Interesting Facebook Ads Connection

After finishing up my lunch, I decided to peruse Facebook for pictures of my friends’ children and pets. To my surprise, the following ad came up in my feed:

I’ve not visited the Royal Caribbean website in at least five years. I’ve got a daughter still in single digits, so I only ever look at Disney Cruises.

I haven’t even searched a meta-travel site that might spark something like this.

What has happened is that my wife is looking at going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with her sisters and mother next year. Very recently looking at it, in fact, such as within the last week.

But, she did that from her own computer. She never uses mine.

I sometimes access her computer to provide IT support, but I never log onto Facebook there.

We’re connected on Facebook, she was almost certainly logged into Facebook when accessing the Royal Caribbean site, and we regularly both access Facebook from the same IP address (e.g. home).

It seems that Royal Caribbean was able to connect my wife’s browsing history to my Facebook interests for remarketing purposes. As it happens, it wasn’t well targeted (I’m not going on a cruise), but I can see how it might be. Advertising doesn’t bother me at all, as long as it’s reasonably well targeted.

But there are real privacy concerns to this. Any site I go to might trigger a Facebook cookie without my even knowing.

What if I’m searching for a birthday present? I might come up with the greatest idea for a present, something she would never think of, and have an ad for it appear in her Facebook stream.

Certainly there are more bothersome things that might pop up on a significant other’s Facebook feed.

Facebook might want to think through this one a bit more, but then, privacy has never seemed to be high on their priority list.