This has implications for the privacy of messages shared on Facebook, and should give each of us pause.
When Matt (last name withheld for privacy) logged onto Facebook earlier this week, he was startled by the placement of a seemingly impossible ad on his News Feed: a rainbow-underwear-adorned banner for Rick Clemons (the California-based, self-appointed “Coming Out Coach”) that read, “COMING OUT? NEED HELP?”
Matt (who lives on the East Coast) did need help coming out. But as far as he knew, there was only one other person in the world who knew that but him.
Matt told BuzzFeed FWD in an email:
As many LGBT individuals know, for a time, the most closely held secret we have is our sexuality. Several nights ago, I texted a close and dear friend for advice on revealing such sensitive personal information. The next morning, I woke up to a “sponsored story” on my Facebook page that asked “Coming Out? Need help?” How did Facebook know such a specific ad would apply to my profile?
- Facebook Can Reveal If You’re Gay? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Facebook Knows If You’re Gay, Use Drugs, Or Are a Republican (slashdot.org)
- What Are Your Facebook Likes Revealing About You? (Hint: It’s a lot) (webpronews.com)