Facebook fail

Recently it was revealed that Facebook manipulated some users’ news feeds in 2012 to see if the happy or sad emotions expressed in their friends’ posts affected the happiness or sadness of their own posts. It’s kinda creepy, I agree. But I thought you might find it reassuring to know that even though Facebook is all powerful, it can still be kinda stupid–just like powerful people! The all-knowing Wizard of Oz was just a huckster behind a curtain, and the Facebook algorithm often reveals itself to be less all-knowing than we think it is too.

Example 1:
Last year my friend Andy opened a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis called Bee Coffee Roasters. (If you stop by, tell him Jennette sent you! He adopted Java Bean’s sister, so that makes him family.) Here’s how Facebook thought I should react to the news:

Yes, Andy would definitely be surprised by that

Yes, Facebook, Andy would definitely be surprised if I got him a Starbucks card to celebrate the launch of his store. However, I would not be surprised if he never spoke to me again after that.

Example 2
Facebook needs help with geography.

Where is the Indianapolis Star located?

We should schedule Facebook a play date with Google Maps.

Example 3
Even though my Facebook profile specifically states I’m a web designer, Facebook feels the need to insert this sponsored post in my feed every now and then.

Wix

Really, Facebook? You think I need some cookie-cutter template builder to create a web site? I actually feel insulted whenever I see this ad. They read everything I post to my wall and it’s still like they don’t know me at all!

And Facebook isn’t the only algorithm with issues. I logged into Spotify to listen to music the other day and it gave me this suggestion:

I will never want to ride the train

No, Spotify, I can guarantee you I will never, ever, ever want to ride the train. Thank you.

Has anyone else experienced a humorous Facebook fail?

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Natalie • June 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Not a fail, but I find it scary the way I am bombarded with ads of a certain type after I visit a website. Look at a couple of houses for sale, get weeks of ads for real estate agents. Look at a weight loss site, years of ads for weight loss pills and powders and gimmicks.

My recent annoyance with Facebook was that my newsfeed showed as “trending” the result of a competition that was not airing here in Australia until that night! I was regally pissed off.

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JenFul • July 1, 2014 at 12:19 am

@Natalie – I do find it creepy when I see an ad in my Facebook feed for an item I looked at on ebay.

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Meg • July 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

http://simpsonsparadox.com/2011/01/when-contextual-ads-attack.html

Facebook! You literally have a list of things I like! Why would you do this???

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Dagny Kight • July 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Facebook can’t decide if I am gay or if I want to meet an older man.

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Janis • July 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Aside from FB being somewhat of a fail inherently, the biggest one was that since I’ve clicked like on a number of pages related to Italian-Americans, being as I AM one, FB decided I wanted to play some stupid game called “Mafia Wars.” Yeah, because I love being reminded that the rest of the world thinks we’re all criminals. :-(

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Tiff • July 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Not on FB, but I recently got a free subscription to Vogue magazine because I’d shopped at Land’s End. What do you make of that?

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Blue • July 1, 2014 at 11:28 pm

mine loves to ask if i live in random states all over the us… but then, the ads on the side will be for somewhere completely different. so do you think i live in california or minneapolis? (i live nowhere near either)

my biggest peeves though are when i am looking at something online, and it will start showing up constantly in my facebook feed, usually after i’ve already bought the item.

home depot is bad about this. i once made the mistake of clicking on a toilet seat with a built in night light… because it was funny…. and it’s been offering it to me repeatedly for months now… long after i’ve already replaced the seat (with a non-lit version)

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Rebecca • July 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I have not had such an egregious fail, but do enjoy reading bloggers’ experiences. The Starbucks ad cracked me up!!

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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

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