Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Today I was playing around on Facebook’s advertising interface, and found myself learning a little more than I want to know about Facebook’s employees. Facebook is happy to tell prospective advertisers how many of its own workers are into kinky sex stuff. (40, FYI.)You probably know that Facebook makes its money from letting advertisers precisely target users based on what they put in their Facebook profiles. Using Facebook’s ad interface, you can target, for example, only male graduates of Dartmouth who live in New York and who have expressed interest in kickboxing and Harry Potter. Facebook’s targeted ads make privacy advocates nervous, since they can do things like out individual gay users.
They can also shed light on the sexual practices of a whole company. To help advertisers, Facebook offers an estimate of the number of users that fall under the specific criteria selected. Unlike a normal Facebook search, this estimate includes people who have made their profiles private, since everyone sees ads regardless of their privacy settings. As you can see, Facebook says about 40 people who work for Facebook are into the, uh, non-traditional sexual practices I chose to target. Not bad for a company of 3,000 employees. (Of course, many people on Facebook claim to work at the company but don’t, so a lot of these probably aren’t employees. But that doesn’t stop Facebook from claiming to sell access to 40 kinky Facebook employees.)
So, log in to Facebook, click on create an ad, and see what you can find out for yourself by targeting different organisations and interests. You can learn all sorts of interesting stuff. (Works best with large corporations, churches, or colleges):
Megachurch pastor Jay Osteen recently called homosexuality a “sin.” But he might want to know a few dozen members of his flock at Lakewood Church are openly gay men.
Palestinian activists might use it to argue New York Times employees demonstrate a pro-israel bias.
Incoming BYU freshmen will be interested to learn just how boring the next four years will be.
A surprising number of employees of World Wrestling Entertainment have the musical taste of 13-year-old girls.
And Coca-Cola may want to institute an anti-Pepsi program.
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