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Thread: Strange social media Ads. Am I just paranoid?

  1. #1

    Default Strange social media Ads. Am I just paranoid?

    So I've been noticing for the past few months some strange coincidences happening on my facebook newsfeed and particularly with the ads I see on any given website. The first incident happened back in May. I went into Subway and bought a sandwich, played on my phone a bit and went on my marry way. The next day and for a few days following every ad I saw on my computer was for Subway. I figured because I had my phone out and didn't have my location turned off, that's why I was seeing these ads. I know if you do any online shopping most of the time the ads for those websites will come up everywhere so I guessed that it was just something like that.

    The second time it happened I was in victoria secret. I was there for maybe 10 minutes, just walking around. I didn't buy anything, I didn't use my phone. The next day all the ads on my computer were for victorias secret, even all the youtube video ads were for them and although I hadn't seen the company's posts on my newsfeed in years, suddenly they were there, sometimes every second post. This lasted around a week.

    After that, I changed my location settings and didn't notice it happening again...Until last week. My mom was visiting and we were talking about the new Justin Bieber song that was playing on the radio. We were in my house, our phones in near us but not in use. That afternoon Justin Bieber pops up on my newsfeed as a suggested page to follow. Now I'm really creeped out. I tell my mom what's been happening and she's freaked out too. We decide to try a little experiment. We went to see the new movie Don't Breathe. Left our phones at home and bought the tickets directly from the box office. When we get home we grab our phones and start talking about the movie. Sure enough an hour later and Sony pictures is a suggested page to follow on our newsfeeds and the trailer is down a few scrolls as something we might be interested in.

    I've turned off my mic for all apps and haven't had any other...happenings. Now I'm not an important person, I don't think the government is watching me or that someone is coming to take me away but unless I'm crazy, I'm pretty sure facebook monitors everything we look at, buy and apparently everything we talk about too.

    Has anyone else had this happen? I get the website thing is pretty normal and having ads for stores you to go also makes sense if you have your location on but what about just talking out loud in your own home? That's the part that weirds me out the most. If it is something that's happening is that even legal?

    I asked my friends about it and one said he was talking on his phone to a guy about Cabelas and then after that he had nothing but Cabelas ads. But I don't know if that can be used as evidence because I'm sure he goes on their website all the time.
    Last edited by ABeck1024; 08-09-2016 at 12:55 PM.

  2. #2

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    Your Phone can see where you go. My Android phone keeps asking if I'm interested in travel times to any place I visit more than once on anything like a schedule. Go somewhere 2 fridays in a row and they want to ad it to my favourites. Or any place I stay for more than a day. Was interesting on vacation, where my phone kept telling me how to get back to where I was.
    There can only be one.

  3. #3

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    I'm in the digital media field. Virtually everything you do is tracked, including cross-device usage and behaviors. From that data, we can target ads to people and affect behavior. It's all aggregated and nobody cares who "you" are, but we do care about your behaviors so we can target you with marketing. "Lookalike marketing" is massive, especially with display and Facebook - if other users have the same behaviors as you and love Bieber, but you haven't looked up anything related to Bieber, you may be flagged as someone that probably likes Bieber, and will be fed ads related to Bieber.

    The good news is, the ads you see are increasingly more relevant. At this point, you can take the tinfoil hat off as nobody cares that ABeck1024 does these things as an individual. It's all automated systems that do all of this automatically - no humans are looking nor care about this.

    *Tinfoil hat on area* That all being said, governments theoretically could take this and use it nefariously, no question about it. However, what I'd personally be more concerned about is behavioral manipulation. FB, Google, etc. have the reach and ability to greatly control what you see, and feeding you certain results, ads, etc. absolutely can affect your behavior. Shopping patterns, elections, how you view certain ideas and topics, those can all be manipulated on a grand scale.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  4. #4

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    I find some of this targeted marketing funny in that some company is wasting its money.

    I'll look up something, maybe buy it or buy something else or whatever (maybe even look up something for someone else in the room) and then ads for it keep appearing long after they'd have any value to me.

    However, we were our for dinner with quite a few people and a couple of us were talking about how they blow up beaver dams and someone at the table had me look up a DIY explosive that's commonly used. Likely everyone at that dinner had their dossiers flagged (you know, the dossiers, on every one of us, that don't exist).
    Last edited by KC; 08-09-2016 at 01:56 PM.

