Facebook Ads A Big, Fat Wrinkle For Some Users

A new study shows that Facebook users are getting older. The largest group on the social networking Web site now is those ages 35 to 54. Some 28 percent of Facebook users are in this group.

But, I recently found myself in a dilemma, and it all had to do with Facebook and my age.

I confess, I've become overly involved with Facebook. I have done the obvious things — connected with old friends, engaged in fun, and sometimes even had deep discussions after putting up a status report.

I ignore the groups, the events, the gifts, the applications and the 1,300 people I haven't friended because they didn't leave me an interesting or relevant message.

But a few months ago, I got an odd request — to join this group: Women Who Have Removed Their Birth Year From Facebook.

My first reaction was, "Why?"

I am 63, and I have always believed in being honest about my age. I love the fact that I am old enough to have done civil rights work in Mississippi and to have covered the Pentagon Papers trial. I'm married; I am not looking for a job, so why hide my age?

But then I noticed, as I thought about it, that all the Facebook ads on my page were about wrinkle creams and diets.

Whoever was advertising had focused on my age and on nothing else revealed in my profile; for example, a love of science fiction or birding.

To them, I was just a fat, walking wrinkle waiting to be fixed.

So I wrote a message to the woman who started the group. Her name is Christine Solosky. She is 52, and she lives near Toronto. She says she noticed the ads one afternoon — they were unrelenting.

"They were for anti-wrinkle, look younger than what you are, how do the stars do it, and this type of thing. I found them annoying," she said.

And when she took her birth year out, "there was an obvious decrease in the number of those types of ads. Now the ads are geared more toward key words in my profile, and seem based on my interests."

At the end of the day, I decided not to join the group. I still like my age, and I am pretty good at being oblivious to messages imploring me to shape up. Especially ones advertising wrinkle cream.

But recently I started looking again, and I noticed no ads for diets or wrinkle cream. It turns out that now you can vote ads on Facebook up or down, and even vote them out. I'm guessing a lot of people voted against those ads for wrinkle cream.

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