Creepy examples of ad targeting: are smartphones eavesdropping on us?

Have you ever seen an ad that's a bit too accurate? And we don't mean one about something you've googled 5 minutes prior to seeing it. Sometimes ads are targeted in mysterious ways and can be so on point that it shocks you. We've gathered a few examples when that happened.
This is a discussion for a news article. To read the whole news, click here


33. MrMalignance

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

@drdrew321: The sad part is all tech is doing this. You search is not really solid proof of Google listening though. You were watching something on Netflix, imagine how many others watched and made the same search. Google is inherently made to prioritize searches by popularity, to hopefully increase accuracy. I'm not saying this isn't a case of Google listening, but all tech does, and will never truly admit it. Even if it wasn't Google, it'd be apple or Facebook, or some other app/tech software/hardware.

34. djinn911

Posts: 15; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

Let me tell you a story of mine. A couple of months ago I was with my friends in their car and they were arguing about the in flight services of Turkish Airlines. A day or two later, just for gags they again started arguing about it in our Whatsapp group. Now I have never flown with Turkish Airlines and I did not had any intentions. I do not remember if I engaged in the conversation in the car but I remember that I said it only once in the group to stop giving so much flac to the Airlines. I kid you not, I was browsing through Twitter the next day and lo and behold, I see an ad for Turkish Airlines on my timeline. I immediately took a screenshot and showed it to my friends and I still might have that screenshot just to remind me on how we are being eavesdropped everyday and that we have to be careful on what we say and speak.

39. MrMalignance

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. There's a good chance they're listening through there. They place advertisements on your phone like all other companies. Somewhere you probably have a personalized ads privelage checked on. The ads are "more relevant" that way. Sadly, especially with Facebook and it's companies owned, that means listening to your private conversations

38. AlienKiss

Posts: 137; Member since: May 21, 2019

The main reason I started rooting my phones was to delete facebook. And I had no clue what to do or how. Thank you FB! Thanks to the hate I had for you, now I'm a smarter person and a software engineer to become :)) Even hate can make you better if you redirect it into something positive :)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.