Looking at the “Ads” section of the Facebook downloaded Archive file shows a list of “Ads Topics”, apparently based in part on text analysis, page Likes and Group memberships.
- For example, Facebook thinks I am interested in “Glencoe, Illinois” presumably because I made posts about the FIRST Robotics at Glencoe High School (in Oregon) where I had been a volunteer engineering mentor.
- A post I made about using the Epic Privacy Browser was translated into “Epic (2013) film”. What?
- Frequent interactions with a friend named “Zane” resulted in an Ad tag of “Zane (author)”. What?
- My photography of various living history events led to an Ads tag of “Humanities” interest.
- A comment about a music performance in Edinburgh, Scotland got me identified as interested in Edinburgh, Scotland.
- I own the RTL-SDR software defined radio dongle and had been a member of an RTL-SDR group on Facebook. Facebook tagged me as interested in German TV network “RTL Television”. What?
- The list of “Advertisers with you contact info” includes an overwhelming number of business operating exclusive in Scandinavian countries, and a long list of countries operating in Europe and Canada, only. Why were these advertisers wasting their money?
These observations suggest Facebook’s ad targeting was not good.
Facebook data shows they know I have a BS in computer science, an MS in software engineering, and an MBA, which are 3 of the most sought after college degrees, by recruiters, in the U.S. Companies are desperate to find tech workers – so desperate they plead with Congress to import workers from outside the U.S.!
So how many tech recruiters appear on the list of advertisers targeting me?
- One tech recruiter that specializes in hiring people in India to fill U.S. jobs.
- A general jobs recruiter in the U.K. that specializes in hiring people in China.
- A second U.K. recruiter that hires for general STEM jobs in the U.K. only.
- A general job recruiter in France, for jobs in France, in French.
- A Swedish company that does traffic planning – in Sweden – in Swedish.
- Finally, one recruiter that seeks positions for audio/visual staff in the United States.
Either Facebook’s ad targeting is useless – or – as documented elsewhere – is used by U.S. firms to avoid hiring older workers by targeting ads only at those under age 35.
Even though I had been a member of technology groups with titles like “Software Engineering” and had the correct degrees, I never saw any tech recruiting ads on Facebook. The simplest explanation is that tech employers used the Facebook platform to discriminate against workers outside their target range.