Monday, October 06, 2008

Does Your Facebook Make You Fat?


An article in The Washington Post reports that Facebook users who come across dieting ads may actually be setting themselves up. Advertisers are privy to the type of person you are based on your profile and the content of messages you send. A lot of diet talk? Muffin top, you are.

What type of ads appear on your Facebook (or other favorite web page) home? Does this relate to what you reveal?

25 comments:

nightgigjo said...

I don't know why in the world I would see so many diet ads on Facebook (and I do). I don't do diet talk.

Honestly? I think it's because I've listed my gender as female.

JordanBaker said...

My ads are all for this jewish matchmaker site called like, JeWed which I find a very unfortunate name.

Also... I'm not jewish.

Megan said...

I click the "thumbs down" on all of the diet ads. I hate them. They are insulting to me and to all women. Do men get those ads?

christina said...

I hate the diet ads, and there is NO diet talk on my facebook (or in my life in general). I agree it is b/c i listed my gender as female. I always thumb downs them and mark them as offensive. It has seemed to decrease the frequency.

Miss said...

My ads tend to be about World of Warcraft, often wanting me to buy gold (which is a bannable offense in the game if you're caught). Sometimes it's for websites about WoW strategy, too.

Probably because one of my features is "I Play WoW" where I can list my main characters...

Michelle said...

I will second all the comments here about seeing diet ads despite having nothing about diet or weight in my profile. I do mention "health" somewhere, but the ads I'm seeing ("Learn How Supermodels Get Thin!") have nothing to do with health.

I also get a lot of wedding ads, which can be attributed to listed my relationship status as "Engaged." Another engaged friend of mine said she gets the same thing.

And among the wedding ads are, of course, the wedding diet ads.

himawari said...

I do occasional HAES talk (posted articles and the like) and I have interests like "health" and "cooking" and "running" because those are, um, INTERESTS of mine. I have anti-diet talk, but not diet talk. Interestingly, I get the diet ads, probably because of the anti-diet talk, and I keep marking them as "offensive," but I still keep getting them.

CL said...

I also see diet ads constantly, and there is nothing on my profile about dieting or my weight. I think it's because I'm in my 20s and female. I click thumbs down on them, but it hasn't seemed to help.

CookieGirl said...

Ever since I changed my "status" to married, I get mostly newborn baby ads ALL OVER. Funny enough, my husband's ads are all "hot young girls in your city, click here to meet them!"
Gotta love this world.

Anonymous said...

wow i'm glad you brought this up, because it really bothers me that there are soooo many diet ads. the funny thing is, i don't do any diet talk, but its everywhere. honestly, i think its because i'm female. its absolutely annoying. ugh!

auntiepeachvintage said...

I have a livejournal that CONSTANTLY shows fad diet ads about losing 250692 pounds in 10 days, or the "ten secrets to losing body fat". There are ten?!

As for Facebook, I find seeing Julie Skinny Pants from high school triggering enough, let alone "tips to rid yourself of belly fat". It comes at us from enough angles on that website, must they stuff ads down our throats too?

Anonymous said...

I do get those, used to get them on my LiveJournal too (before I upgraded my account). I often give them only a fleeting glance then ignore them. Truth be told I didn't ever notice the thumbs up/thumbs down where I could give feedback on them. Now that I know it's there, I'll thumbs down them (when I think of it). Really though, I don't spend enough time on there to worry about it, and when I am on there it's for a specific reason so I'm not worrying about the ads. *shrugs*
--Emily

Femaleclaws said...

Most of my ads are for fashion stuff - only got one which was related to baking. Unfortunately the fashion ads are really not the kind of stuff I like (and they're all mostly sites with no plus sizes) so... meh.

CatsPuke said...

I was horrified to see an advert recently on facebook. It purported to be a message in the inbox of my honesty box (I know I know I'm a sucker for gadget type things). Only it said 2 of your friends think that you need to lose weight.

It was an advert for some diet or other. I was horrifed. Absolutely horrified. I never talk of diets etc on my profile.

I agree with nightgigjo, I think it's because me gender's listed as female.

saa said...

On myspace I get lots of dating ads (i'm single) and i get diet ads, too. My diet talk is usually about the negative impact of the media on body image, so who knows. I had a huge "muffin top" banner diet ad at the top of my page and i changed my headline to "i think muffin tops are cute" (i do) and the ad went away... Coincidence? heh. I am pretty good at ignoring most of the ads though.

Anonymous said...

Diet ads pop up everywhere, on all kinds of blogging and website formats, irregardless of the content. It's very annoying.

Alicia said...

I changed my status from "engaged" back to "single" after I got sick of Facebook ads telling me to lose weight for my wedding. What I found most unnerving was that, while the ads I got were exclusively wedding-related, my boyfriend - whose profile also stated he was engaged - was getting ads on how to meet "hot girls"!

ps22 said...

I also don't do diet talk on my Facebook page, but I think they post these ads based on age, gender, geographic location, etc. And given the diet-obsessed culture we live in, I imagine that is why many of us get them. I also get the ones about dating websites and I don't have my relationship status posted either. I find it unfortunate that advertising towards women seems to be primarily composed of playing on insecurities about weight and relationship status.

I recently started a new work schedule, and so I have thursdays off. I was shocked at how intense this sort of advertising is during the daytime. It was one weight/diet/self-improvement commercial after another, targeted towards women.

Kristin said...

I seem to always get ads about breast implants. "Safe" ones, of course.

azusmom said...

Um, I haven't figured out how to set up a MySpace page yet.
Finally, my complete and utter lack of technical knowledge comes in handy!

zubeldia said...

Mostly I get cycling related ones... but also diet ones. I NEVER diet talk, either, and wonder if it's because I have sports and stuff listed under interests...

I am happy to say that it's almost all bike and, oh, I think tennis, too.

Jessica said...

I constantly have diet ads on facebook, and I agree with the other posters that it's most likely just because I'm female and in my 20s. I don't talk about body image or food on facebook (except for once when I sent a friend a link to this site in a facebook message).
Also, the thumbs-up/thumbs-down hasn't been all that useful -- I give thumbs down to all the diet ads, and they're immediately replaced by other diet ads.

Kate said...

I took my gender off my Facebook profile (I'm a woman) and the diet ads disappeared overnight.

Tangerina said...

Oh, this sucks. I put up an anti-diet quote and now that you mention it I get more muffin top ads. Oh well. I just mark them as offensive. It's like fun whack a mole.

Christina said...

When I changed my gender on Facebook from Female to Unspecified, the diet ads went away entirely. I think I've seen four or five since then. That was months ago.

I was so excited when I realized I could make the ads go away just by making my gender go away (!). Until then I'd used the "thumbs down" option for months, calling the ads misleading, offensive, etc. No change.

I am highly unimpressed about what this says about Facebook's perception and treatment of women.