Jewish woman. Facebook once showed me an ad that consisted of a picture of a young, shirtless black man with a come hither look, lounging sideways on a bed or something, with the caption "Black men between 25-35 years old are looking for strong black women like you!"

While I did appreciate that Facebook recognized me as a strong woman, I couldn't help but feel that the young, shirtless guy was going to be mighty surprised if I emailed him and told him I was getting all verklempt from thinking about rubbing schmaltz all over his chest.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:15 AM on December 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


People:

Bruce Springsteen
Cardinal Richelieu

TOGETHER AT LAST.
posted by Catseye at 5:20 AM on December 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Whoa, the preferences have preferences within them! Adception!

Here are my preferences under "(01-02 Years) Parents with Toddlers":

Atlantic City, New Jersey
Las Vegas
Elbow
Ankle
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Shoulder
Knee
Pumpkin
Nut (fruit)
South Korea
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:23 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was horrified to see FB thinks one of my hobby interests is Conservativism, even though it also lists Bernie Sanders first in my People interests. I guess that is because I occasionally click through on the conservative friend of a friend argument threads that occasionally appear in my news feed?

Also, it has Vehicle Insurance as a hobby. Not only do I not own a car, I have never even had a driver's license. Now I understand why I keep getting car insurance ads.

Why do I feel so insulted that FB got me wrong?
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:24 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


...I'm guessing the specification of Nut (fruit) is to differentiate from Nut (Deez).
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:25 AM on December 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Some definite WTFs. I think my favorite was "Hobbies and Activities: Velociraptor, Atmosphere of Earth"

Somehow Bernie Sanders is not on my people list, though Jill Stein still is from 4 years ago. It thinks I like the Sean Hannity Show despite being described as "very liberal" and "socialist" about six different ways and almost never watching TV.

It also thinks I am interested in baseball, when I have always loathed baseball -- maybe just by default since I live in St. Louis. Or maybe I posted a "this is me not caring about baseball season" meme once.
posted by Foosnark at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think Sean Hannity must be targeted at everyone over 23 in the US regardless of politics - I had him too. And I wouldn't be surprised if Babies R Us is targeted at every woman of childbearing age - it's one my "interests" as well, along with monkeys, ballet, and West Africa, which are explicable, and grim death, which is hopefully not. Also, it has the toast as an interest, but under food and drink.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:34 AM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Business and Industry: Bugaboo (International), Castles, Civil Disobedience, Helicopter Parent (!!!), Morality

I'm in the pocket of Big Civil Disobedience, guys.

My hobbies and activities are literally and in total:
Being
Gregorian Calendar
Hour
Matter
...and a local Japanese restaurant that we take the kids to a lot.
That's very ... existential of me. Sitting around contemplating time and being and matter.

(The Gregorian Calendar one is, I am sure, from when a friend asked another friend why Hannukah and Thanksgiving would never share a date again after whatever year, and after I got very huffy that she asked NOT ME*, I provided an extremely detailed answer on flaws in the Gregorian and Jewish calendars pushed them slightly out of sync and that it would take 80,000 years for them to join back up if both continue uncorrected.)

(*I have a masters in LITURGY, I took ENTIRE CLASSES on religious calendars, how could she possibly think someone else might be able to answer this question better or more accurately? STILL HURT.)

Oh, hey, it thinks I'm newlywed too! Or maybe since I went to a bunch of family weddings this year, it wants to sell me wedding presents?

I cleaned this out maybe six months ago and the thing is, it just showed me ads for ModCloth all the time both before and after the purge. (ModCloth is not on my list of interests, and under fashion it only lists jewelry, furniture, and pantyhose, the last of which I am decidedly NOT interested in.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:34 AM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hobbies and Activities:
  Space
  Bee
  Species

...that is all. I like this new me.
posted by oulipian at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


There wasn't much here that was surprising. I don't click too much click-baity stuff and have my friends list pretty filtered, and there was really only one thing on a list of hundreds that didn't make any sense:

UConn Huskies was listed under business and industry. One time I made a March Madness bracket based on mascot cuteness. Obviously, being a dog, the Huskies did reasonably well (though did not win). I don't remember ever bringing this to facebook but that's the only thing I can think of.


