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Desperate for sex? Try Facebook’s new ‘brainwashing’ targeted ad campaigns

Eat a dick, Zuckerberg.

Image: The Daily Dot

Just like every other day, today brings with it three things you can set your watch by: the sunrise, Nancy in accounting’s “Hump Day” joke, and news of Facebook harvesting our data in the most messed up ways imaginable.

Today’s offense? No, not leaving fake Portal reviews on Amazon or violating its own privacy policy to give certain companies access to privileged data. That would be better.


I mean, just look at that goddamn headline. Too crazy to be true, right? Wrong. WRONG. It comes via the Daily Dot, which cites the oft-controversial social media platform’s relationship with a little-known company called The Spinner.

Launched back in April, The Spinner began buying up ad space on Facebook and Instagram almost immediately, purporting to be a “content discovery platforms” that uses data tracking to purchase recommended ad space.

But instead of selling that ad space off to whatever sites you just visited, The Spinner actually allows individual customers to target friends, family members, and whoever else they’d like with ad campaigns designed to elicit certain goals or responses. Campaigns like “Initiate Sex!” and – well, I think “Initiate Sex!” is enough.

[Targeted users] who will see these articles advertised 180 times in a variety of contexts (including on Facebook) over the next three months. One such article, as seen in a screenshot from the Spinner, is “The Importance of Sex for a Happy Marriage,” from marriage.com. It’s unclear whether the sites are aware of their inclusion in such campaigns.

How is this legal?

It isn’t! Probably? Maybe? It doesn’t matter. We all signed away our lives for iTunes long ago.

Even crazier is that The Spinner doesn’t even try to advertise itself as something less insidious than what it actually is. Look at its site. It’s all right there. The company’s VP of social and media, Elliot Shefler, has “no LinkedIn account or any other digital trace,” recently refused to have his photo taken for a Forbes article, and even boasts about his company’s ability to “brainwash” (a direct quote!) its clientele.

“Selling media is the business model of all social networks and almost all newspapers, news sites, and TV channels,” said Shefler in an interview with the Dot. “How is this different? Brands and politicians are already doing it for years. We are giving those abilities [to] the common man.”

Facebook has refused to comment on its exact relationship with The Spinner (go figure) and is currently “investigating The Spinner’s claims.” And if I know anything about ol’ Zucks from recent history, it’s that “investigating” means “finding out how to acquire.”

Does this make you furious? Are you going to share this article on Facebook? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook (ahem).

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Writer. Editor. Barelyknewer. Hate mail can be directed to j j o n e s @ k a r s f o r k i d s d o t e a r t h l i n k

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