Sponsored Ads on Facebook Serve Up “Liked” Pages from Female Friends


I’ve been on Facebook for about a week now. Every time I log in, I feel dizzy. The interface is clunky. There are too many ads–ads in the newsfeed, ads along the sides, and ads underneath photo pop-up. Facebook, circa 2006-2009, used to have a pretty clean interface. Now, not so much.

Since I log in via VPN, many of the ads I see are personalized from the log data, which includes the IP address. As of this post, I am currently logged into an address in Chicago, so I am experiencing some ads for DePaul University in Facebook. Here are some other ads I am experiencing:

Olive Garden Ad

Olive Garden sponsored advertisement as seen on Facebook, September 1, 2014

This Olive Garden ad might be pretty standard for several Facebook users. There is nothing in my limited Facebook data to suggest that I would be interested in Olive Garden.

I am seeing some advertisements, however, where Facebook friends “like” the brand, and since the friends like the page, then Facebook algorithms show these ads to me in case I might be interested in these pages as well:

Facebook friend "likes" one of the sponsored ads, so I see it as well.

Facebook friend “likes” one of the sponsored ads, so I see it as well.

And, what’s interesting about these sponsored ads that I experience in my newsfeed is how Facebook’s algorithms build in “sex” into their equations. All of the sponsored ads I currently experience that are “liked” by a Facebook friend have “female” as their sex category.

I am curious to know if others experience these “personalized” ads based on their sex or if there are extreme differences. If you experience either, please let me know.

Oh, and beginning this week, I will be playing with the relationship status on Facebook to learn what content Facebook’s algorithms will present to me. For the week of 9/1/14 through 9/7/14, I will be “widowed.”


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