Targeted Ads Are Making Me Wonder Who the Internet Thinks I Am??

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Targeted Ads Are Making Me Wonder Who the Internet Thinks I Am?? Listen to this article

I have an odd issue going on, especially on Instagram and Reddit. There are some weird and wildly inaccurate ads following me around. Yes, targeted ads are how these sites make money, and I don’t begrudge their advertising. I do think they might need to tweak their algorithm because they’re a touch off in their assessment of me.

Here’s an assortment of targeted ads I’ve received on both Reddit and Instagram over the last few months (note that some are possibly NSFW, depending on your workplace):

Based on Reddit and Instagram, I’m apparently a cisgender man with wonky genitalia that doesn’t function correctly, and I’ve recently quit dip. I neglected to get screenshots for some of these, but Reddit also thinks I need to check my sperm count for fertility, and Instagram thinks I’m a short king who needs better-fitting t-shirts.

Note that on Instagram, I listed my gender as declined to share, and the vast majority of the accounts I follow are non-binary and transmasculine influencers. On Reddit, I mostly subscribe to subreddits about television shows, hockey (go Rangers!), and trans/LGBT/non-binary discussions.

To be clear: there’s no shame in any of these, but if companies are relying on Reddit and Instagram’s algorithms to find new audiences for generic Viagra … I’m not the target market. And I don’t need to visit a urologist to confirm I don’t have Peyronie’s disease. Admittedly, I’m 5’7″, so I believe that does qualify me for short king status; I’ll give them that, and I probably could use some new t-shirts too.

Does anyone else find themselves being served targeted ads that are wildly off-base? Why do Reddit and Instagram think I’m a cisgender man with performance issues? Is this because I’m a Rangers fan? If anyone has thoughts on this and how companies come up with these profiles, let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?