Facebook Wants You to Know That You're Fat

Rachel Beckman of the Washington Post has an interesting article out today summarizing her painful experience when she logged into Facebook and received an advertisement which said she had a “Muffin Top” (as pictured to the left). This was technically against Facebook’s terms of service according to her article but after reporting the advertisement as “offensive” it continued to appear at least initially. Soon enough it disappeared though.

Now it’s pretty much impossible for an advertiser to know you are overweight unless you have “Cupcakes and Lard” as an interest. The most likely reason for this advertisement was simply that Rachel is a younger female and that’s the market they were targeting. As Rachel says, “the subliminal goal of product advertising is to make you feel inadequate and ashamed, because you’re not perfect.”

Facebook definitely wants to improve their targeting technology but it walks a thin line as advertisers try extreme methods to get the user’s attention. An even bigger problem for Facebook advertisements? Getting a user’s attention period. One person I was speaking to over dinner the other night said that she hadn’t even realized that Facebook served up advertisements.

That’s because she was too engaged in the content on the site. The next step for Facebook? How about brief intermissions where you are served a quick video clip? I’m sure that would piss a lot of people off but it would make a hell of a lot for Facebook. Doubtful this would ever happen but it’s worth a shot right? At this point Facebook is trying everything and for now it looks like Facebook is going to have to slow down with the “Muffin Top” advertisements.