Dear Facebook. About these Ads…

You know I work in a school. You know I’m married. You know these things because I dutifully filled them in on my profile so you could sell my data to advertisers.

So, when you show me dating ads entitled “Meet Your Girlfriend” with a picture of a girl who looks suspiciously under-age, this is not just badly targeted or inappropriate, it is actually downright offensive.



Edit: This page used to contain a screenshot of the ad in question, but this was removed following receipt of a DMCA takedown notice on 2nd April 2013. See the below comment for more information.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

15 responses to “Dear Facebook. About these Ads…”

  1. Rich_tech says :

    One of a multitude of reasons I quit that horrid site

  2. Lippy says :

    Unfortunately, it’s up to the advertiser to whom their adverts get served, they obviously feel that showing their add to married men is worth the extra cost. The more you tell Facebook, generally, the more targeted the adds you get, but clearly this isn’t always the case!

  3. ScottishTech says :

    If she’s over 18, I’m definitely interested.. Not sure what my good lady wife would say on the matter, though.

    Facebook is blocked for everyone here (including me – I don’t make the rules). It’s only released for Staff wanting to look up profiles/postings which a parent or similar have complained about.

    I do, however, get amused when asked by members of the SMT how I(!?) can stop pupils from posting stuff on Facebook on their mobiles or home PCs.. My suggestions of:

    Electroshock therapy
    Removal of digits

    were both rejected. As was my suggestion that the parents of the brats responsible should tear them a new one.

  4. Vialli says :

    Yes, these adverts are an annoyance at best. However, I think this –
    maybe the straw that breaks the camels back for users.

    • The Angry Technician says :

      There are two important things to remember here:

      1. 9 in every 10 Facebook users is an idiot.
      2. Hate for ‘new Facebook’ is as old as Facebook itself.
      • Ian Lipman says :

        Without meaning to inadvertantly start a serious debate here … I don’t really understand why some people have such an obvious loathing and distain for some applications .. Facebook being a prime example.

        The public in general have a desire to be social and as physical social opportunities reduce (through working parents, commuting, working from home etc) and access to the internet for all increases, they see on-line alternatives as a potential replacement. What is wrong with that?

        We’ve hated AOL, we’ve hated Myspace, we’ve hated Yahoo, we’ve hated Google and now we hate Facebook. At the end of the day all these companies have done is seen a need, provided a solution, obtained many users and then seen oportunities for monitisation … and this is where it often tends to fall apart.

        We want personalisation (search results relevant to us, adverts relevant to us, music/film/shopping recommendations relevant to us etc), and then we moan when we are asked to tell them our personal information and when they whant to make a profit withall that juicy data.

        You may hate Facebook, but many businesses spend lots of money using it as a selling tool or have an entire business based around it, and for many people it a really good way of communicating with friends, family, and work colleagues etc. Hell … some schools are even embracing it!

        So come on … you can claim 9/10 Facebook users are idiots, but so are 9/10 Sun readers, 9/10 Channel 4 viewers, 9/10 football fans etc etc … thats society for you!

        So it’s Facebook hating today … what’s next?!

        • Tim says :

          There are three phases to company behaviour / growth:
          Phase 1: Come up with a good idea and start up business.
          Phase 2: Be as attractive as possible to potential customers to establish a good reputation and market share.
          Phase 3: Exploit good will, market share, financial clout, political clout, consumer ignorance and laziness as much as is possible without losing profitability.

          Phase 3 – the monetarisation phase – marks a fundamental shift from consumer defined to shareholder defined success. It would be very surprising if consumers didn’t resent this change!

  5. Dale says :

    Half the fun with those ads is using TinEye to see if the “Meet Your Girlfriend” girl is a stock photo or not. It’s about 50-50 based on my experience.
    ( )

    • The Angry Technician says :

      Google’s ‘Search by Image” does the same thing now too. If you click on the screenshot of the ad I posted above, you’ll see what I found when I investigated the photo they’ve used.

      There are also at least two active Facebook profiles under the name of “Jessica Zlatos” using this girl’s photos. No telling if either of them are real.

  6. vivi says :

    every time i post on CL my inbox is flooded with these ads including pharmaceutical “growth” pills ads. im female but took anatomy and biology along with math. Pills don’t make anything grow, fem/fem is just not atanomically functional and any number over 18 or 21 does not go into -18 without complexities.

  7. The Angry Technician says :

    Note from the author:

    This page used to contain a screenshot of the ad in question, but was removed following receipt of a DMCA takedown notice on 2nd April 2013.

    While the opinion of the author is that such use probably falls within the scope of fair use due to it being used for commentary and criticism, I have no interest in mounting a formal challenge to the notice. Furthermore, it is likely that the notice was issued at the request of the individual whose photo was used for the ad without permission.

    While there is no way to know for certain, since the source or reason behind the takedown request was not provided to me, I would have no objection to removal on these grounds. Sadly, the use (and expedience) of such a blunt legal instrument as the DMCA is apparently the first port of call these days, rather than the use of simple polite request.

    • Harry Cross says :

      I think you will find that you can put the screenshot back up as the DMCA is american law and you are based in the uk

      Just reply this:
      Dear Facebook Scum,

      You have sent me a DMCA notice. I demand you immediately revoke the notice as I am a UK based citizen NOT US. Even though WordPress servers are in the US. This site is seen by UK peoples only

      P****d off

      • The Angry Technician says :

        Unfortunately the fact that the WordPress servers are in the US means that the company that runs WordPress (Automattic) is legally obliged to remove the content. In fact, that’s exactly what happened – they removed the content, and then emailed me to let me know. This is exactly what they have to do unless they want to be prosecuted as a US company.

        Under the terms & conditions of my WordPress account, I have to live with that. If I put the ad back up (which I don’t want to anyway), WordPress would have little choice but to terminate my account and I would lose the entire blog.

        As an aside, my site stats show that in the last year, I’ve actually had 64,996 visits from the US, compared with 112,382 from the UK, along with vitis from nearly 200 other countries. While the UK is my biggest audience, the US comes second, and makes up 22% of my readers.

  8. Harry Cross says :


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