Social Question

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

In what ways have you been reminded of how much our online activity is tracked and monitored?

Asked by Earthbound_Misfit (13134points) April 10th, 2017

I know this is going to come as a surprise, but Earthbound_Misfit is not my real name. I have a Facebook page that incorporates my earlier Fluther moniker so I can keep in touch with all my lovely Fluther friends outside of Fluther.

FB just suggested a new friend who happens to be someone I interviewed in my real life. She isn’t in Australia and we have no shared contacts. I think I do follow her on LinkedIn under my real name. It seems clear to me some algorithm has connected my activities online and come up with that suggestion.
Makes me feel a bit icky.

Have you had any reminders about how much our activity online is tracked and monitored? Perhaps you checked out a subscription for Trainspotters Monthly and were then fed an advert for a Trainspotting weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. You can be serious or funny in your responses. Bought undies at Marks and Spencers and Facebook fed you a Depends ad?

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27 Answers

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I know FB suggests friends based on my proximity to them. Seems like when location services peggs two people as being colocated for a certain length of time it assumes you may want to friend them. A little creepy.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I haven’t emailed this person, looked at anything to do with her and have no connection apart from interviewing her when I was in Canada about four? years ago. It was weird to see her name come up under my ‘fake’ FB page. It did give me the creeps.

She’s lovely and I almost clicked to add as a friend, but then I realised she might wonder who this crazy person is with a weird name and a cat face!

chyna's avatar

My sister in law was talking to a nurse at the nursing home her grandmother is in. Talking and nothing more. Didn’t exchange phone numbers, facebook pages, nothing.
The next day that woman was suggested as a friend to my sister in law.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Spooky FB!

Does she have a Samsung TV?

chyna's avatar

Not sure what brand they have. Why?

Zaku's avatar

The worst one recently was I was looking for cat boarding companies near a certain airport, using my mobile device.

Next day, I saw an add for cat boarding near that airport, on Facebook on a completely different computer.

That BS should be opt-in only.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@chyna, information leaked by Wikileaks said Samsung TVs were used by the CIA to spy on people.

Cooper_Saldana's avatar

When I hit that moose that I talked about on that question about grave animal encounters the passing motorist that pulled my car back on the highway talked to me for a minute and told me his name and I added his info to my contact list on my phone in case I needed a witness regarding the accident.
The next day he showed up on the “People I may know list” on Facebook.
I’m assuming he checked out my profile or does Facebook go through your phone and import all contacts??
Kinda creepy.
Also I kept complaining about the keyboard on my LG phone on a site similar to fluther and immediately I got an update from sent to me from LG ???
I searched for an orthodontist on Google one time and then was on a dating site and ads for othodontists kept showing up at the bottom of the screen.
I also cover both camera lenses on my phone so nobody can see me through my phone camera.
Mark Zuckerberg does the same thing I heard.

Kardamom's avatar

Either they’ve got me all wrong, or they’re reading into something. On Pinterest, over the last 6 months or so, they’ve been giving me ads for plus size women’s clothing, even though I have deleted them and said they “weren’t my taste” considering that I don’t even approach being plus size, and I never look at clothing sites. Maybe it’s because I save a lot of recipes and they think I eat them all. Lol.

Berserker's avatar

Whenever you look stuff up on Google and then go on FB, your feed will suggest pages that relate to what you looked up. Also happens when I rent movies or buy videogames on PlayStation Network.

That may just be bots or wtv though, calculating shit and ’‘spamming’’ you, instead of lizard men controlling the government.

Also, fluoride is in your water.

Sneki95's avatar

“I know this is going to come as a surprise, but Earthbound_Misfit is not my real name.”
Oh, shit! I’d never have guessed. :D

As for the question: I went to Imdb recently. I don’t have an account there or anything, but when I checked some moves, the “movies you might like” part started giving me movies I’ve checked before. It’s not the movies similar to the one whose page I’m checking, but the ones I’ve seen before. It feels like it’s remembering what pages I’ve seen.
I noticed this on other sites too, like the site would remember what I’ve been looking/reading/listening, even though I don’t have an account.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Berserker, no fluoride in my water lady!