  5. #5

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    Yeah it seems to be happening more often with me or maybe I'm just noticing it more. I'll look for shoes on line and then I am inundated with shoe ads. Or I'll look up bedding and it's the same thing. New age of marketing for sure. Marketing agencies can target millions more people this way. I'd hate to have to go on line and source out a leather outfit and a whip. Lawd knows what ads would pop up after that excursion.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    Yeah it seems to be happening more often with me or maybe I'm just noticing it more. I'll look for shoes on line and then I am inundated with shoe ads. Or I'll look up bedding and it's the same thing. New age of marketing for sure. Marketing agencies can target millions more people this way. I'd hate to have to go on line and source out a leather outfit and a whip. Lawd knows what ads would pop up after that excursion.
    I wonder if one can really mess with their marketing data by periodically looking up and researching odd ball things or they know enough about us already to filter it all out.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    I'm in the digital media field. Virtually everything you do is tracked, including cross-device usage and behaviors. From that data, we can target ads to people and affect behavior. It's all aggregated and nobody cares who "you" are, but we do care about your behaviors so we can target you with marketing. "Lookalike marketing" is massive, especially with display and Facebook - if other users have the same behaviors as you and love Bieber, but you haven't looked up anything related to Bieber, you may be flagged as someone that probably likes Bieber, and will be fed ads related to Bieber.

    The good news is, the ads you see are increasingly more relevant. At this point, you can take the tinfoil hat off as nobody cares that ABeck1024 does these things as an individual. It's all automated systems that do all of this automatically - no humans are looking nor care about this.

    *Tinfoil hat on area* That all being said, governments theoretically could take this and use it nefariously, no question about it. However, what I'd personally be more concerned about is behavioral manipulation. FB, Google, etc. have the reach and ability to greatly control what you see, and feeding you certain results, ads, etc. absolutely can affect your behavior. Shopping patterns, elections, how you view certain ideas and topics, those can all be manipulated on a grand scale.
    That's all really interesting info and confirms what I thought was happening as far as visiting places and looking up websites helping to generate ads you see later but it doesn't address the part about me talking in my home and having ad content come up that is related to the conversation topics. I guess my general question is do companies have the tech capabilities to "listen in" (I know you said it's not a person handling data so perhaps an automation or some other computing system) on our conversation through our phones, tv, radio?

    The tinfoil part of your response doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. In fact, it would seem like that kind of manipulation would be in any government's best interest.

  8. #8

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    ^ I know someone who had their facebook birthday set so that he was, according to facebook, over eighty, but was otherwise something of a hipster. He got some strange ads.

    I get ads for MEC and bicycles. and, since my wife and I share a google account, for indie-fashion-stuff. and baby stuff.

    And once, in some targeted ad brilliance, child bicycle accessories ads.
    There can only be one.

  9. #9

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    Seems to me they can harvest just about anything. If you for example you look up Fred's Antique Emporium I would not be surprised if you got ad pop ups for Amazon or EBay antiques. I'm not sure where I read it but it was something on the lines of if you went into a store a transmitter would pick that up through your phone and track your shopping visits to each store. The marketing media are not so much interested in each individual, more interested in how many individuals are buying what and where.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

  10. #10

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    So maybe a person's conservations are not being listened to in their entirety but if a certain word is said or a brand name/catch phrase it triggers some algorithm in one of the apps that your phone mic is enabled for and then ads related to those words pop up on a person's social media. That kind of tech exists for sure or else how would Siri know to activate when you say "Hey, Siri..."?

  11. #11

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    It sounds like Big Brother but marketing agents are not interested in your whole conversation. They don't have time or inclination to listen to the whole thing. They maybe just pick up certain aspects. Sometimes they might get it right, sometimes wrong.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ABeck1024 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    I'm in the digital media field. Virtually everything you do is tracked, including cross-device usage and behaviors. From that data, we can target ads to people and affect behavior. It's all aggregated and nobody cares who "you" are, but we do care about your behaviors so we can target you with marketing. "Lookalike marketing" is massive, especially with display and Facebook - if other users have the same behaviors as you and love Bieber, but you haven't looked up anything related to Bieber, you may be flagged as someone that probably likes Bieber, and will be fed ads related to Bieber.

    The good news is, the ads you see are increasingly more relevant. At this point, you can take the tinfoil hat off as nobody cares that ABeck1024 does these things as an individual. It's all automated systems that do all of this automatically - no humans are looking nor care about this.

    *Tinfoil hat on area* That all being said, governments theoretically could take this and use it nefariously, no question about it. However, what I'd personally be more concerned about is behavioral manipulation. FB, Google, etc. have the reach and ability to greatly control what you see, and feeding you certain results, ads, etc. absolutely can affect your behavior. Shopping patterns, elections, how you view certain ideas and topics, those can all be manipulated on a grand scale.
    That's all really interesting info and confirms what I thought was happening as far as visiting places and looking up websites helping to generate ads you see later but it doesn't address the part about me talking in my home and having ad content come up that is related to the conversation topics. I guess my general question is do companies have the tech capabilities to "listen in" (I know you said it's not a person handling data so perhaps an automation or some other computing system) on our conversation through our phones, tv, radio?

