Facebook Is Sniffing Your Bottom. Are You OK With That?

Facebook Is Sniffing Your Bottom. Are You Okay With That?

Bloody raging, more like

Yesterday I went online to look for a holiday rental. In some place. Some week in the future. That’s about as much information as anyone needs to know about my activities.

But Facebook? Oh, no. They need to know much more than that.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t within an ass’s roar of Facebook when looking for what I wanted online – in fact, on the 2 computers I used to do the search, I wasn’t even logged in to Facebook at the time – it seems that Facebook felt that they had a right to know all about my holiday plans, right down to the exact house I was looking at. I know this because they asked me in an ad, this morning, if I still wanted it.

It’s only when you see something as blatant as this, that you realise just how much snooping Facebook does into your life.

Facebook has become a dog who’s sniffing your bottom. You wish they’d stop, but you’re paralysed: cringing, your tail between your legs, hoping it’ll be all over soon so you can just go and play.

But once your bottom’s been sniffed, there’s no going back.

Have a think about this. Are you aware that Facebook is watching pretty much everything you do online?

Embed from Getty Images


Are you aware, for instance, that they have gone into your phones and computers, and taken note of each and all of the following:

  1. Your internet browsing history;
  2. Every app you have on your phone;
  3. The identity of every single person you’ve ever spoken to or been grouped together with on WhatsApp, and what you’ve said to them;
  4. Your phone and email contacts;
  5. and more obviously, everything you’ve ever liked, shared, commented on, or clicked through to read more of on Facebook?

And all of this happened, despite the fact that I’m a paranoid doomsday merchant who is fanatical about constantly checking her privacy settings, in a vain attempt to actually retain some privacy.

Whatcha Doin’ There?

Facebook is your annoying soon-to-be-ex, who wants to know what you’re doing, who you’re with, and where you’re going. All. The. Time.

Except it’s not the same. It’s not a pathetically desperate, clingy romance gone wrong. This is a very, very large company, snooping into your very small life.


Picture the scene. It’s late. The room is eerily quiet. It’s just you, your computery device, and an impending sense of doom.

Facebook: Whatcha readin’?

You: Oh, nothing important.

Facebook: Seriously. What are you reading?

You: You don’t want to know, believe me.

Facebook: If it matters to you, it matters to me. Just tell me.

You: An article about discoloured toenails. Wait. Did I just say that out loud?

Facebook: Ugh. Gross. But here, look. There’s a lotion you can get for that. It’s called PearlyToe ™. Available with just one click.

You: Why are you handing me a brochure? Did you know about this before?

Facebook: No, of course not. But here’s another leaflet on halitosis, and a 20% discount for laser hair removal. Oh, and do you know John Johnnyton? How about you say hi to him?

You: Who the hell is John Johnnyton?

Facebook: You texted him once about getting a quote for putting shelves into your bathroom, remember?

You: No, I don’t bloody remember! How do you remember?

Facebook: I remember everything, Sweetie. Every. Thing. Look of this photo of you from 7 years ago. Weren’t you better-looking then? Happier? Click here, and there’ll be no more waking up screaming, I promise.


Embed from Getty Images


In The Future Present, Everyone Will Have a Stalker For Fifteen Minutes Years

Because I blog under my real name, I go out of my way to try and maintain as much online privacy as I can otherwise. I need a presence on social media to promote writing stuff, but I thought there were things I could do, to keep the intrusion to a minimum.

I don’t talk online about my personal, non-writing life. I keep no contact lists in any of my email accounts. I refuse every social media request to have a peek into contact lists elsewhere. I removed the Messenger app from my phone. I maintain separate e-mail accounts for social media sign-ups.

And yet Facebook still managed to form a complete profile of who I am, what I’m interested in, and who I talk to. Half of it is complete horseshit. But the other half is so intrusive, it’s downright scary.

For instance: I could go on ad nauseum about all the routes I take to keep my day job separate from my online presence. Suffice to say, I maintain no online contact whatsoever with work colleagues, and never refer to them, or my employer, online.

So can someone then please explain to me how, despite having no mutual social media friends at all, and no email contact outside of internal office systems – where I have no access to Facebook – one of my work colleagues was suggested to me, by Facebook, as someone I knew?

