Dear pregnant women: By the time your children can speak, they will not know what privacy is.
"What was privacy, Mom?"
"It was when your information was a secret," you will reply.
"Awesome!" s/he will explain, and take to Facebook and Twitter and various brain-wave devices to tell everyone about this cool thing "privacy," a magic that used to exist when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Milli Vanilli was still together.
Rather unsurprisingly, a pregnancy feature added to Facebook last year that allowed members to add unborn babies as family members is now being mined for advertising purposes, to the distress of women like Siobhan Freegard, the founder of parenting forum Netmums.
Freegard claims that it's "disturbing" that Facebook has assured expectant mothers that they wouldn't be using "life event" data for marketing purposes, but when a woman announces her pregnancy on Facebook, the ads on her page become ones for maternity clothes and baby gear, and other items that pull from information on the due date and gender of the baby. "While many women willingly give away personal details about their pregnancies to marketing firms, they do this knowingly and usually in return for free product samples or discount vouchers," says Freegard.
Look, everyone knows (at least, I thought they knew) that Facebook is basically a teeming, wriggling mass of lies. At this point, after countless episodes of privacy-setting subterfuge, general outrage, rinse, and repeat, you'd have to be living under a rock not to realize that everything on your Facebook profile is being mined for advertisers. While Facebook maintains that they've never passed on specific profile information to advertising groups, they do allow them to select groups of members to target based on... well, there's nothing it could really be based on except, uh, specific profile information. So there's that.
And it's not infallible, either. For the record, the ads on my Facebook feed at the moment are for a "NYE sexy ruched evening dress," traveler's insurance and a crocheted baby beanie from eBay. Which, if nothing else, is a premonition that New Year's Eve is going to be interesting.
'Facebook Criticized For Targeting Pregnant Women With Advertising' [Business Insider]
Image via S.Borisov/Shutterstock