I think my favorite was that under hobbies I have both dental floss and seat. I'm not sure if this means I like sitting a lot or if I like looking at butts. Both are right.
posted by phunniemee at 5:40 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and Activities:
- Duck
- Vibraphone

Uh...

Fitness and Wellness:
- Gender

I... guess...?

People:
- Fu Manchu

??

(Some of the less sparse categories were a bit less hilarious/weird, though I find it funny that it had 'Communism' down for Lifestyle and Culture)
posted by Dysk at 5:46 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh and like bugabread, I don't click through to content. Or very rarely. I think I clicked on a link Taff posted about Tibet once, and maybe watched a video associated with that. I haven't clicked through to anything else, and have never used the like button inside or outside of Facebook.

Outside of facebook, there's probably still web bugs/beacons on independent sites sending parts of your clicktrail back to facebooks' servers so they can build a better profile of you in order to better monetize you. Even if you're logged out of facebook, your browser's configuration and IP addresses are pretty unique ids for web analytics.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:49 AM on December 15, 2015


People:
- David Attenborough
- Chuck Norris

Imagining them tracking wildlife through the jungle will amuse me for the rest of the day.

And yes, Facebook, I am interested in 'Product (business)'. That's what living under capitalism will do for you.
posted by Vortisaur at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of proud that FB has deduced that I floss, though. I'm glad it's not just my dentist that notices.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:52 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Under "Fitness and Wellness", I have just one entry: Hoarding.

This was useful: I was able to remove "Browning Arms Company" from the "Business and Industry" section - I guess that got on there because I know somebody whose last name is Browning.

The Travel section includes "Mullet (fish)". I might as well leave that there and see how many ads for mullets show up.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 5:53 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and activities:
Toilet
Toothbrush

It's been following my Metafilter comments!
posted by Omnomnom


Back in the days of actual film, a bunch of buddies and I went to one of our friend's college graduations. He handed us his cameras and asked us to take some photos for him and he left us in his apartment alone for about an hour before the ceremony. He got the film developed probably a week or two later and called us, panic stricken at the 12 photo montage of us all brushing our teeth with his toothbrush, and then another of our friends pretending to scrub the toilet with his. All staged - but fun in the delayed panic and self discovery of earlier pranks imposed by film.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:57 AM on December 15, 2015


I'm sort of proud that FB has deduced that I floss, though. I'm glad it's not just my dentist that notices.

To be fair, I talk about flossing a lot, even going so far as to have a post to celebrate my 10 year anniversary of daily flossing a while back. YAY FLOSSING
posted by phunniemee at 5:58 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Previously.
posted by josher71 at 6:09 AM on December 15, 2015


When you make a FB page, you are asked to provide 3 keywords to describe your page. This is likely where a lot of these interests come from.

Also some of the "zomg they got me pegged!" comments feel like "zomg my horoscope is totally accurate!". You'll parse accuracy if you want to see it.
posted by divabat at 6:10 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Among my (very long) list of topics under "Business and Industry," I have:

Ballroom
Districts of Sri Lanka
Petal (botany)
Rings of Saturn

My hobbies and activities include Blue, Gluttony, Object (philosophy), and Twin.

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.
posted by Superplin at 6:11 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


That last screenshot under "Good news..." has me singing "Tinder Toilet Vibraphone" like a madman.
posted by dr_dank at 6:18 AM on December 15, 2015


FOOD AND DRINK 1
Elf Aquitaine


I, uh. What is that?
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:27 AM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


sebastienbailard: "Outside of facebook, there's probably still web bugs/beacons on independent sites sending parts of your clicktrail back to facebooks' servers so they can build a better profile of you in order to better monetize you. "

Ah, okay, I think that explains it. I've used NoScript for...about as long as I can remember, and now I use it with Ghostery, so Facebook is only getting info from my actions on the site itself. That's why it knows a ton about the devices I use to view Facebook, and the information I've given it (where I live, where I went to high school), but nothing else about me despite using it pretty much daily.
posted by Bugbread at 6:31 AM on December 15, 2015


I wonder if there's a similar page for Google. For some reason, several RSS feeds I read (ones processed through Google's Feedburner) seem to think that I have decision-making responsibilities involving fleet logistics, and show me ads for articles on preparing vehicle fleets for winter and the ins and outs of vehicle tracking systems.
posted by acb at 6:33 AM on December 15, 2015


Outside of facebook, there's probably still web bugs/beacons on independent sites sending parts of your clicktrail back to facebooks' servers so they can build a better profile of you in order to better monetize you.