I whittled it down, and realised that in order to make the suggestion, Facebook had to be scanning my phone, where the only online connection I have with this person is firstly, text messages about running late; and second, the fact that we were both once added to the same WhatsApp group, announcing the birth of another colleague’s baby.

You’d Think That’d Be Enough, But No

Highly perturbed by all this, I went in to check my so-called advertising preferences in Facebook (all of which had been kindly picked out for me by the Face****ers), and lo and behold, it appears that I was interested in seeing ads about at least two things which could only have been associated with me if someone was scanning either the apps on my phone, or my personal e-mails.

Facebook Is Sniffing Your Bottom. Are You Okay With That?

I can’t even begin to tell you how cheesed off I am. No matter what precautions I take, Facebook hunt me down. I feel like posting dog poo to their offices. Every day for a month.

But what can I do? Is the only solution to kill my Facebook account, even though I’d rather keep it for the blog if only it behaved itself? Should I tick every single advertising preference category to make their algorithms worthless, or will that only give them sales ammunition? Should I untick everything instead?

And most importantly. Do I really need Facebook, if it means they can violate my basic human right to look up holidays or bodily functions in peace?

If you know, do tell. In the meantime, forget your face. Watch your back.

  96 comments for “Facebook Is Sniffing Your Bottom. Are You OK With That?

  1. May 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Oh, Tara, you dear, sweet child… How fortunate you are to live on the Emerald Isle where Farcebook snooping to try to sell you things is a matter of grave concern. Here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., home of Free Speech and Personal Liberty, ve haff zis organization zat calls itself ze “NSA.” We can only wish they were interested in selling us stuff! Yeah, give me a little Facebook stalking any day…

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Sorry, Jack, this comment ended up in spam for some reason! Shouldn’t have happened. (Perhaps the NSA put it there.) But don’t worry about us here in little old Ireland. The NSA is spying on us too. They’re spying on everyone, you Americans don’t have exclusivity on that just because of where you’re born. However, unlike Facebook, the NSA isn’t even bothering to pretend otherwise, and they’re also not profiting economically from it. I do like the people stealing my information and invading my privacy to be a bit more upfront.


  2. May 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I have so many gripes with Facebook it’s getting ridiculous. Where I was born? Where did I go to school? What was my mother’s maiden name? When did I last go to the toilet? And don’t get me started on pages I’ve liked. Facebook, in it’s infinite wisdom, notifies me whenever a new post appears on some, but won’t even display posts from others on my timeline. And then…and then…Facebook invites me to like similar pages:

    “Oh, we see you like cats. How about liking Cute Kittens in Barcelona?”

    And then…

    (Breathe, Alison, breathe!)

    And then I get a gazillion notifications about the Barcelona kittens and no more from the page I originally liked.

    (“Dear Facebook, I’m now bordering on spontaneous combustion.” “Really? Just click ‘like’ here and we’ll clog your timeline with pictures of fire…”)

    I do apologise for hijacking your blog’s comments with my rant, Tara. The trouble is I still love to share news and photos with friends and family around the world, so Facebook has me by the short and curlies – and knows it!

    Liked by 4 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

      You’re not hijacking anything, Alison, this is another point very close to my heart – Facebook deciding what it is I apparently want to see. It drives me absolutely barmy. They are abusing their position and they know it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became an antitrust issue in time, but we can only hope.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. May 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Honestly, the only thing you can really do is to not use the Internet. Every site is tracking you, Amazon, Google, Apple, probably even WordPress here. It’s the cost of doing business on the Internet, advertising pays the bills and the more targeted the advertising the better. I think the funniest thing is when I do a search on Amazon, find a product I like, buy it and then for the next three weeks see advertisements for that product everywhere, lol. “Hello! I already bought the dang thing!” 😆

    Liked by 4 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

      But you see, I don’t accept that at all. I don’t accept that this is merely ‘the cost of doing business on the Internet’. That would be like saying that if you go into a shop to buy something, it’s okay when you get to the checkout if they put their hands in your pants to get the money, and cop a good feel while they’re at it. It is not okay that Facebook track user activity on completely unrelated, unaffiliated websites and search engines. It is not okay that they disregard every single privacy setting I attempt to put in place whilst pretending to do otherwise.

