Home Media These People Are Insane - Facebook and Behavioural Advertising

These People Are Insane – Facebook and Behavioural Advertising



Some lady apparently employed by Cambridge University comes us with the most insane Facebook proposal yet. She is:

Dr Jennifer Cobbe is a researcher and member of Cambridge University’s Trust & Technology Initiative

She is writing at The Guardian.

Her point is Facebook, democracy, data, burble, burble and therefore:

At a minimum, behavioural advertising should be banned

She’s insane. Or profoundly ignorant and people at Cambridge aren’t that, are they?

Behavioral advertising is a technique used by online advertisers to present targeted ads to consumers by collecting information about their browsing behavior.

Quite why this is terrible, something that has to be banned, is not explained. It is, after all, just people trying to work out what you might be interested in so as to show you the ads for things you might be interested in.

At which point consider the old form of advertising. You make miniature but workable copper boilers. They’re suitable for model makers and those who seriously play with toy train sets and the like. OK. You’d now like to advertise these copper boilers of yours.

So, you book the full page ad opposite Razzle’s Wife of the Week slot*.

Hmm, maybe not. So, the half page in the Spectator’s book review section.

Well – how about the classifieds section of Embroidery Weekly?

No, you go to Model Train Monthly and book an ad in their “copper boilers we have known” special issue for October.

This is behavioural advertising. You are slicing and dicing the general population into those you wish to advertise to for your specific product. You are doing so by associating what they already read, their habits, with potential interest in your product.

Facebook’s just good at this, they’re not doing anything new. Which is why someone who thinks they are is either ignorant or insane.




  1. Of all the many legitimate reasons to criticize Facebook a University ninny has to invent some nonsense. Taxpayers’ funding at work.

  2. “At a minimum, behavioural advertising should be banned”

    How would you draft such a law? The left wing have a very odd view of the world – they see it as full of individual victims, and each time they identify one they want to put a law in place to stop the specific act they don’t like. We now have vast numbers of strange laws which, of course, get bent well away from their original purpose.

    Ideally, the Left would like to bring back Acts of Attainder…

  3. Facebook is marvellous. Their algos have worked out I like red wine, am single and like gardening. Er hang on, maybe I should go to the tinder option.

  4. Obviously, thats not the point . The point is that facebook/youtube /instagram all maximise user engagement – ie, getting people to pay more attention to the stuff on these websites. theres no reason to believe that this is something beneficial to the consumer. just like sane people dont believe that drug peddlers are doing the addict a service. if you click on a trump conspiracy by curiosity, youtube will ensure you’ll get more of that shyte and its presented to you so that that you keep going down the rabbit hole. consumers are rational beings until they are not. evidence? online discourse is polarised and 70 yr olds who have discovered social media are inevitably conspiracy theorists. something must be done. who knows what it is. and who knows who should do it.


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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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