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Joe90
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27 May 2022, 12:06 pm

I know Facebook is known to know what you do on other internet sites, but can it know what you do offline?

The other day I found an old videotape of Thomas the Tank Engine and I fancied being nostalgic so I plugged our old video player into the TV and I watched it for the first time in years.

Then today I got an ad on my Facebook feed about Thomas the Tank Engine.

I don't have Netflix or anything like that, and I didn't post on Facebook that I was watching it, or mention it anywhere on the internet.

Was it just a coincidence that I'd get an ad for that, for the first time in the 11 years that I have been on Facebook? I'm creeped out now.


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Radish
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27 May 2022, 12:18 pm

Coincidence. They can't watch what you do offline, but they can track stuff you do online and on other sites unless you take precautions.


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Double Retired
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27 May 2022, 12:22 pm

Is the television connected to the Internet? Did it retrieve any information about the movie from the Internet? I realize this is a stretch, since it was a videotape, but I'll ask anyways.

Did you do any Internet searching or browsing related to "Thomas the Tank Engine"? Did anyone else use your computer to do any searching or browsing related to "Thomas the Tank Engine"? It wouldn't have to have been done on Facebook, once the information has been collected it gets sloshed around to many places on the Internet.

For an experiment, you could search the Internet for something that is of absolutely no interest to you and then see what new popup adds you get.


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Radish
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27 May 2022, 12:31 pm

Yes, searches for Thomas the Tank Engine would definitely flag up an interest and associated adverts. I rarely see any adverts due to using various blockers, but I did discover something comical about facebook. When I did see ads on there I used to mock the advertisers for how inappropriate they were e.g. hair dressers and nail parlours - I'm a 60 year old man with a shaved head! Oddly that resulted in my getting even more ads for these establishments. It turns out that facebook targets ads based on what you respond to (negatively or positively) irrespective of how relevant they are. So if you click Love, Surprise, Shock or Angry instead of Like you get even more of the same... it is to encourage users to engage more with facebook and they don't care how; more chance to shove ads in your face and for them to get money off advertisers, even if they have zero chance of selling you anything.


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Joe90
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27 May 2022, 12:35 pm

No, like I said I didn't do any searching of Thomas the Tank, I was just sorting through some boxes and came across an old videotape and decided to watch it. My TV has no internet on it at all, and when a DVD player or video player is plugged in there's no connection to the outside world at all, just the movie playing. We don't have Netflix or Disney+ or anything like that.

I'm not interested in Thomas the Tank and after I finished watching it I just took it back out the player and forgot about it.

And nobody else in my apartment uses my laptop or my phone. I know my boyfriend isn't going to suddenly get on my phone or my computer and start looking up Thomas the Tank. He doesn't have any social media accounts and only uses his phone for emailing and calls and texts, not Google or YouTube or anything.

It just seems spooky.


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Last edited by Joe90 on 27 May 2022, 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Radish
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27 May 2022, 12:36 pm

Just coincidence then, unless you've searched for other items associated with children's videos or toys then they may think you have a general interest in such things.


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Kitty4670
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28 May 2022, 12:14 am

How can Facebook know what you do on other sites? My TV is connect to the internet cuz I have a streaming device, I never saw anything from my TV on Facebook, I have Spotify on my TV & my iPad.


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Matrix Glitch
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28 May 2022, 12:51 am

If you have a tape of something else, watch that one the same way and see if an ad pops up for it.



Radish
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28 May 2022, 3:40 am

Kitty4670 wrote:
How can Facebook know what you do on other sites? My TV is connect to the internet cuz I have a streaming device, I never saw anything from my TV on Facebook, I have Spotify on my TV & my iPad.


Facebook uses cross site trackers to know the sites you use - unless you block such trackers. They even track people who aren't members of facebook. I don't know if they have direct access to what you do on those other sites, but there are countless trackers by lots of companies following internet users around and your data is auctioned and sold between them.

Read The Article Here


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CockneyRebel
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28 May 2022, 5:23 am

Facebook can't watch you, but they trace the things that you post and purchase on their site. I've purchased some virtual puzzles, pixel tap and cross-stitch patterns on Facebook related to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and a day later, there was an advertisement for a strawberry tea that was in my area. I found that to be very eerie.


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Suzyb
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28 May 2022, 6:27 am

In my opinion, there are endless opportunites through modern technology even when offline. I think my iphone which is on permanently, listens and I have no idea what is happening through the camera lens on my laptop so nothing would surprise me, especially with Facebook and it's likes. The owner has to be one of the most untrustworthy people ever and did he not start all this sneaky target marketing nonsense?

We wouldnt get an Alexa in our house for that exact reason - it is permanently listening.

A few years back, I worked with a lady who would put post it notes over her laptop camera. She also sporadically threw into her conversations about working with the FBI. It was hilarious when I first heard it.

Your suspicions could be correct - how do we prove otherwise?



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28 May 2022, 7:00 am

Yeah I think your phone is listening. I mentioned the johnny depp trial to a friend... then the videos popped up on his youtube feed!



SabbraCadabra
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28 May 2022, 7:56 am

I've actually been watching a lot of Thomas lately. My son recently became obsessed with trains, so I thought I'd put it on, and he loves it. Dunno about the UK, but you can stream it free on Roku TV (and maybe elsewhere).

I didn't watch it much as a kid, but I've always been fascinated with models, so that aspect of the show is pretty cool to me.

Hot take: I like George Carlin better than Ringo Starr (as a narrator).

Suzyb wrote:
I think my iphone which is on permanently, listens...

I've talked to friends about this before, and we all agree that this must be true >_<
Joe, did you have your phone on or near you while you were watching it? Even if it's in sleep mode, it's still doing stuff.

I've had it happen to me before...one time at work, the boss had Pandora (I think) on, and I mentioned how I was surprised that they hadn't played a certain song yet, and as soon as I walked away, they started playing that song.
You can't convince me that phones aren't listening.

I know for sure that Facebook reads private messages. I've talked to people about random subjects before, and would get related ads the very next day.


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Radish
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28 May 2022, 8:12 am

SabbraCadabra wrote:
I know for sure that Facebook reads private messages. I've talked to people about random subjects before, and would get related ads the very next day.


Google does that with emails too, or they did when they first launched Gmail, don't know if they still do, but probably. Their bots read the emails to target ads at users.


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MaxE
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28 May 2022, 8:24 am

Matrix Glitch wrote:
If you have a tape of something else, watch that one the same way and see if an ad pops up for it.

Nope. Facebook would know she was trying to game the system and would never give her the satisfaction of confirming her suspicion, thus tipping their hand.


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28 May 2022, 9:18 am

Putting something over your computer's camera lens is a good idea. If hackers break into your computer they can use the camera to watch you.

"Hackers can access your mobile and laptop cameras and record you – cover them up now"


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