      And as for targeted advertising – it depends on what you mean by targeting. As per Alison’s comment above, what they call targeted advertising, I call complete and utter spam.

      Liked by 3 people

      • May 12, 2016 at 9:31 am

        Well, it is the truth, you cannot accept it all you like but that doesn’t stop it from being true. I am also not sure why you’re targeting Facebook, when every site does it. These are all free services and the way they can be free is because YOU are the product.

        But I do actually have a solution for you. Not sure if there is a phone browser but for your PC, what you are looking for is the TOR Browser. https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

        It is built specifically to prevent the things you want to prevent. Also offers useful tips to make your browsing even more secure. It looks like Firefox and it is pretty decent.

        Liked by 2 people

        • May 12, 2016 at 9:38 am

          I’m targeting Facebook because no other site I’m using is so blatant about doing what I’ve described above. Their intrusions are more frequent, more numerous, more intrusive, and more patently based on information which was never theirs to have.

          And I get that it’s true. But by just shrugging and accepting it, it goes unchecked and only gets worse. Why would anyone do that, instead of trying to build awareness which might lead to an eventual change?

          Liked by 3 people

          • May 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

            Because honestly, I don’t look at the ads. I don’t care if they are tracking me online. I don’t care if they see me looking at porn and offer up ads on that, simply because I can ignore it. Also now that there are ad blocking extensions I can get for browsers it makes it really easy to ignore it.

            Also, I forgot to mention that many browsers have a Do Not Track feature, however, websites can choose to not honor it, so using the TOR Browser is your best bet.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. May 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Do you have browser plug-ins? One plug-in you should be using is Ghostery. You’ll be flabbergasted who is tracking you on every website you visit. Even here, on Tara Sparling Writes, there is a tracking script called Facebook Social Graph. Ghostery blocks it. I also use NoScript and the ubiquitous Adblock Plus.

    I don’t use Facebook. I did use it, but cancelled the account. I don’t have internet on my mobile phone otherwise I’m sure I’d be scanned by these people for that. And I block all cookies except those necessary for log ins and shopping carts.

    It’s impossible to shield yourself 100% because not everything they can access is a website, but if I was an internet privacy consultant my main advice would be 1) send me £200 for my main advice and get a free upgrade to Internet Security Advice Premium Pro, 2) ditch using Facebook unless your life literally depends on it, 3) use browser plug-ins like Ghostery on all your devices.

    No doubt Zuckerberg’s hideous proboscis will find a new way of circumventing all this, but for now it might be worth giving it a try.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 9:40 am

      This is excellent stuff, Chris, thank you very much, for which I will pay you at some point in the near to distant future, weather permitting. I’ll try anything. Do you know, I wouldn’t mind if I was just part of an algorithm to collect general user behaviour, or mass advertising data. But it’s just so personal, what they’re doing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • May 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

        You can send me a post-dated cheque if you want.

        Adblock Pro has its own plug-in called Element Hider. You can select a visible component of a web page, such as an intrusive ad or other bit of internet frippery, and make it disappear forever.

        I think we all recognise that some form of analytical data is useful or necessary, but it’s the secrecy and deceit that I don’t like. In one of my blog posts I called it malware. If Facebook sold get-rich-quick schemes people would recognise their technology for what it is: malware.

        Liked by 2 people

        • May 12, 2016 at 11:38 am

          Great advice. And yes, it is malware. I really have to reconsider the need for a Facebook account at all. I don’t need it for personal interactions, in fact I hate it for that, and I’ve long suspected too that it helps to publicise blog posts only if other people share them – my sharing them on Facebook is worth bugger all really.

          Liked by 2 people

          • May 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

            With all the bezzie friends you have you could have one of those Twitter accounts like the Dalai Lama: followers 8 million; following 0.

            Liked by 2 people

            • May 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

              Of course if the rest of us did that, we’d be called shallow. It’s so unfair. Just because he has compassion and wisdom to beat the band. Sigh.