    The tinfoil part of your response doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. In fact, it would seem like that kind of manipulation would be in any government's best interest.
    There is the capability to listen in if microphone permissions are granted. FB doesn't use this, but that free fart app you installed may have requested it and use a FB API. If you use an iPhone and have Hey, Siri enabled, it has an active microphone that is always on, and depending on what apps you have and what permissions you have enabled, your Apple phone might be spying on you. Ditto for some Moto X and Nexus devices (but not Android as an operating system - you need to long press home key to activate voice recognition). Do you own a Samsung smart TV with voice controls? They've been under fire for having an active mic listen to your living room conversation, though as far as I'm aware it wasn't using that data for targeted ads.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    Seems to me they can harvest just about anything. If you for example you look up Fred's Antique Emporium I would not be surprised if you got ad pop ups for Amazon or EBay antiques. I'm not sure where I read it but it was something on the lines of if you went into a store a transmitter would pick that up through your phone and track your shopping visits to each store. The marketing media are not so much interested in each individual, more interested in how many individuals are buying what and where.
    That's beacon technology. Wal-Mart has been installing that in all their stores. When you walk through the doors, if you have the Wal-Mart app on your phone, the beacons know you have entered the store, and then inside the store it tracks where you go, where you pause, and it builds a customer profile around your shopping habits. If you walk down the pet food isle, stop in front of cat food, but at checkout you don't purchase cat food, it'll send you ads for cat food as it assumes you have a cat but for some reason chose not to purchase cat food from Wal-Mart. You have to have app installed, Bluetooth needs to be on, and you have to have the right permissions enabled. 99.9% of soccer moms that install Wal-Mart apps just hit OK and away they go. They're data goldmines.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    Yeah it seems to be happening more often with me or maybe I'm just noticing it more. I'll look for shoes on line and then I am inundated with shoe ads. Or I'll look up bedding and it's the same thing. New age of marketing for sure. Marketing agencies can target millions more people this way. I'd hate to have to go on line and source out a leather outfit and a whip. Lawd knows what ads would pop up after that excursion.
    I wonder if one can really mess with their marketing data by periodically looking up and researching odd ball things or they know enough about us already to filter it all out.
    If you don't like targeted ads (or any ads at all), just use uBlock Origin and/or Ghostery on your browser and call it a day. The Firefox Android app allows the uBlock extension for your smartphone, but you'll never be able to block trackers and such in apps, since those are standalone programs. Bane of my life, I'd love to block YouTube video pre-rolls in the YT app...
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  15. #15

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    Creepy. But our privacy is what we are exchanging for these "free" phone apps.

  16. #16

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    Your privacy isn't generally being invaded - in almost all cases nobody knows or cares who you are. These platforms collect data (user A device ID 12345678 behavior path site1, site2, site3, pattern recognized, deliver ad) and it's all automated. We're talking hundreds of millions and often many billions of events per day. There's no humans involved in looking at this data, and even if they did, it would be IP addresses and device ID's, not your name with home address and phone number tied to a graphical map of where you've been.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  17. #17

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    If you've got an iPhone, Apple randomizes the MAC addresses it uses to find (but not connect to) wifi hotspots to obfuscate some of the tracking info. I don't know if other platforms are the same, but I've certainly noticed a drop off in creepy location-based targeted ads since they made the switch a couple of versions back.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Happily ignoring the ignorant rather than getting in a battle of wits with unarmed opponents.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    Creepy. But our privacy is what we are exchanging for these "free" phone apps.
    I guess when we buy new phones and electronics we are agreeing to all this when we strike the 'yes' when it asks us if we agree to the Terms of Agreement. Not sure what would happen if we stuck 'no'.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

  19. #19
    I'd rather C2E than work!
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    If you're concerned about mic access on an iPhone go to Settings->Privacy->Microphone.

    You'll the apps that have asked for mic access and you will be able to toggle their access if you choose.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ABeck1024 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    I'm in the digital media field. Virtually everything you do is tracked, including cross-device usage and behaviors. From that data, we can target ads to people and affect behavior. It's all aggregated and nobody cares who "you" are, but we do care about your behaviors so we can target you with marketing. "Lookalike marketing" is massive, especially with display and Facebook - if other users have the same behaviors as you and love Bieber, but you haven't looked up anything related to Bieber, you may be flagged as someone that probably likes Bieber, and will be fed ads related to Bieber.

    The good news is, the ads you see are increasingly more relevant. At this point, you can take the tinfoil hat off as nobody cares that ABeck1024 does these things as an individual. It's all automated systems that do all of this automatically - no humans are looking nor care about this.

