If you, too, are suddenly seeing amazing offers for John Deere tractors all over Twitter, you’re not alone. This week, a number of users noticed an influx of strange ads on the site, posting screenshots of spots for everything from dairy cow wellness to ministry insurance.
— Isaac Hepworth (@isaach) October 23, 2019
This is no rogue algorithm. Yesterday, the company confirmed that more ads are part of the platform’s strategy going forward, telling CNBC, “Recently, we’ve shifted our approach to showing ads to everyone who uses Twitter and as a result, some will notice an increase in the number of ads they’re seeing.” The platform increased its ad load for users with “higher follower counts” to make the experience “more equitable”, a spokesperson told Gizmodo, but the “high follower count” threshold is unclear. (I only have a little over 1,500 followers but am now seeing ads every eighth tweet.)
The company’s pursuit of a “more equitable” spamverse isn’t that surprising given that Twitter announced yesterday it had fallen short of expected third-quarter revenue, which resulted in a stock plunge of over 20 per cent. The platform blamed, in part, a “bug” that previously gave Twitter access to data users had never consented to share. Without that data, it’s become more difficult for Twitter to deliver targeted ads and some advertisers have pulled spending, Bloomberg reports.
Yes! Constantly. This was the latest one I saved. Why do they think a 20-something social media manager would need these... things? pic.twitter.com/woWUWHm8sV
— Anna Curtis (@anna__curtis) October 18, 2019
Unsurprisingly, many are bemoaning the deluge of bizarre, irrelevant ads on the social network. Maybe this has been your experience all along. If so, I’m sorry, but for now, at least, I’m delighted.
Unlike Facebook and Google – which have uncovered my latent desire for Kelly green, boatneck, mid-length sleeve t-shirts by microscopically dissecting my every move online – Twitter offers a refreshingly ballistic overview of capitalism. Twitter now dumps buckets of popcorn chicken on the table while wildly spraying soft drinks all over the room. It interrupts witty political quips by screaming: WOULD YOU LIKE SOME VELVEETA MAC N’ CHEESE???? And then it vomits up a bucket of Heineken. Every moment on Twitter is #CrunchTime, baby, and maybe you’d like some airline tickets and a tractor and a Chanel fragrance?
It’s rowdy and obnoxious and drowning out the little intellectual cocktail party I’ve cultivated over eight years on Twitter. But who doesn’t want a break from staring at oneself as reflected back by targeted ads for linens and toilet paper? Not I.
Featured screenshot: Twitter