              Liked by 2 people

  5. May 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Yes, I had noticed that too, that every time I visited a website to buy something, it strangely appeared as an ad on Facebook. It’s creepy to say the least, and shouldn’t it be against the rules of Data Protection?
    Once, my son even managed to buy some virtual gems for a game he was playing on my account (he was maybe 6 or 7), even though I had never bought anything through Facebook, and thus, had NEVER given them my bank details! I got the money back, but I was furious.
    The scariest thing is: what happens if Facebook gets hacked? What kind of sensitive information would the fraudsters obtain? A lot, I figure, and all from just one site.
    We’re tracked everywhere, but we still have to bring in masses of paperwork and proofs of this and that when we need to do something official like apply for a bank account or claim some government benefit. As if they didn’t have the information already…

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 10:01 am

      I suppose, Caroline, it’s not so much ‘if’ Facebook gets hacked, as ‘how often’. I’m horrified that you managed to get stung by a purchase like that because it means it’s even worse than I thought. I’m also ashamed to admit that because Facebook is legally domiciled in Ireland, it’s the Irish Data Protection Commissioner who is responsible for this, and it wouldn’t appear we’re up to scratch. Although, I suppose it depends on how many people are actually complaining about it. Maybe we need more of that. And perhaps only our governments are actually adhering to privacy laws nowadays. How ironic would that be?!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. May 12, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I hate Facebook for many reasons but this is one of the main ones. I never downloaded the messenger app and as such friends think I’m ignoring them all the time. I’d delete the whole bloody thing but I find it invaluable for my blog and for blog support groups. I hate the whole lack of privacy online.
    So anyway, where are you going on your hols? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

      It’s mad how ubiquitous it’s become – that people assume once you’re on Facebook that you’re automatically using it all the time and monitoring messages like they’re texts. And as for the logging in to other websites by using your Facebook ID – no fecking way. It’s Dave Eggers and The Circle all over.

      As for my holidays, I decided not to take any, Donna. I’m going to barricade myself inside my house with a stun gun and a year’s supply of canned food instead. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • May 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm

        🙂 I’ll send the tin hat around via Jim Corr if you like.
        Oh god, logging in via Facebook, no way! I know someone who set up a Facebook account just for this purpose, completely missed the email sign up options.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. May 12, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Phew Tara TMI to digest this early in the morning but yes it needs to be said and no better person. One question though what happens if I share this???

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Well, there’s only one way to find out, C.J.! Keep us updated, won’t you? What’s the worst that could happen? (My guess is a lot of ads to do with your bowels…)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sweetsound
    May 12, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I left Facebook for a couple years, only to go back and realize how bad it had gotten when it started advertising to me based on something I said in a text to someone. Left again and haven’t been back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Wow. Well, that confirms it, then. They are reading text messages as well as everything else. Cretins. It’s all adding up… I really have to think seriously about deleting the bloody thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. May 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I pretty much ignore FB and I’ve found that they’ve started ignoring me. I don’t follow any sites, don’t fill in background info, don’t request ads, nottin. My WP posts go there to my infinitesimally small FB following, but other than that, I browse so little (30 min a week) that FB has started “blocking” the posts of my friends. They’re basically cutting me off. It’s changed from a nice way to keep in touch with local friends to a controlling monster. My problem is the opposite of yours, it seems. They’ve decided I’m not playing enough or the right way, so they’re almost not letting me play at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Would that they were cutting you off, Diana! They’re just prioritising the spam in your news feed. You don’t see your friend’s posts because they’re not paying to promote them, and Facebook gets nothing out of you seeing what you’d like to see. Plus, they’re still collecting the data on you in the background, when you’re doing other things. Whirr, whirr. That’s them, circling the cauldron in the background 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • May 13, 2016 at 2:24 am

        I have a feeling that they’re going to lose subscribers when something else comes along. I’d switch.

        Liked by 2 people

        • May 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm

          The only thing is, Google+ did come along, and everyone hated that even more. The entrapment comes with the connections we’ve already made and don’t want to lose. But I’m not really that fussed about them. I don’t have an author page on FB or thousands of (ahem) ‘friends’ or anything.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. May 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    So, you were planning a holiday that is something to do with bodily functions? Toilet tourism is the new new thing. I read about it on Facebook….

