36 votes

I have cancer and now my Facebook feed is full of "alternative care" ads

18 comments

  1. bloup
    Link
    I’ve been having weird neurologic problems lately and now google serves me ads targeting people with brain and spinal tumors. Fuck advertising. Nobody knows what’s wrong with me yet, not even my...

    I’ve been having weird neurologic problems lately and now google serves me ads targeting people with brain and spinal tumors. Fuck advertising. Nobody knows what’s wrong with me yet, not even my doctors. This is horrible for my OCD.

    19 votes
  2. [5]
    Grimalkin
    Link
    Simple, do-it-yourself solution: Ad-blocking software. If such software doesn't work/doesn't exist for your phone, stop using your phone to look at those sites and only do it on your...

    Simple, do-it-yourself solution: Ad-blocking software.

    If such software doesn't work/doesn't exist for your phone, stop using your phone to look at those sites and only do it on your laptop/desktop. Firefox + uBlock Origin as a basic start will make it so Google, Facebook and many others can't show you any ads at all and makes for so, SO very much better of an experience overall.

    16 votes
    1. cstby
      Link Parent
      This. Reducing your exposure to ads will increase your quality of life.

      This. Reducing your exposure to ads will increase your quality of life.

      17 votes
    2. vord
      Link Parent
      Firefox is hands down the best for this now. uBlock as a baseline, uMatrix if you can tolerate it. Site containers, split religiously. Wipe cookies often User-agent switcher is also useful...I...

      Firefox is hands down the best for this now.

      • uBlock as a baseline, uMatrix if you can tolerate it.
      • Site containers, split religiously.
      • Wipe cookies often
      • User-agent switcher is also useful...I generally switch to the Chrome/Windows combo to mask myself a touch more.
      • Privacy badger for the gaps
      9 votes
    3. [2]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      Ad-blocking isn't enough. I'm seriously considering the whole de-Google and Apple/Linux-only devices route. Despite all the reasonable caution in the world (privacy-oriented browsers, ad-blockers...

      Ad-blocking isn't enough. I'm seriously considering the whole de-Google and Apple/Linux-only devices route. Despite all the reasonable caution in the world (privacy-oriented browsers, ad-blockers in the browser, anti-trackers, Startpage search, piHole, filtered DNS, etc.), if I turn off ad-blocking to check, I'm seeing crap product placements targeted for 55-year old female arthritis and depression sufferers.

      There's no way in hell Google got that information except through my one GMail account, location data, or Android keyboard.

      7 votes
  3. [4]
    annadane
    Link
    The question of how much advertising is truly necessary for websites to function is an interesting discussion in 2020; at least vet your ads

    The question of how much advertising is truly necessary for websites to function is an interesting discussion in 2020; at least vet your ads

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      zoid
      Link Parent
      This seems excessively harmful, and topics of illnesses really shouldn't be candidates for ad targeting. I shutter to think of the mental health implications of being bombarded with these kinds of...

      This seems excessively harmful, and topics of illnesses really shouldn't be candidates for ad targeting.

      I shutter to think of the mental health implications of being bombarded with these kinds of intrusive ads when in a delicate state of physical health.

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        bloup
        Link Parent
        It’s been a living hell for me.

        It’s been a living hell for me.

        9 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          Adblock without shame or remorse. Your mental health is infinitely more important.

          Adblock without shame or remorse.

          Your mental health is infinitely more important.

          11 votes
  4. [5]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    I suppose the big question here is whether or not this is harmful. Clearly what's being advertised is not going to work, but is it harmful to show the ads? Will this provide false hope? Is this...

    I suppose the big question here is whether or not this is harmful. Clearly what's being advertised is not going to work, but is it harmful to show the ads? Will this provide false hope? Is this potentially misleading to the consumer? Should specific kinds of ads be fact checked? As the author points out, some of these treatments are potentially lethal - whether it be from the treatment itself or the false hope it gives that allows one to avoid verified and validated medical treatment.

    I don't know that I have the answer to this, but my gut reaction when I first read the headline was that this is a bad thing. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm glad the author is drawing attention to it because this feels like something that needs a deep discussion.