    *Tinfoil hat on area* That all being said, governments theoretically could take this and use it nefariously, no question about it. However, what I'd personally be more concerned about is behavioral manipulation. FB, Google, etc. have the reach and ability to greatly control what you see, and feeding you certain results, ads, etc. absolutely can affect your behavior. Shopping patterns, elections, how you view certain ideas and topics, those can all be manipulated on a grand scale.
    That's all really interesting info and confirms what I thought was happening as far as visiting places and looking up websites helping to generate ads you see later but it doesn't address the part about me talking in my home and having ad content come up that is related to the conversation topics. I guess my general question is do companies have the tech capabilities to "listen in" (I know you said it's not a person handling data so perhaps an automation or some other computing system) on our conversation through our phones, tv, radio?

    The tinfoil part of your response doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. In fact, it would seem like that kind of manipulation would be in any government's best interest.
    There is the capability to listen in if microphone permissions are granted. FB doesn't use this, but that free fart app you installed may have requested it and use a FB API. If you use an iPhone and have Hey, Siri enabled, it has an active microphone that is always on, and depending on what apps you have and what permissions you have enabled, your Apple phone might be spying on you. Ditto for some Moto X and Nexus devices (but not Android as an operating system - you need to long press home key to activate voice recognition). Do you own a Samsung smart TV with voice controls? They've been under fire for having an active mic listen to your living room conversation, though as far as I'm aware it wasn't using that data for targeted ads.
    Oh boy yes I do own a samsung smart tv. Well this just got more unnerving.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ABeck1024 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ABeck1024 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    I'm in the digital media field. Virtually everything you do is tracked, including cross-device usage and behaviors. From that data, we can target ads to people and affect behavior. It's all aggregated and nobody cares who "you" are, but we do care about your behaviors so we can target you with marketing. "Lookalike marketing" is massive, especially with display and Facebook - if other users have the same behaviors as you and love Bieber, but you haven't looked up anything related to Bieber, you may be flagged as someone that probably likes Bieber, and will be fed ads related to Bieber.

    The good news is, the ads you see are increasingly more relevant. At this point, you can take the tinfoil hat off as nobody cares that ABeck1024 does these things as an individual. It's all automated systems that do all of this automatically - no humans are looking nor care about this.

    *Tinfoil hat on area* That all being said, governments theoretically could take this and use it nefariously, no question about it. However, what I'd personally be more concerned about is behavioral manipulation. FB, Google, etc. have the reach and ability to greatly control what you see, and feeding you certain results, ads, etc. absolutely can affect your behavior. Shopping patterns, elections, how you view certain ideas and topics, those can all be manipulated on a grand scale.
    That's all really interesting info and confirms what I thought was happening as far as visiting places and looking up websites helping to generate ads you see later but it doesn't address the part about me talking in my home and having ad content come up that is related to the conversation topics. I guess my general question is do companies have the tech capabilities to "listen in" (I know you said it's not a person handling data so perhaps an automation or some other computing system) on our conversation through our phones, tv, radio?

    The tinfoil part of your response doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. In fact, it would seem like that kind of manipulation would be in any government's best interest.
    There is the capability to listen in if microphone permissions are granted. FB doesn't use this, but that free fart app you installed may have requested it and use a FB API. If you use an iPhone and have Hey, Siri enabled, it has an active microphone that is always on, and depending on what apps you have and what permissions you have enabled, your Apple phone might be spying on you. Ditto for some Moto X and Nexus devices (but not Android as an operating system - you need to long press home key to activate voice recognition). Do you own a Samsung smart TV with voice controls? They've been under fire for having an active mic listen to your living room conversation, though as far as I'm aware it wasn't using that data for targeted ads.
    Oh boy yes I do own a samsung smart tv. Well this just got more unnerving.
    It needs to be a voice activated smart TV. The mic is always on so it can hear commands without needing to press a button or anything first. The biggest reason they got into trouble, from what I understand, is that Samsung had real people listening in so they could make sure their software was optimized, but it was very likely that (obviously) private and confidential conversations were being overheard by 3rd parties. Of course, you authorized that when you clicked OK through the EULA, but who reads those things?
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  22. #22

    Default

    Samsung admitted to recording everything their Smart TV mics are picking up, so they can analyze it later to test its "accuracy".

    Creepy.

  23. #23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    Samsung admitted to recording everything their Smart TV mics are picking up, so they can analyze it later to test its "accuracy".

    Creepy.
    "...Yes, M. President that's the new curved glass smart TV we had installed. Looks great in the Oval Office here doesn't it. So, let's see, next on the agenda, your new launch codes. We'll have you repeat them a few times just for safety sake."

  24. #24
    Last edited by Gemini; 09-09-2016 at 07:58 PM.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

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