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Not entirely, Conor, but it makes for a better blog post, and as I can’t stop Facebook collecting data on me, the only option is to at least manufacture some of it. I have a whole array of Facebook posts and internet searches slated for subjects such as taxidermy, North Pole expeditions, a fair and equitable society, and several other things I have no interest in.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. May 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Really interesting about the phone snooping, Tara. I have a smart phone, but I’ve made the decision not to use the internet function. I just phone and text. This was a choice I made because I actually didn’t want to get email that way (I get over 200 email a day for work.) But after reading this post, I will be even more cautious. Scary stuff. Creepy, actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. May 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Sorry – meant to add that post with the famous marketing saying: If someone is offering you a service for free, then you are the product.
    Facebook is ‘free’ to us. But not to advertisers, who pay to have access to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      An excellent point, Melodie, but one that no internet conglomerate will ever admit to. We are the product. It’s not the advertising, it’s the fact that they seem to be able to do whatever they want with absolutely no oversight or adherence to the privacy protections which are actually in place. We’re a far cry from the days when your telephone provider wouldn’t even talk to anyone other than the account holder.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. May 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I became aware of this sniffing algorithm years ago, when a search for some random household item resulted in my Facebook feed filled with suggestions for that same item in a variety of colors. I found it creepy and sort of convenient at the same time! 🙂

    What I learned, after reading many an article on this terrifying topic, is that it’s a mechanical, coded algorithm set to make note of what we search, intended, I was assured, to aid us by NOT bombarding us with useless ads but, more helpfully, ads that align with what we actually like, search, have on our phones, etc. My thought at the time reading that was: “well, how about you ask me first??”

    They sort of do….in that Facebook’s (and most sites’) privacy/terms of service fine print purportedly says something about this phenomena, and, it seems, allow us to control it a bit, as you mention. But of course none of us read that gobbledygook before we paste our pics everywhere from here to high heaven, do we??

    Facebook, like so much of the internet world and what it’s wrought, is basically a deal with the Devil in my book; a trade-off, a best friend who raids your closet. I recognize it for that conundrum and use accordingly. I enjoy it too much, and find it too necessary to my work, to close my account. BUT… I have gotten more thoughtful about certain things:

    I was advised to use “incognito” or “private” search windows for any research or product perusing that I’d prefer to keep private. That seems to work — I haven’t noticed any ads for “dog anal creams” on my Feed so far. Also, don’t do ANY of the quizzes, surveys, “which rock star are you?” games that friends share so ubiquitously on Facebook… they’re just mining tools out to get even more data about little old you. And not that I ever did any of those (there might have been that one related to trivia… I’m a big showoff with those!), but by observing just those two instructions vigilantly, I’ve noted far less stalking ads.

    I don’t use my phone for all that much interneting, given that I work at home and always have my computer at hand, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed linkage with my text messages or contact lists, so not sure about that feature. But since I live such a boring life, with no clandestine/nefarious activities to fear being discovered, I guess I haven’t worried too much about it.

    But, yes, the cat’s outta the bag with certain elements of our privacy… unless we live under a rock. If we shop online, bank online, do research, leave comments, book rooms, find directions to a pub online, we’re “in the system.” It’s unavoidable.

    But Facebook is too fun, too useful, and too big an international “coffee shop” for me to walk out the door…they can show me ads for those running shoes i searched for if I get to find and meet people like you, Tara, which I likely wouldn’t have otherwise. And that’s really a value exchange.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      I can see the benefits of Facebook too, Lorraine, and I too find it especially useful to find your posts or news stories I’d miss elsewhere. But those are my choices, not Facebook’s – if they let me see them at all: they’re too busy trying to distract me with other crap nobody wants to see. Fine print consent is absolute bull. They know they can sneak anything they like in there, and more to the point, when they’re updating their T’s & C’s, they’re only covering their arses for stuff they’ve already been doing illegally for some time.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. May 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Can’t argue with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. May 12, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I guess I should be glad I lead such a boring personal life and only put my ‘author’ stuff online and occasionally some RPG personas. I use Facebook very infrequently to actually talk to people I know (never those I’ve only met through FB) and ignore the ads, because I’m just not interested in piggyback shopping from there.
    Occasionally I’ll be arsed to look at my stats for my author pages (soon to be 2 author pages with the new pen name) but am surprisingly unphased by how ‘awful’ they are as mostly I’m hearing from people I want to hear from and not people who’re turning up ad hoc. Maybe I should be as the point I’m on there is to smear my creative profile willy-nilly in order to haul them over to Amazon…
    … don’t start me on their algorithms though! If it weren’t for the fact that they do send me pin money (so not enough for a coffee even sometimes… 😦 ) more or less monthly I’d have headed for the hills long ago to preserve what remains of my sanity.
    Ignorance is bliss for me on FB, I suppose – I’m happy to play ostrich because I just refuse to join in and take any notice of what they’re tellin’ or yellin’ at me. ;-P