    6 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      There was a time in the US where you simply couldn't advertise prescription drugs to consumers. It makes no sense for a typical consumer to go to their doctor to ask for a specific drug. It should...

      There was a time in the US where you simply couldn't advertise prescription drugs to consumers. It makes no sense for a typical consumer to go to their doctor to ask for a specific drug. It should happen the other way around. The doctor should diagnose your condition and tell you what the options are. They eventually relaxed this rule because money is more important than lives in our culture now, unfortunately.

      From where I stand, this is essentially the same issue with the added problem that the things being advertised don't work and can harm the consumer. There are a number of types of harm that can happen: delayed action with real treatments while you mess around with bogus ones; wasting money on treatments that do nothing; being injured or killed by a bogus treatment. These ads shouldn't be allowed at all let alone be placed by algorithms. Unfortunately, there are so many and the people who run the agencies that are supposed to police this don't have the resources to even begin to go after these people. (This is by design in some cases where political ideologues have neutered the agencies.)

      22 votes
    2. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      The UK in particular would agree with you. TLDR: advertising pharmaceuticals in the UK is highly restricted, and advertising any cancer treatment is forbidden. Because doctors should be evaluating...

      but my gut reaction when I first read the headline was that this is a bad thing.

      The UK in particular would agree with you. TLDR: advertising pharmaceuticals in the UK is highly restricted, and advertising any cancer treatment is forbidden. Because doctors should be evaluating things that require a MD to fully understand, not my lazy ass with an associate's degree from a fast track school in Arizona that had since gone out of business and was the subject of a class action lawsuit for misleading advertising.

      13 votes
    3. bloup
      Link Parent
      People suffering from diseases should not be marks for advertisers who are only trying to help someone else make a buck.

      People suffering from diseases should not be marks for advertisers who are only trying to help someone else make a buck.

      7 votes
    4. gco
      Link Parent
      This website has a collection of articles geared towards the "What's the harm?" argument on many different topics.

      This website has a collection of articles geared towards the "What's the harm?" argument on many different topics.

      1 vote
  5. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Cancer leads to desperation. Desperation leads to seeking for answers, which ultimately translates to clicks for organizations unscrupulous enough to solicit them. The best solution would be for...

    Cancer leads to desperation. Desperation leads to seeking for answers, which ultimately translates to clicks for organizations unscrupulous enough to solicit them.

    The best solution would be for any company with an interest in improving our society to with-hold their advertising to hit them where it hurts. We, as the people who drive the clicks are unfortunately unable to do this alone, and our government so far has proven ineffective at it, at least in the US.

    I also think misinformation like this operates in a way similar to a hazardous substance, which is funny considering it often involves hazardous substances. Exposure to it, to many people, is the initial hazard. We've seen it amplified in this pandemic, but it's always been there, lurking behind the scenes. Even when the "treatment" itself isn't dangerous, the delay for valid treatments can be.

    So, I think that like any dangerous substance, we have a duty to control it. You put a warning label on bleach, so why not the people selling bleach as a miracle cure, who just got cracked down on? Or drinking fermented juice to cure autism and non-existent parasitic infections? I could list more, but I at least think I've made my point.

    4 votes
  6. monado
    Link
    I don't know how people can really tolerate internet ads at all, if you want to help support your e-celebs, donate to them.

    I don't know how people can really tolerate internet ads at all, if you want to help support your e-celebs, donate to them.

    1 vote
  7. EscapedYank
    Link
    Other than the obvious advice of getting OFF Facebook, my other suggestion would be installing SocialFixer in Firefox (https://socialfixer.com/). Different than an adblocker (certainly install one...

    Other than the obvious advice of getting OFF Facebook, my other suggestion would be installing SocialFixer in Firefox (https://socialfixer.com/). Different than an adblocker (certainly install one of those also!), SocialFixer is a HMTL/CSS "fixer" solely for Facebook. Allows you to tweek how Facebook works . . but most importantly, allows you to "turn off" all Sponsored articles from your Feed! Also supports key word blocking - my list including Trump, GOP . . .