As an internet user, you realise that your information is out there. You need to register to read newspapers, buy things, use social media. That information is often given to third parties, who use it to send you information. Your usage habits are used to tailor ads for you. Your political opinions have even been used to influence elections, as in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Sometimes other slightly creepy things happen. You will talk about something and then – coincidentally – it is appears as a sponsored post in your Facebook feed.
Yesterday though, something really scary happened. We have several animal lamps in our apartment. My favourites being a monkey and a rat.
Last night we were sprawled on different ends of our L-shaped couch, surfing aimlessly around the internet on our devices while we half-watched a movie. My husband was looking for a lamp that continued the animal theme but was slightly different. Without saying anything about what he was doing or what he was showing me, he held his iPad out to me to show me something. I looked at it from my end of the couch, said ‘that’s unusual. But expensive’. He replied ‘maybe it’s real. Oh, eww’ and that was it. We tend to talk in shorthand, and we speak English to each other. He was on an international site.
This morning on Facebook I received a sponsored ad for EXACTLY THE SAME LAMP! In Swedish. In Sweden. How on earth does that happen???
Then… I went into Bodum one day a week or so ago. I hardly ever go into Bodum but they had a sale and we are very into buying things for our kitchen at the moment. I looked around for about 2 minutes and went home. Next thing, this pops up on Facebook…how does that happen?