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      It’s what they’re haulin’ off me that I’m concerned about, Jan, I couldn’t care less what they’re yellin’ at me! And no matter how much I try to keep my personal life online, they’re draggin’ it out of me. Anyway, as they say on this fair isle, may they die roarin’.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. May 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Ugh. Facebook is the worst. And yet, with friends and family all over the world, it’s also been the best way to keep up with their news. So I feel a bit stuck between the rock and the hard place. My public author type FB page doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, and I try to keep my private FB page, well, private. Then I feel like I’m offending people I’ve never met yet connected with online when I don’t accept their friend request – honest, it’s not personal. I try not to post too much about my kid, either. I don’t have messenger on my phone, and that’s not going to change.

    So I’m still on there for now, but I have noticed the ‘targeted’ ads getting more and more frequent. So I guess the answer to your question is ‘no, I’m not okay with it.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      As Melodie says above, Helen, we have become the product. I’m not sure what other products are exploited to this extent, though. It’s like we’ve been living in a dystopian novel since 2008, and everyone just shrugs and says, ‘oh well’.

      Liked by 2 people

      • May 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm

        Yes, she makes an excellent point. It’s quite frightening when you think about it,and perhaps that’s why so many people would prefer to look the other way, because if you actually think about the direction this is going it is very dystopian indeed. Makes me want to go and live in the wilds of nowhere and talk to no-one, really.

        Liked by 2 people

  17. May 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Facebook has always been Buttbook, to me. After making a few new Friends, I flush the newsfeed of Follows, because the bowl fills up with diarrhoea. When I want to check up on a Friend, I then just go visit their page. This doesn’t stop the sniffing, but it seems to keep the volume of crap at a controllable level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      I used to have so much fun flushing my news feed, Christine. Until Facebook started doing it for me, flushing out all the stuff which interested me and throwing in all the crap. What with all the excretory references, I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a toilet myself.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. annerallen
    May 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    LinkedIn is even worse. They’re always suggesting I “connect on Linkedin” with my dead mother, my toxic ex, and an agent I queried once in 2007. And Google reads every one of my emails. If my neighbor mentions she’s getting a new fridge in an email, I get refrigerator ads following me all over the Interwebz. Facebook is pretty bad though. I mentioned getting a dental implant a year ago, and every day for a year I’ve had tons of email spam advertising cut-rate dental implants in places like Sri Lanka. I just have to delete, delete, delete.

    There is no escaping it. All the tech companies are the same. The only way you can have true privacy is to go live in a Unibomber cabin in the wilderness somewhere and communicate only by carrier pigeon. I fear the damage has been done already. This is the new normal.

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      Yep, LinkedIn is pretty scummy, Anne. I don’t find it as poisonous as Facebook, but so many people complain about it. Their algorithms mustn’t be working on me properly. I have 2 profiles up there so maybe that’s why I’m confusing them.

      You know, most of these places are actually headquartered in Dublin. If you like, I could form a posse, and force all employees to answer 100 really personal questions if they want to leave the building. I would sing at them until they cowered.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. May 12, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    That is some scary shit Tara. Just as well I didn’t post that pic of Jimmy on the beach in Benidorm…oh wait, it’s on my phone!! holy jaysis, so that’s why I got an email from Mankini.com advertising their new lines…oops :p