Yes, except I hadn’t looked at anything to do with this woman. It was just weird. Maybe a coincidence. I just can’t see how. You know how long it’s been since I was in Canada, and I haven’t been in contact with her since then.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Sneki95 it happened to me too. It seems that the site keep track of my IP address. If you feel uncomfortable about that you can go incognito on your browser. Work for me in many occasions.

To answer the question: I don’t experience similar thing on Facebook, probably because I don’t pay much attention, but similar things happens to me on other sites. I was in Thailand for a month and I used the internet there to go to several sites. For a while the ads I saw were in Thai. When I went back to my country I go to different sites you know, I just search random information on Google. Sometimes I see ads in Thai again even though I no longer have any connection to Thailand except for occasional talk with Thai friends on Facebook.

Maybe Google is behind this…

rojo's avatar

I got a FB question asking if I knew a particular person. This person was someone I dealt with in a business setting over half a decade ago and I have not been in contact with them since. We have a single possible connection in terms of a real person and they are not friends on FB nor have they been in contact for the past five years or more. The only possible connection, as I think about it, is through my phone contact list and why would it single out this one particular person? I rarely use my phone for online services, especially not FB; it is slow, cumbersome and not worth the effort, what my daughter calls a Samsung POS. I guess I will look for more “possible contacts” in the future and see if this is perhaps the source of the leak.

JLeslie's avatar

When I shop at Target (a store here in the states) and then an hour later when I log onto Facebook there are Target ads on my page.

Searching the web for travel destinations or products, and then ads pop up for related items on my Facebook.

Getting a postcard in the mail (regular snail mail) for a product, and then seeing an ad on Facebook.

Sort of related: taking a photo, and then it popping into Facebook, and Facebook asking me if I want to post it. I really want to turn that off, I wish I knew how to do it.

It all freaks me out.

jca's avatar

Once on FB, recently, I was engaged in a discussion about pressure cookers. Not googling pressure cookers, just talking with friends on a friend’s page about pressure cookers. Sure enough, what shows up? An ad for pressure cookers.

Another time at work, I was talking about some obscure appliance. What showed up in FB? An ad for that obscure appliance. I was like, what, is there a recording device listening to me talk about this? LOL. It really was weird, though, because it wasn’t something I googled or looked for online in any way.

stanleybmanly's avatar

As far as I know, I’ve had no interest in or involvement with linkedin, yet would constantly get “invitations” from friends and acquaintances to “linkup”. When I would question these folks, they knew nothing about the so-called invitations. The invitations have now transformed into “Do you know so-and-so?” The message then proceeds to tout some aspect of so-and-so’s personal business or achievements that I find intrusive and bordering on crass. These things happen in waves. I can go weeks with nothing from linked in, but I’ve noticed that when I email people that I haven’t contacted in a while, there will often be a linkedup note within a day asking whether I know them then asking whether I know a list of names purportedly known by my friend. Kinda creepy

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are you aware that if you just look up someone on FB, or they look you up, one or both of you will get a friend suggestions down the line?
Keep that in mind when you are looking up an ex.

Cooper_Saldana's avatar

That’s why I get scared when I try to flirt with women that I know on Facebook and then get friend suggestions that are guys who live in the same city she does.
It makes me think her exes are watching me.
I’m just gonna use dating sites because it’s a little more private, I guess?
Facebook is a little dangerous in my opinion.

ucme's avatar

I am inundated with job requests from Carstairs is beside himself with worry & self doubt, as if I would fire him…mwaaahhh!!

AshlynM's avatar

Ads on facebook that are of things I have searched for online, they’re very accurate.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Thanks everyone. @ucme, poor Carstairs. You really need to stop going to the site just to wind him up.

And yes @AshlynM, sometimes it really is quite unnerving.

chyna's avatar

Also I have noticed that if I’m on my computer at work looking up things, I find that those items pop up on my computer at home on my facebook page. And I can’t even look at facebook on my work computer.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@chyna, that’s weird. I’m getting paranoid now! :D

chyna's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I know! I was looking at outdoor fountains and now they are showing up on my Facebook feed. Someone please explain this to me.

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