John Oliver Shredded Facebook With a Spoof of the Social Platform’s Recent Apology Ad

‘We came here for your data’

A different take on Facebook's ad campaign Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/HBO
Headshot of David Cohen

John Oliver had some fun with Facebook’s recent ad campaign during Sunday night’s installment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

UPDATE: The clip appears to have been pulled from YouTube due to a copyright violation.

The segment began with the social network’s actual television ad: “We came here for the friends, and we got to know the friends of our friends. Then, something happened. We had to deal with spam, clickbait, fake news and data misuse. That’s going to change. From now on, Facebook will do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy so we can all get back to what made Facebook good in the first place: friends. Because when this place does what it was built for, then we all get a little closer.”

Oliver then cut in with a loud, “Fuck you!,” before tearing into the ad, saying, “Facebook was doing literally exactly what it was built for. That’s why it was worth $600 billion. You didn’t build history’s most profitable data harvesting machine by accident. It’s not penicillin or Applebee’s cheeseburger egg rolls.”

After bringing up the social network’s controversial use of the hurricane aftermath in Puerto Rico last October to promote its new virtual reality features—”Just a small tip for future virtual reality demonstrations: If you feel like you absolutely have to go to a place where something horrific just happened, at the very least, don’t have your avatars be smiling. That’s like going to the killing fields and throwing on the dog face filter”—Oliver presented his revamped version of Facebook’s ad.

“You came here for the friends. You got to know the friends of your friends. We came here for your data and the data of everyone you’ve ever come into contact with, from old friends from middle school, to your grandma, to your grandma’s friends from middle school. And your data enabled us to make a fuck ton of ad money from corporations, app developers and political campaigns.

“Then we discovered your uncle used to have ties to the Klan, and guess what? We realized we could make a fuck ton of money off that shit, too. Seriously, guys: We’re making so much money off of you, you don’t even understand, But then, you found out about it, and we had to testify and issue bullshit apology ads, all so we could lose $120 billion.

“But here’s the thing: Nothing’s really gonna change. We’ve got your data. We’ve got your friends. And really: Where are you going to go? Friendster? Fuck you. That’s why we’re going to keep finding subtle ways to violate your privacy, so we can carry on doing what this place was built for: Functioning as a haven for racist trolls, a way for you to feel jealous of people you haven’t seen in years and a place for you to fritter your life away watching videos of cats eating corn, dogs riding horses and kids beating the shit out of each other, all while we make an ungodly amount of money.

“Facebook: We own who you are.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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