Facebook's new ad policy is like being allowed to pick your last meal on death row

Fighting Talk
Adblock plus is sounding more tempting by the day

Facebook made a lot of noise about a tweaking of its terms and conditions this week, making the language a little simpler and answering troublesome modern questions like "How can I stop someone who's bothering me?" in its FAQ.

One of the changes it seems happiest about introducing to more parts of the world is the ability to have advert preferences synced on a cross-platform basis, meaning if you've told the phone app to stop showing you a certain type of advert, that choice will now be reflected on the desktop site too.

Which means one type of advert will be replaced with another type of advert. Hooray for our innovative ad-serving overlords. The level of empowerment we have right now is insane.

We doubt if manually clicking on adverts every time you open the app will eventually mean you "complete" the advertising game, though.

Turn off teeth-whitening and it'll be replaced by motivational fitness instead. Opt out of that and it'll be baldness cures. The advertising game is infinite and procedurally generated.

Choose anything but the ad you're currently looking at and you'll be served whatever ads are part of the next lowest common denominator, money-making arbitrage scheme someone's foolishly pumping their pension pot into.

No one likes us, we don't care

It's doubly annoying because it's obvious that Facebook actually likes us switching off adverts.

The fact that one ad annoys us so much we turn it off is counted as invaluable customer feedback, as we are at least "engaging" with the served media on some level, even if all we're doing is saying "MAKE IT STOP I HATE THOSE KINDS OF CRISPS."

The more we tell Facebook what we don't like, the more data it'll generate about what we do like.

Once you've told it all the things you don't like, what remains, no matter how implausible, must be what you really like seeing adverts about.

You can't spite it. You can't beat the algorithm.

It's like the playground bully who answers every question with a stupid reply for which there is no response.

"I hate adverts about online gaming," you say.

"I know you do so there," replies the algorithm, serving you adverts about German-engineered hair-thickening shampoo instead.

"My hair is thick and healthy as illustrated by the above-angled photo uploaded on October 17th," you say.

"I know you do so there," replies the algorithm, serving you adverts for vegetable steamers based on the fact your chin looked a bit wobbly in the photo uploaded on October 21st.

The more we click, the more it knows. The more it wins.

If 500 people say they hate the new Pot Noodle advert because it's offensive even though we know it's trying to be ironic, the negative feedback gives some suit at Facebook UK enough reason to schedule a meeting with Unilever to talk about engagement levels and ask them for a few extra pence per 1,000 views for the next one.

You click, it wins again.

The only way to fight it, as with all omnipresent, unbeatable, irrational internet trolls, is to not respond. Let it serve you irrelevant advertising. Let it wash over you. Sigh and laugh if it tries to sell you imaginary coins for use in a game you don't play. Occasionally misdirect it by clicking on an advert for Norwegian cruise holidays, even though you left the house once in 2012 and have promised never to do it again.

Don't tell it your name, real date of birth or whether or not you hate adverts for mature dating sites. It's the only form of protest we have left.