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Ali Isaac
    May 12, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Despise fb! Does anyone even like it? No one claims to yet we’re all still on it. I do it for my blog. All my posts which have gone semi-viral happened through fb shares. So I shouldn’t complain. But I hate how they control what I see and who I interact with. I use watts app now for sharing with my family who are spread all around the world, so much better. But I didn’t know that fb could scan it… seriously? Honestly, if it wasn’t for the blog, I’d be cancelling my account forthwith, I tell you! As it is, I’ll limp reluctantly along with it for now. Fb don’t want anyone to see my author page unless I pay them massively for it. If I actually sold any books through them, I wouldn’t mind. They’re not helping me, so why should I pay them for it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 12, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      I think you’re right, Ali. We all hate it, yet we’re still on it, because they’ve trapped us. But do you find that posts go viral through other people’s shares rather than yours? Mine do. To be honest, as long as there’s a FB share button on this blog, it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference whether I shared it myself or not. Do be wary of WhatsApp, though. Facebook own it, and they’re definitely using it to get information on us.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ali Isaac
        May 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm

        Thanks for the warning. Had no idea. Yes through other people’s shares, never mine. Sigh! But as long as it’s getting shares, that’s all that matters I guess.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. May 13, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Not only that but they manipulate what’s trending in their news feed to advance their own views and actually pretend some things are trending when they’re not. Things that are trending that they don’t like they block or censor. I wouldn’t care since they can do as they like but they pretend to be an open forum. Yuck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 13, 2016 at 11:43 am

      An absolute yuck, Adrienne. I hadn’t thought about the trending manipulation. I’m really struggling to find a single redeeming feature for them at the moment. And yes, the pretending to be otherwise is definitely making it all ten times worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. May 13, 2016 at 5:14 am

    My husband told me that stores are looking into using facial recognition software tied to your Internet use to suggest real world purchases. IDK if it’s true, but that is super creepy. I already hate shopping….

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 13, 2016 at 11:44 am

      We’re all creeped out, Victoria – and yet we all accept it. When did we get like this? It’s like the entire world has Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to social media.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. May 13, 2016 at 6:42 am

    On the upside, Google wished me happy birthday yesterday….

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

      As long as they meant it sincerely, Kathy! But remember when you used to text or call somebody to say happy birthday? Now all you do is write a generic ‘Happy Birthday’ on their Facebook wall, which takes 2 seconds and even less thought. Another ugh.

      (P.S. Belated happy birthday 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

  24. May 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    yes but once people would have been appalled by texting to say happy birthday, and before that it would have been bad to call… why not send a card?- you are probably too young to remember cards

    Liked by 1 person

  25. May 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    If Facebook has that amount of information on you, imagine what the government has. Scary!

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 13, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      I don’t know about your government, but mine is far too incompetent to do anything with this sort of information! Plus, I genuinely don’t think they give a monkey’s where I’m thinking of going for my holidays. The internet marketers do care, though. Lots and lots and LOTS. That’s what’s so scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. May 13, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I must admit I would be very uncomfortable about my exact future holiday accommodation being on display. We now look things up, but actually book by phone. Add to all this that Facebook is so ‘yesterday’. Ever since we bought a fridge/freezer earlier this year, it has been trying to persuade me to buy another one and everywhere I go I am haunted by youngsters, almost totally undressed, parading all the underwear I could never imagine buying, after I had bought a couple of items. I keep an absolutely separate email address for all the online stuff, but like you, I have to put myself in my blog and on Facebook because of the writing. I too am VERY careful about what I say, but I no longer expect any real privacy. You could try being misleading – I do this by mistake – spend time looking at monkey wrenches or caving equipment…

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Oh yes, Hilary. But it seems like so much effort, all that googling for Transylvanian dress shoes and killer plants of the Amazon. I’m just too lazy! So what kind of 2nd fridge freezer are you thinking of?

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Sue Bridgwater
    May 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Reblogged this on Skorn.


  28. May 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Having a nom de plume is helpful; separate email accounts for shopping and social media; hatred of my phone; regularly clearing cookies, are all things that help me…. but yes, I’m creeped out by it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Who could have anticipated the day when hatred of one’s phone would be a wise lifestyle choice. I’m with you Scarlet. I’m off to shout abuse at mine now.


