Will YOU help me protect vulnerable people from targeted loan adverts on Facebook?

On Facebook? Then brands are targeting you. Trust me, I do it as a part of my full-time job, I know. The amount of information Facebook knows about you – which a brand can then use, to frankly, enter your life and follow you around, is a little bit scary.

Have you ever talked about something with a friend, and then found adverts pop up on your social later in the day? Looked at some shoes online and then found they stalks you on all the other websites you’re on? Yep, that’s targeting.

How Facebook is listening to you

In fact, and she’s going to kill me for telling you this, one day I get a Facebook message from my mum, asking me if I could recommend a boob job surgeon.

Now, my mum is well into her 70’s and has never remotely expressed an interest in cosmetic surgery in her life – so of course, assumed old-age had finally done its thing and she had lost it!

I then get a call from mum. “I don’t really want one. But can you mention ‘boob job’ a few times in these messages? I’m testing to see if Facebook is listening and if I get adverts!”

Check out Columbo over here!

Facebook can see what websites and pages you’ve visited, who you like, what you’ve liked, how much you earn, who is in your family, where you live etc.

If I look at a red dress on Topshop (as if, never had an arse small enough for that shop, but we can imagine!), Topshop can pay Facebook to turn up on my Facebook feed.

If you’ve been looking at how to get out of debt or clicking around on Payday loans websites – loan companies can target you – literally stalk you all over the internet. You can literally target vulnerable people.

You didn’t click on it the first time? No problem, they can retarget you when it’s getting late in the month and you might be struggling even more.

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They know what they’re doing.

Why you should care about this

Because I write about money a lot, so visit lots of loan websites etc – I get plenty of these ads targeting me. But I don’t need a loan. And maybe you don’t either. That said, they do know what your weaknesses are, and will get you with that, so this will work for whatever that is too.

Plus, because in this day and age, you can’t just turn off the internet. These brands spend MILLIONS of pounds a year to get you to ‘convert’. Most of us don’t stand a chance – especially if we’re vulnerable.

Facebook has considered this to a degree. It allows you to turn off advertising for alcohol, parenting or pets. Facebook recognises these as ‘sensitive areas’.

If you’re an alcoholic trying to stop drinking, you don’t want booze adverts. If you’ve spent months looking up baby things because you’re pregnant, then lose the baby, you don’t want to continually get baby products advertised to you. So it’s right that you should be able to turn these off.

I would argue that when we’re talking debt – getting loan adverts (as well as other bad financial products) is just as dangerous financially, and for mental health.

Here’s how you block loan adverts on Facebook

Here’s how you can hide certain adverts on Facebook.

  1. Log into Facebook and to the ‘ad preferences‘ section.
  2. Scroll down a little bit to the ‘hide ad topics’ bit
  3. You can then decide to hide ads for parenting, pets and alcohol for either six months, one year or permanently.

This is all well and good if you want to hide pet, parenting and alcohol ads – but how do we get ‘loans’ added to the list?

YOU CAN SUGGEST OTHER SENSITIVE TOPICS

You can write in the word ‘loans’ and if enough of us suggest it, Facebook will consider making it an option.

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My own suggestion isn’t going to cut the mustard. We need to get hundreds of us – no thousands, to do it.

It might not help you personally, being able to switch off these loan ads on Facebook, but it might help a friend or family member who isn’t telling you just how much trouble they are in with debt.

So if you could do it, and spread the word – allowing vulnerable people to silence these preditors who want to make their world worse – please take 30 seconds out of your day to do it and share this article.

What if you do need a loan?

If you are someone who is targeted by unethical loan companies on social media, and you are in debt – get some free, impartial debt advice. There’s loads of help out there.


Let me know if you’ve done it. I’m going to bother Facebook until they add it. I need your help though!

One Response

  1. Jeanette Burns January 28, 2020

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