Illustration via Max Fleishman

If you block every ad on Twitter, things start to get weird

Are these advertisements even for people?

Feb 29, 2020, 7:59 am*

Internet Culture

 

Jay Hathaway

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

https://twitter.com/Mingo413/status/725113740543315968

https://twitter.com/Mingo413/status/725114432414732292

https://twitter.com/Mingo413/status/725114977313538048

https://twitter.com/Mingo413/status/725117160452984832

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: 

https://twitter.com/mikesacco/status/720137044379348992

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.

https://twitter.com/AlmightyBoob/status/722684761563668481

https://twitter.com/AlmightyBoob/status/722685369699934208

Other times, it pegs you as a member of the frog-owning class. 

https://twitter.com/alejandroid/status/724352093432233984

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:

https://twitter.com/mikesacco/status/625735136420737024

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*First Published: Apr 27, 2016, 4:07 pm