  29. May 19, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    My surgeon gave me his mobile number after an op he performed on my eye, as he was going away and kindly gave me the number in case I had problems. What do you know – the very next day Facebook suggested that I send him a friend request! Yep; Big Brother is watching your phone…

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 19, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      And again, proof I wasn’t being half paranoid enough! Because of course that’s what you want from your surgeon, Stevie. Pictures of his kids and an enthusiastically shared cat LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

        There he was standing on the top of a mountain looking into the sunset. He didn’t look too bad actually out of his theatre blues…

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm

          And after him giving you the sight to see him with! Sounds swoony to me 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • May 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm

            Then there’s his 4 kids to consider, and cats make me sneeze, so I think I’ll leave him on top of his mountain in peace.

            Liked by 1 person

  30. May 20, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    It is rather worrying how much Facebook seems to know about us all. They read my internet browsing history, my phone and email contacts, my likes, shares and comments. In fact, the only thing they never seem to read are my blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      This is a very good and most excellent point. They’re not reading my blog posts either. Which just goes to show: I need to blog more about their corporate secrets. Excuse me while I just infiltrate a powerful and secretive organisation. Back in 10.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        Good luck, Tara. And don’t worry! If anybody asks, I’ll say I haven’t seen you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Michael Burns
    May 27, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    A sad tale, only the Irish have a penance for such drama. Just let me say this Tara Sparling…and no gigglin. From one Irishman to another…well, your an Irishwoman…there just as ruff and tuff anyway.


    There was this young woman…writer from Ireland.

    Who was getting very, very tired of all the inquirin.

    Of a particular book…

    That when read from the front…

    seem to resemble the shape, of her face.

    Well… disgruntled she was; right up to neck, in the outrageous number of pages.

    It dared to present, in the front of her eyes.

    Why should a book be so big, that it fills up the shelf, and weighs down on the rest of the…reeds.

    So, day after day, she left on her errands…to return home to this thing that could


    Bigger it got on the shelf were it sot…sat.

    And then started it’s, friggin around.

    Well it pushed, and it prodded, bullied and friended, and then…unfriended.

    It sassed and it queried, and made the most, peculiar sounds.

    It winked and it slapped her…it giggled and poked her, it liked her and it fussed and it roared.

    And it gifted, and shuffled and squirmed and sat back down, and blow all the dust of her shelf as it farted.

    A book ya say that took over the house and pushed our dear Tara…aw…to such awful dismay.

    Well the wee lass, complained as she should…would that she should…could that thing, should that thing be read, and not…reed.

    She came home one day to find that…(*whisper*)  that book, had taken over her house.

    It was in her draws… and cupboards and boards, under sinks and evenly spread, on the front side, and… slightly darker side of her morning toast…behind doors, and the walls…even in the holes, were the mice live on the other side.

    It went outside and up on the roof…and sat there staring out of… binoculars.

    It looked at her neighbours, and fussed with her papers, inside of every crevice of poor Tara house.

    It got into her socks, her jammies…and frocks, and all those pretty things in her closet.

    Aw the hell she said…what I am to do,  it’s even got into me nickers.

    Well she had enough, of this Facebook stuff.

    And formally complained, to who owns it.

    “It’s all about noises. Or lookin at boyzes. or stickin you nose in people stuff. It sniffs at my bottom, and I’ve had enuff of all this freekin friending stuff.” 

    But as all of us know, it’s useless to go way over and push the Del button.

    For it won’t go away, Tara. Now matter how much is your pleading. 

    It will simply stop when you are not



    • May 31, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Um, seemed a bit threatening at times all right, Michael, but thanks for the mammoth comment!


  32. June 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    That’s creepy, isn’t it?
    I don’t ahve a FB account, I don’t plan to open one anytime soon. I don’t kno wwhy, I’ve always been allergic to FB, no matter ho wmuch other people tell me it’s good for my book, if nothing else.
    But I know that this doesn’t save me. Linkedin does the same thing. They dig up contact of years ago, I didn’t even know I still had somewhere.
    It is creepy… especially because there’s nothing we can do about it… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 5, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Well, I’m not convinced FB is good for everyone’s book, Sarah. It might be good for some books, but not all. It’s another facet of this one-size-fits-all social media strategy which keeps being rammed at authors. Probably fuelled by claims from the social media platforms themselves. I know plenty of people who hate LinkedIn more than Facebook because they find it even more intrusive. You’re right. Creeeeeeeepy.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: