Why Would Facebook Assume I’m Into Veganism?

Posted By Debbie on December 14, 2015

Facebook tries day and night to get you to like pages, join groups, and attend or create events. It tries to guess what you might be into based on what’s close to you and what your friends like.

As a UX chick, I would love to know how it decides that one friend’s interests should be 90% of what I’m shown, especially when I have no behaviours that would tell Facebook his interests match mine.

I’m Not Vegan

Let’s start with that. I eat animal products in nearly every meal of the day. I’m far from vegan and since I find that the more Paleo I go, the better I function, I’m unlikely to be vegan any time ever.

I follow multiple Paleo pages on Facebook for recipe ideas. I follow no vegan pages. I have never attended a vegan event other than one vegan friend’s annual vegan birthday dinner. Facebook would see me invited to other vegan events and declining them nearly the moment I’m invited. Friend doesn’t invite me anymore at my request.

I’m not in any vegan groups. I’m in very few groups and none are remotely about vegans. One is about D23 members (Disney fans). One is people who went to the same summer camp I did when I was very little.

Every time Facebook suggests a vegan thing to me, I “x” it out as soon as I see it.

I’m also not single. I’ve been in a relationship since April 2012, and Facebook knows that. So it has no reason to show me dating sites. It used to show me engagement rings but appears to have given up. 🙂

I am for animal rights and improving their situations but am not connected to any of those on Facebook. Most of the things I’m connected to on Facebook are related to Walt Disney World since that’s a main obsession for me. I don’t think you could eat vegan there if you wanted to.

About once a month, I post to Facebook about a negative run-in I had with a vegan person or vegan article I read. If Facebook is parsing for sentiment, they’d know I’m not into it. If Facebook isn’t parsing for sentiment, and assumed I am into vegan stuff because I mentioned it, then they will also assume that vocal conservatives are into Obama and abortions. Which would be unfortunate for those people. Plus I write very often about Disney… where are those links or suggestions from Facebook?

So having established that, how much should Facebook try to get me to engage with vegan things on Facebook?

Most Of Facebook’s Suggested Pages, Groups, and Events For Me Are Vegan

I have many Facebook friends into a variety of things. One friend is very into Catholic prayers and pages. I don’t get shown those.

I have friends who genuinely like GOP presidential candidates. I’m not shown those as suggested pages.

One local friend mostly posts about Black Lives Matter, protests, and Oakland “dyke” events. I’m not shown those as suggested things.

I have one local vegan friend. He’s into ALL these things. Here are some of the Vegan pages and groups Facebook pushes on me daily:

  • Vegan Aquafaba (whatever that is)
  • Vegan Singles Around The Globe (not single)
  • Santa Cruz Vegans (not in Santa Cruz)
  • Naughty Vegan Humour (are these red meat jokes?)
  • What Naughty Vegans Eat (I’m gonna guess it’s carbs and sugars)
  • Worldwide Vegans
  • Vegans in SF, Berkeley, and Oakland
  • Vegans United (for or against what)
  • Vegan Teens Sanctuary (um, not a teen)
  • Vegan Cats (please don’t feed your carnivorous hunter a vegan diet, which these people do, which is inhumane to a cat’s natural self)
  • Veganism
  • Power To The Veg!
  • Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses (since meringues are egg whites, I’m going to assume a lot of misses there)

These Aren’t Ads or Sponsored

These aren’t ads or sponsored posts where the page owner asks Facebook to promote something to fans’ friends. These are just every day right column Facebook suggestions.

You’d think that if the Vegan Teens wanted to advertise, they’d go for people in their stated age group (13-21). They wouldn’t look for 43 yr olds. That might be a bad idea. So these aren’t ads.

Distracting User Experience

It’s distracting to have Facebook suggesting so many pages, groups, and events that I will never be interested in. No it’s not a sign. I am not going vegan. I want animals treated way better but I still need to eat them to function well.

I would love to see how Facebook decides that one friend’s groups, likes, and events take precedence over anything else they can show me. I have other local friends. They have things they are into. I don’t seem to be getting those.