Google lets you report ads that know ‘too much’ about you, but there's a creepy catch

The company uses people’s feedback to improve the accuracy of its targeting

The Google logo is seen on display at the company's headquarters October 18, 2007 in Mountain View, California
The Google logo is seen on display at the company's headquarters October 18, 2007 in Mountain View, California

Google has started letting people report adverts that know “too much” about them.

The company delivers personalised display ads that are targeted at individual users, based on a number of factors.

These include your interests, demographics, cookies you’ve collected across the web, the types of website you visit and the apps you use.

You can report ads you don’t want to see again, but you need to tell Google why. The feedback options usually offered by Google are:

  • Ad was inappropriate
  • Seen this ad multiple times
  • Not interested in this ad
  • Ad covered content

However, a new option has just been spotted. Reddit user ultimatemanan97 this week posted a screengrab of a box reading: “Ad knew too much”.

It’s a nod to how creepily accurate personal ads can be.

Google uses people’s feedback to determine the accuracy of its information and improve its ad targeting.

I haven’t yet been able to view the “Ad knew too much” option, but it has also been spotted by Mashable.

Though it may be tempting to choose the new option when you feel an ad is too precise for your liking, fellow Reddit users reacting to the post have pointed out that doing so would essentially confirm to Google that its information was spot on.

“I see this and it's brilliantly evil,” wrote SsurebreC. “If you click this option, you're confirming to Google that the ad was absolutely on point and to not only continue to serve ads similar to this but to validate the data they have as legitimate.”

Another user, called Lucifer-yellow, suggested that people should try to trick the system: “My petty revenge is that when the ‘ad knew too much’ I will report it as ‘Ad covered content’ and if the ad is irrelevant I will report it as ad knew too much etc.”

You can change your personalisation controls in Ads Settings.

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