6 creepy things you might not know Facebook is doing

6 creepy things you might not know facebook is doing mark zukerberg

Make no mistake, Facebook has always been creepy. Even when it was just you and your college bros, it was creepy – monumentally less so, but there’s no way to create a virtual network where you peep and prod into other people’s lives without things getting weird.

Try and say with a straight face that back then you never went on a spree of looking through every one of your crush’s photos until you reached the end. Look me in the eye and say you’ve never once looked through a near stranger’s wedding pictures. Just go and ahead and lie and pretend that the idea of assessing a back-and-forth Wall exchange between two people never occurred to you.

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Of course it’s all gotten progressively creepier – and here are a few things to prove it.

Poking suggestions

Remember poking? It was a cute little “hey there, friend!” back in 2005. Now it’s the equivalent of getting heckled by a group of construction workers in an isolated alley (is that offensive to construction workers?). Somewhere along the way, the poke started creeping people out and became unacceptable.

Facebook actually buries pokes now, under the Apps section of the left hand navigation bar. And if you click it, you’ll probably see a few unfortunate pokes, but you’ll also see this:

fb suggested pokes

Suggested pokes?! What is this based on!? It’s not weird enough that Facebook allows people to poke me, but it’s urging me on to do it to other people.

Ad targeting

I know how ad targeting works, and yes I know there are ample ways to get around it – but that’s beside the point. What’s creepy is that it’s getting just a little too good …

For instance, I used a gift suggestion service recently. One item was a vintage team sweatshirt, so I clicked to see if they carried my beloved Oregon Ducks or Portland Trail Blazers. After not immediately being convinced, I clicked out.

Now I’m being aggressively targeted – in the News Feed, not the sidebar – with language that directly suggests they know I was on the fence.

fb nordstrom ad

more fb adsAt right, two stores I spent money at this week … but whose websites I did not visit. There was also an ad for a fast track pass for toll roads appeared, after a recent trip to Virginia in which I had to use a toll four times – none of which was posted about but I used my credit card to pay for. This is just evidence that the whole Facebook monitoring your real life spending thing is at work. But that doesn’t make it any less creepy.

Facebook’s new complex

It’s not just virtual Facebook that creeps; Facebook in real life can get weird, too. Case in point: The company is building a complex that includes apartments, a sports bar, and a doggy dare care … all walking distance to the Facebook offices. So that employees can live, eat, and breath Facebook all the time, always, forever.

Basically, this means Facebook isn’t just a website anymore, it’s a town. I feel a Soylent Green-type scream sesh coming on.

Update your info

Facebook’s always trying to pry more information out of us – which no one is really allowed to get that mad about anymore. We know the deal. But the new iOS 7 updates sort of lead you into believing you have to update your info: If you hit the “more” tab, you’ll probably see a notification ping of sorts next to “update your info.”

update your info

Oh! There are eight things I need to do! When you go in, there’s no such thing – just a questionnaire trying to squeeze what juice is left in you out. This includes a request for your street address. What am I, new?

Out of curiosity, I continued through. These were the books Facebook asked if I’d read.

fb book questions

I’m insulted.

Push notifications

There’s also been some talk about a new push notification Facebook is trying out! This gem:

Whoa. Not even trying to hide the creeping there, are we? You might need some help on phrasing these things … 

Face recognition and tagging

There’s always been an ick factor to Facebook’s face recognition software, and there have been plenty of privacy advocates raising concerns about the technology. But it’s still workin’ away, reading our faces and labeling our photos! In fact it may extend to include profile pictures, and since these are all public regardless of your privacy settings, it means Facebook’s already enormous database of faces matched to identity will grow larger and larger.

vicki fbpop out

Now, when I upload photos, the machine inside Facebook almost automatically is able to recognize who is in them, label the picture, say I’m with those people, and then quickly pop out the face of anyone unidentified and try to get me to tag it.

It doesn’t ask me if this is my sister anymore – it knows. It knows. 

Smart Home

Amazon sent me a Christmas tree. Did it leave me pining for more?

Is driving to a Christmas tree lot or farm to get some fresh pine a daunting task that you dread every year? Good news: Amazon is now selling real Christmas trees with free shipping. We decided to order one to see how it went.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.

Liven up the holiday party with the 10 best white elephant gifts for $20 or less

We tracked down 10 awesome gifts with the perfect mixture of humor, practicality, and most importantly, affordability. Take a look at the best white elephant gifts under $20 and get ready to get your white elephant on.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.