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If you use Twitter‘s website or official apps, you’ve probably seen its ads: sponsored tweets ostensibly targeted to your interests. You can block the advertisers you don’t like and eventually “train” Twitter to show you relevant stuff. But what if you block every advertiser you see? Things get really, really weird.
There’s a whole world of bizarre, niche ads hiding down there, and you just ripped the lid off.
Once you’ve blocked enough mainstream advertisers, Twitter gives up and shows you tweets that were meant to be shown to very specific groups of users.
Like dairy farmers. Gotta get that milk production up, bro.
Or this jargon-filled rabbit hole of “account-based marketing” and…Game of Thrones?
I’ve blocked so many corporate Twitter accounts, I’m no longer seeing ads meant for people.
— MINGO (@Mingo413) April 27, 2016
If you’ve ever been harmed by Korean ramen, this ad is for you:
And if you’re a trucker who needs to weigh things, Twitter ads have you covered, too:
Are you a funeral home manager? Twitter understands your unique needs and software requirements:
Twitter to you: Don’t forget to get you some Muscle Cakes!
You: Thanks, Twitter!
Sometimes, Twitter will randomly assume that you’re one of the super-rich. It’s very flattering.
I’ve been reporting/blocking ads so much now I’m getting ads for helicopter pad lights and investments
— AlmightyBob (@AlmightyBoob) April 20, 2016
now im gettin promoted ads for fancy gem auctions. fuckin FINALLY. u know how many gems i wasted casting that “get offered more gems” spell?
— DVS (@DVSblast) February 12, 2016
Other times, it pegs you as a member of the frog-owning class.
i’ve been blocking every promoted account to see what weird stuff i eventually get and i got one for frog food today
— alejandro is here (@alejandroid) April 24, 2016
Remember, promoted tweets were hailed during their 2010 launch as “a business model,” described as “how Twitter will finally make money,” and generally considered Not a Bad Idea. Six years later, this is what has become of them: something users block so vociferously that it’s now a rich and bulging vein of comedy. Twitter’s own ad algorithms have turned against it.
Twitter and the people assiduously blocking its ads haven’t even hit the bottom yet. The company’s Q1 earnings came in on Wednesday, and they were disappointing, to say the least.
“Nothing Twitter is doing is working,” The Verge said.
Meanwhile, the hilarious war on promoted tweets continues apace:
I will continue to block them until all I get are ads for horse midwives and artisanal mud
— mike sacco (@mikesacco) July 27, 2015
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.