Which is one of the reasons that, on the new Linux box I recently built (which has considerably more CPU and RAM than any other machine I've owned), I never log into Google or Facebook in the main browser. I have a VirtualBox VM (also running Debian) whose sole purpose is to run browsers logged into these services.
posted by acb at 6:35 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and Activities:

- Dental Floss
- Hour
- Probability distribution
- Propeller
- Uninterruptable power supply

Man, Facebook thinks I am way more interesting than I actually am.
posted by Aznable at 6:37 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some of the weirder things Facebook thinks I like include the Australian Labour Party (which I'm sure is lovely, but I've never been to Australia and have no connection to Australia at all), Neighbours (the Australian TV show: I'm seeing a weird, inexplicable theme here), Danny Phantom (apparently it's a TV show!), Worth County, Missouri (???), and Friedrich Hayek (wait, no! No!!!!). They correctly identify yarn as one of my hobbies, but they also think that one of my hobbies is dental floss. Oh, and under "Travel, Places and Events," they have "perception." I don't even know what that means!

Anyway, it's sort of nice to know that Facebook is not, in fact, omniscient. The social media site that is omniscient is Pinterest. Their algorithm pretty much has me down to a science.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:46 AM on December 15, 2015


Under "Hobbies" I had "uninterruptable power supply."

I have come to the conclusion that Facebook knows nothing about me.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:47 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


some of the "zomg they got me pegged!" comments

There is not one comment like that on this page?
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:48 AM on December 15, 2015


cotton dress sock: "There is not one comment like that on this page?"

There are a few, but certainly not many.
posted by Bugbread at 6:52 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hobbies: Breathing
posted by galvanized unicorn at 6:54 AM on December 15, 2015


Under Hobbies and Activities I had "Coccinellidae." I didn't know what that meant, so I went to go look it up, and as the page loaded I started to get scared that it would be some awful body-horror thing that would pop up with images, and I angled my phone away from me, steeled myself, and then tilted it slowly back to see... a picture of a ladybug.

Yeah ladybugs! Yay Facebook!

I like this sequence, also from from Hobbies and Activities: Rapping, reading, recreation, textile, thought, traffic congestion, traffic light, urban area, vinyl, virtue. I mean, they're not inaccurate (except for vinyl, I guess).

Hogwarts
First Epistle to the Thessalonians (?)

A few that I removedas I went through: Kimye, Silicon Valley, most of the BABIES-MARRIAGE-AFJKLSGJLKSG ones under Family & Relationships, which I regret a little because I kind of like looking at all the engagement ring ads, but I'll pass on the fertility clinic for Japanese women in San Mateo that they keep trying to show me ads for (in Japanese), thanks.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2015


I also got First Epistle to the Thessalonians! What's up with that? I'm a not-very-observant Jew, and if I were going to be citing Christian Bible verses, I don't think they'd be from Paul.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:10 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really love that my ad preferences include grammar, which is listed under Travel, Places and Events. And from the fitness and wellness category, moustache wax and psychoanalysis.
posted by palomar at 7:11 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ha! And I'm so very secular that I did not actually even realize that was related to the Bible until I Googled it (after I posted). They're really striking out with that one.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:14 AM on December 15, 2015


Facebook has no idea who I am. It always gets everything so hopelessly wrong. It is a bad, loveless marriage...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:15 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hobbies: Canal

I have no idea why.
posted by bdc34 at 7:26 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It must think everyone likes Sean Hannity. It says I like him and I'm not even sure what he looks like.

Some of the weird choices I can figure out. For instance, it says I like badgers, which confused me until I remembered I once liked the Facebook page for a local folk duo called the Honeybadgers. So that's just a categorization error.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:28 AM on December 15, 2015


I got 'Men (Middle Earth)'.
posted by Hogshead at 7:30 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and Activities:

oxygen


... hmm. Yeah, I do occasionally partake in breathing.
posted by lydhre at 7:43 AM on December 15, 2015


Away from family
Away from hometown
Thanks for rubbing it in, Facebook. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2015


jetlagaddict: "Frankly given that they had Sumer right there under Lifestyle, I'm a little mad I'm not getting more targeted ads for cuneiform stylus upgrades and Save Ten Sheep Using This One Weird Trick. Pander to me, marketers!"

