Instagram, In My Head

Have you ever talked to a friend about something and then when you go to check Instagram there is suddenly an advertisement (ad) for that same product you were talking about? You may have fallen victim to Instagram’s recent policies for “targeted advertising.” 

According to, Instagram practices the idea that their users “don’t mind viewing ads that reflect the topics they care about,” which makes the platform a generous system of marketing for advertisers looking for more effective ways to reach audiences. Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has taken measures to improve the relevance of ads as they relate to consumers in order to increase advertising success. 

As long as you are logged into Instagram which browsing the web, the items you are seeing have a strong chance of popping into your feed again later. These occurrences in which items online show up again on social media are called dynamic ads. These ads are used to promote reconsideration of purchases and also show similar “related” items that the consumer might be interested in. Companies can track people’s interests using “cookies” to create a profile for them.

It has been common to hear stories about conversations, where the product shows up on their feed later without any related online searches. The app’s users are suspicious that it is not only tracking their internet usage, but also tapping into their personal conversations. However, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri released statements denying this, using the excuses of “dumb luck” and coincidence. 

Mosseri argues that Instagram is capable of remembering things we browsed, such as online shopping searches or topics we frequently research that we may not have remembered ever even seeing, according to Although it is easier to believe Instagram hears us, the app cannot physically be listening to each of its 500 million monthly active user’s individual interactions. 

Instead of stalking us and listening to every word we share, Instagram simply has the ability to harvest data on us that sometimes we may not even remember ourselves. In some cases the apps we use everyday knows us better than we know ourselves. 

Hello, my name is Brooke Simmons and I am a Senior at Saint John Vianney High School. I am co-editor in chief of our school newspaper, Lancers Point as I hold my position through our Journalism class. Furthermore, I have been featured in the school's Literary Magazine as well as being a member of the Early College Academy where I attend classes at Brookdale Community College.

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