Let me tell you a little story about Instagram's incessant "targeted" advertising. I have an IG account where I rarely post photos but often look at my feed. I didn't leave when Facebook purchased IG, because it didn't change too much (at least in the beginning). About a year ago, a British teenager with my very common name incorrectly entered her e-mail address as my Gmail account when signing up for Facebook. When the confirmation e-mails came I repeatedly clicked the "this is definitely not me, I never signed up this" option (whatever it actually said), but I was never able to get my e-mail address completely removed from this girl's account because I would not sign up for a Facebook account of my own.
Let that sink in: someone signed up for Facebook using my e-mail address* and they would not remove it even though I never confirmed it, and explicitly stated that I was someone else, because I would not also sign up for their product. (I've never had and do not want a Facebook account.)
I suppose I could have persisted somehow and badgered someone into fixing this (though I kind of doubt it), but there are only so many hours in the day, and it was easy enough to filter the British girl's Facebook notifications into my spam folder. (Yeah, somehow she never had a problem using the account, which she must have verified some other way.)
Anyway, I never gave much thought to this whole thing...until the Instagram advertising got so saturated. Every few posts I would get an ad for some youthful UK clothing company, or an apprenticeship program in Brixton, or (and I found this one hilarious every time I saw it) an ad about the advantages of joining the British Royal Navy.
Yeah, sorry, Instagram. Pretty sure the British Royal Navy is not actually recruiting middle aged American ladies who can't even swim.
I kept wondering why the hell Instagram thought I was a British teenager. I racked my brain for a while. I went in to clear out my spam folder one day and had a eureka moment when I saw that girl's Facebook notices. I signed up for Instagram with my e-mail address, of course, and Instagram is a Facebook property. Therefore Instagram thinks I'm a British teenager.
I honestly don't know whether the ads would be more or less irritating if they were actually trying to target me. I do know they're ubiquitous either way, and very, very tiresome.
Of course, now that Instagram is starting to use an algorithm instead of just showing photos in chronological order, it's becoming such a hot mess that I rarely check in, anyway, and it's pretty much a moot point.
Thank goodness Ello is not like the other guys.
*I genuinely believe that she simply typed it incorrectly. I don't think there was any malicious intent. We really do have the same common name.