The Priesthood Hates It!
posted by Samizdata at 8:09 AM on December 15, 2015


I want someone to turn these clusters (not just mine, although they inspired the wish) into a short-story generator:

Hobbies and activities:
Affordable housing
Dental floss
Werewolf

Lifestyle and Culture
Surrealism
Commuters

Sports and outdoors
First baseman
Professional wrestling holds
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Superplin: "Among my (very long) list of topics under "Business and Industry," I have:

Ballroom
Districts of Sri Lanka
Petal (botany)
Rings of Saturn

My hobbies and activities include Blue, Gluttony, Object (philosophy), and Twin.

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.
"

You are? Mine lists both the Republican AND Democratic Parties.
posted by Samizdata at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2015


I had to reset my facebook password because I'd forgotten it since 5 months ago which I think goes to explain why the ads facebook thinks I'd like include things like "oreos" which I don't think I've eaten for like a year and "the sean hannity show" (which, W H A T??)

I think my favorite though is the only thing under hobbies and activities which is just "length"

they got me on doris day and ella fitzgerald tho
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2015


HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES:
Televisions
Blanket
posted by theodolite at 8:39 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Almost all of mine were along the lines of, "You probably clicked on an ad for this by accident once, I guess." The only things that were accurate were bands and games with FB pages that I manually Liked. It's amazing how forcefully "big-data" marketing falls on its face.
posted by WCWedin at 8:42 AM on December 15, 2015


Shout out to all the other First Epistle to the Thessalonians fans!
posted by Helga-woo at 8:43 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


FOOD AND DRINK 1
Elf Aquitaine

I, uh. What is that?


One of the tastiest ways of preparing Elf. You never tried it?
posted by iotic at 8:47 AM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mine was mostly unremarkable except that it thinks I'm interested in marriage and babies (nooooope). But it also listed "Glitter" as an interest and I can't argue that, so we'll call it a draw.
posted by Stacey at 8:49 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe someone out there has hobbies consisting of Sheep, Limestone, Affordable Housing, and Human Skin Color but that someone is not me, nor anyone I'd like to meet.
posted by rmless at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2015


Hobbies and activities:
Animal Testing
Pet Adoption

Sports and outdoors:
Planet
Sun

News and Entertainment:
Happiness

Not sure what you're trying to imply, Facebook...
posted by remembrancer at 9:38 AM on December 15, 2015


Food And Drink:
Gravy
Dunkin Donuts

Nailed it again, FB.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:56 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Surely someone working in facebook's ad division realizes that all the feigned interest in babies is overwhelmingly due to social obligation, rather than genuine interest. Or do they have some policy about only employing new parents?*

Hobbies and activities: concept (fair enough, I guess.)
Business and industry: derivative (oh yeah, well you and my reviewers can go to hell)
Business and industry: psuedoscience (see above)
News and enteratainment: Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (is this a real thing? I'm down with the lego part, but where did Harry Potter come from. Is this 'cause I liked the female scientist lego set last year? WTF?)
Shopping and fashion: babies r us (nope. Also, this is the ONLY thing on my list? Grrrr.)

Clearly I've failed to cultivate the deeply cynical, transgressive, far-left facebook advertizing profile that corresponds to the profile I'd create for myself. Tracker foiling victory?

* Dear new parents - we pretend to care about the only thing you now care about because we care deeply about you. Consider it a compliment.
posted by eotvos at 10:00 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pleasantly surprised that blocking Facebook trackers etc appears to actually have some effect. I've never even been all that rigorous about browser security, except for the occasional fury at cross pollination of various social media streams. The only things on this list that aren't linked to Facebook activity are searches from a brief period of using iOS Safari without content blocking. I'm enough of a rube that when they started serving me up super-accurate ads for the first time (about spice and moonshine, natch) my reaction was "Hey, neat, I was just searching for that!" ... and then I installed another content blocker.
posted by Lorin at 10:02 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It lists Acorn (food) under Food and Drink. Apparently, I am actually a squirrel.
posted by missmerrymack at 10:26 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Canidae, sympathy, and wax is my next poetry collection.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:27 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just a quick reminder that the good people at Facebook get paid astronomical sums of money to generate this "information." If I generated data this piss poor in my field, I would not have a career. Advertising, it seems, has very loose expectations and no validation requirements to go along with the boatloads of cash they're convinced advertising generates (and I say this as a bay area friend to several people who work there).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:28 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Haven't read this thread, but I'm a veritable WEEEEEIRDO in Facebook's eyes so I need to share my standouts...

BUSINESS
- pushchairs for infants and toddlers (I'm not a parent)
- Indian Institutes of Technology
- Toaster (kitchen/cooking) (probably because I follow a musician named Toaster)
- Vacuum tube
- Stress (mechanics)
- Pendulum

EDUCATION
- Nuclear fallout
- Electric current
- Surface runoff
- Taxonomy

FITNESS AND WELLNESS
- Ear (this was the only entry)

FOOD AND DRINK
- Marshmallow
- Toast (again with the toast)
- Lettuce
- Brittle

HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES
- Stallion (animal)
- Wave
- Werewolf
- Fascism
- Gray wolf
- Rodent (animal)
- Domestic pig
- Attic
- Concept
- Squirrel
- Dark matter
- Scrambling
- Street light

LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
- Magick (Thelema)
- Swing (seat)
- Decomposition
- Voltage

NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Sean Hannity Show (despite Facebook pegging me as "very liberal")
- Legendary creature (?)
- First Epistle to the Thessalonians

PEOPLE
-Henry II of England (Monarch)

SHOPPING AND FASHION
- babies r us (again, not a parent)
- Fedora (clothing) (oh, great)
- Costume de rigueur

SPORTS AND OUTDOORS
- Inter Milan (who)
- Melbourne Storm (who?)
- Bunkai (what?)

TRAVEL, PLACES AND EVENTS
- Kilroy was here
- Point Blank, Texas
- Tricot, Oise
- Perception
posted by naju at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mine were very generic or based on pages I had "liked" or otherwise indicated. I basically told Facebook I was an expat in Brazil, and it believed me all the way.

Kinda surprised. This seems to have actually affirmed my privacy settings work.
posted by zennie at 10:46 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mr sively got the First Epistle to the Thessalonians as well, wtf? He ragequit Catholicism when he was 12, and hasn't looked back. I wonder what the trigger for that one is. Knowing someone named Paul?

You had one job, Facebook...
posted by sively at 10:49 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Business:
Navy Blue

Hobbies and Activities:
Tertiary Sector of the Economy

Those go together nicely, even if I don't have a clue how they relate to me.
posted by JennyJupiter at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2015


I wonder how often these get updated. For a while, Facebook definitely thought I was a black woman in Atlanta (or at least interested in events for black women in Atlanta), and I was getting ad for Armenian-language media for a short time. I'm not black, I don't live in Atlanta, and I certainly don't speak Armenian (and am not of Armenian descent.) I google a lot of random stuff, but I still have no idea where Facebook got any of that from.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Technology - transvestism

I love beyond words that this is classified as a "technology."
posted by en forme de poire at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dental Floss, Sean Hannity, Thessalonians and Lego Harry Potter (Years 5-7) appear to be way over represented.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:18 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone out there has hobbies consisting of Sheep, Limestone, Affordable Housing, and Human Skin Color but that someone is not me, nor anyone I'd like to meet.

Lots of people are interested in sheep, stone, small wooden houses, and player color.
posted by aubilenon at 11:24 AM on December 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hobbies: extinction.

Hmm.
posted by danapiper at 11:34 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT: Puberty

I have "Men's Rights Movement" listed under my lifestyle and hobbies, which I at least understand, given that I rant about it a lot. However, one domestic-violence shelter I follow is listed as "Restaurant" and another as "Fashion Designer." Which I don't understand.
posted by jaguar at 11:51 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm patiently waiting for the day the internet crashes so we can communicate the traditional way.
posted by Toahthoy at 12:32 PM on December 15, 2015


Among my business interests are pink and white. My hobby, otoh, is blue.

Apparently the only foods I like are pie and toast.
posted by jeather at 12:56 PM on December 15, 2015


No facebook here but according to a dailymail article this page will show me my interests for google to serve me the ads. It says: "You do not have any interests associated with your Google account."

I do not believe this at all.
posted by bukvich at 1:03 PM on December 15, 2015


I think that interests are things that you specifically tell them you're interested in, bukvich. You haven't added any interests, but they're still basing your ads on your search and browser history.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:12 PM on December 15, 2015


We'll gloss over the "difficult" Second Epistle, always a shame when people feel pressured to follow on from their early success with more of the same.
posted by Helga-woo at 1:25 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Never should have added those extra Dewbacks to the re-release of the First Epistle, either.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:59 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


the first three entries under my "hobbies and activities" are dog, welsh corgi, and pembroke welsh corgi, which honestly is pretty dead on

the embarrassingly accurate one though was day drinking, listed under "travel, places and events"
posted by burgerrr at 2:23 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


haha, I dunno what I have in my ABP custom strings, but the entire facebook.com/ads page is blank except for the header and the footer.
posted by numaner at 3:30 PM on December 15, 2015


I have two listings under Hobbies and Activities:

Elf
Goat

WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. Really, Facebook. Get it together.
posted by Go Banana at 3:46 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


FITNESS AND WELLNESS:
- Skull
- dove (not capitalized for some reason?)
- Jaw
- Crying

Correct on all counts. Another triumph for big data.
posted by mhum at 3:46 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hmm, my ad preferences apparently include "Disgust" and "Awe".

I'm... kind of curious who targets ads on the term "Disgust", now.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:46 PM on December 15, 2015


I'm... kind of curious who targets ads on the term "Disgust", now.

Likely all those ads that involve stories about weird medical conditions.
posted by jaguar at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huh. Apparently, when you delete all of your suggestions, it doesn't just leave your list empty until it can fill in more data. It just populates with a whole new raft of apparently random suggestions. Probably stuff that FB's machine learning didn't think had enough signal to make your original list but were still kicking around somewhere.

HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES
- Digital scrapbooking
- Antique
- Coffea [sic] arabica
- Learning
- Septic Tank
- Turkey (bird)
- Magic (paranormal)
- Amphibian Animal
- Emotion
- Cartwheel (gymnastics)

LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
- Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Community issues
- Nazi Germany [!!]
- Saskatchewan Party [?!]

And, yeah, First Epistle to Thessalonians and The Sean Hannity Show now both appear under News and Entertainment for me. So, I'm guessing that for whatever reason Facebook's data set has these topics so over-represented that, without any other relevant data, they'll just assume you're into those things.
posted by mhum at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Only one item under 'Shopping and Fashion'

Clothing

MY GOD THEY KNOW

(My fitness and wellness sole entry was perfect though: Nap)
posted by brain.eat.brain at 4:33 PM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


mhum: "Huh. Apparently, when you delete all of your suggestions, it doesn't just leave your list empty until it can fill in more data. It just populates with a whole new raft of apparently random suggestions. Probably stuff that FB's machine learning didn't think had enough signal to make your original list but were still kicking around somewhere.

And, yeah, First Epistle to Thessalonians and The Sean Hannity Show now both appear under News and Entertainment for me. So, I'm guessing that for whatever reason Facebook's data set has these topics so over-represented that, without any other relevant data, they'll just assume you're into those things.
"

Huh. When I deleted a bunch of stuff, I just ended up with a really short list. So I'm guessing, kind of like you said, that it's stuff FB had identified for you, but wouldn't fit on the initial list, so what you did was just clearing space for it. My initial list was only like 50 items long, and apparently represented the complete totality of what FB knew about me, so there was no data in reserve. Removing items from my list just produced a short list.

And neither Sean Hannity or the First Epistle showed up for me. There has to be some actual reason those are showing up. Not a good or valid reason, mind you, but a reason nonetheless. Like, people above have talked about liking a band and it being mistaken for something else (the band "Slow Down Molasses" being mistaken for liking molasses, the band "Magnum" being mistaken for the ice cream Magnum, the band "Laura" for a brand of luggage wear). So maybe people who discussed or read articles about Hannibal got their viewing habits automatically mapped to "Hannity", or people who talk about Episode I of the Star Wars prequels are being mapped to "First Epistle". Or, heck, the First Epistle apparently talks about the dead rising, so it could be people who read recaps of the Walking Dead or who enjoy other zombie-related media.
posted by Bugbread at 4:45 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just a quick reminder that the good people at Facebook get paid astronomical sums of money to generate this "information." If I generated data this piss poor in my field, I would not have a career. Advertising, it seems, has very loose expectations and no validation requirements to go along with the boatloads of cash they're convinced advertising generates (and I say this as a bay area friend to several people who work there).

I think this is because the constraints are super different, though. I suspect that a few relevant differences are that there's a huge amount of money in advertising, the sample size is enormous, and both gathering data and tweaking what you present are very cheap; so if you do even a hair's-width better at matching people to ads, that still translates over the total billions of ads served to an advantage that people care about. And of course, with machine learning, you can have a model that is completely absurd from an "explanatory" point of view, but still does a reasonably accurate job of predicting as a whole (in part because so many variables are highly correlated to one another).
posted by en forme de poire at 4:56 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think the thing to be relieved about is that we can probably believe FB that it really is about aggregate data and broad targets, not individuals (or profiling or what have you). And yeah in that case enough single word instances will do the job, no need to waste time making it all contextual and sensitive.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:28 PM on December 15, 2015


Second Amendment Sisters - uh, no.

Zygomatic bone - no idea.

Coal mining - ....?

Nazi Germany - you're telling me there are ads for this?

Guaratinguetá Futebol

Legal Personality
posted by Miko at 10:32 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mine were actually almost all pretty accurate except for a couple of video games I'd never heard of (although I play other games in the genre) and Sean Hannity.

Did we all click on a funny video that was tangentially related to his show or what?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:34 PM on December 15, 2015


I got Sean Hannity too. Maybe his people just bought everybody.
posted by Miko at 10:38 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, all this talk of the Sean Hannity Show got me to get off my butt and google it, so I guess somewhere somehow some ad money has been well spent. It hasn't gotten me to try and find episodes online to check it out, though, so the ad money wasn't that well-spent.
posted by Bugbread at 2:30 AM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, my work block the link to the ad preferences because it was an ad. (facebook itself is not blocked though)
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:25 AM on December 16, 2015


Pretty much the only thing I reliably post about, click through on, or like on Facebook are photos of dogs, yet my Hobbies and Activities list only "Insect, firefly, bat, mammal, and 'order (biology)'" (they can stick their kingdoms and phylums ...) ... I guess they've got dogs covered by that mammal one?

On the other hand, the only Fashion and Shopping entry I had was "Babies-R-Us," which is bizarre because I actively avoid babies and find baby equipment stores distinctly intimidating. I wonder why that particular store showed up for so many of us non-baby types?
posted by DingoMutt at 4:08 PM on December 16, 2015


My hobbies and activities are "hour" and "minute"...so I guess FB thinks I like time?
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:40 AM on December 17, 2015


Coming in from other thread...

I think I'm going to tell Facebook that I am interested in kittens, cats, big cats, lions, tigers, baby tigers, baby ocelots, baby snow leopards, snow leopards, felines, feline care, caring for cats, catamounts, mountain lions, cougars, pumas, sand cats, pallas cats, manuls, and highlighters. Let's see what I get.

...huh. A lot of those things are not interests you can add to Facebook ads. And a lot of things have some odd associations.

Anyway, Facebook now things I am interested in the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Tigers, Digimon, Pallas Athena, Akira Toriyama, several types of cats, and something called "los pumas". I wonder if I'll still get primarily Groupon ads.
posted by maryr at 9:35 AM on December 22, 2015


My weirdest.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
Procrastination
Need to know

EDUCATION
Etiquette

FITNESS AND WELLNESS
Fingerprint

FOOD AND DRINK
Yuzu
Aroma compound
Cut of beef

HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES
Cooler
Dental floss
Middle Ages
Propeller
Uninterruptible power supply
Probability distribution
Odor
Species
Time signature

LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
Awe
Neologism

NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
The Sean Hannity Show
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7
K-LOVE
The Facts of Life (TV series)
Jingle

PEOPLE
Flying Lotus
paul ryan

SHOPPING AND FASHION
babies r us

SPORTS AND OUTDOORS
Shoelaces
Try

TECHNOLOGY
Disaster
Nokia Lumia series

TRAVEL, PLACES AND EVENTS
Government agency
posted by infinitewindow at 10:29 AM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


FOOD AND DRINK
Food
Bacon
--end of list--

hmm.
posted by numaner at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


None of us can get enough of Sean Hannity, it seems.
posted by maryr at 6:17 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


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