The Ads We Deserve


Facebook has made a great many terrible promises to a great many terrible people about all of the terrible ways that those terrible people — and Facebook! — can make a lot of money using the incredibly personal data extracted from users to sell them terrible products. Not all of those promises have panned out. But one can get an approximate sense of how genuinely anxious one should be, as a Facebook user, by how genuinely excited the terrible people become at the prospect of one of these promises. (It’s a roughly inverse relationship: The more excited they are, the more unnerved one can choose to feel. It’s like when somebody guffaws loudly on CNBC, the appropriate response is a deep, guttural sensation of sickness. Anyway.) Here’s what some terrible people saying Facebook’s new advertising platform, Atlas, which will let them track users and display ads based on their Facebook data not just on Facebook, but e v e r y w h e r e:

“Mobile has been a very hard thing for us to do,” said Jonathan Nelson, chief executive of Omnicom Digital. “This Atlas solution is a huge step forward in making mobile marketing more effective.”

“Nobody else besides Facebook has the depth of data about individuals,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at the research firm eMarketer.

“Facebook has deep, deep data on its users. You can slice and dice markets, like women 25 to 35 who live in the Southeast and are fans of ‘Breaking Bad,’ “ said Rebecca Lieb, a digital advertising and media analyst at the Altimeter Group, a research firm. The new Atlas platform, she said, “can track people across devices, weave together online and offline.”

They seem quite excited. How do you feel?

Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife