I use the waiting room app on my mobile device. When I have a few minutes, I like to check out what the people I follow are up to.
The problem is that I have to battle through a lot of sponsored content and suggested posts to get to the stuff I really want to see. There is a point when a user will throw their hands up in the air and say "enough" when they see an ad on a platform. This level is different for everyone, but for me, it's the same as the other ones.
Let's see if this works. In the first 16 posts on my feed, there were 14 instances of ads, suggested posts, and sponsored content. Before I got to a post by someone I follow, I had to scroll through six ads. I don't think it was this bad earlier this year, but I am not sure when it became this aggressive. There is a seemingly endless array of ads lined up in the same post.
There is something offensive about the content of the ads and suggested posts I'm seeing. I follow a number of pages that are related to fitness and wrestling. I have been told that I must be into boxing and body building. I'm being served ads for boxing lessons, which I don't particularly care about, and I see muscular men posing on a stage, which is not my cup of tea. There isn't much variety to this type of content on the platform. I'm a human in the year 2022, which means I have a variety of interests, but I'm not interested in body building. I can watch martial arts videos all day long. I think it's the way I'm engaging with this content that makes it seem like it doesn't accurately predict what I want to see.
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I'm not the only one. "Okay, we get it" is a thread from about a month ago on the website. Dozens of users are complaining about how bad the feed is on the photo sharing site.
60 percent of the posts on my newsfeed are from accounts I don't follow, yet there are accounts I do follow who post regularly and I don't ever see their posts. "It's gone from all my follows to every other follow and ad to as of today a three to two ratio of ads and promoted follows from the worst people and things," wrote ilivedownyourroad. I don't have a way to figure out how many ads are too many for the majority of users, but my guess is that it's past it for the social network.
The behavior is spilling over to Facebook. On this platform's feed, you'll see at least some content from the pages and people you follow on top, but there will be a ton of ads in between, and every now and then you'll see a suggested post from a page you don't really care In fact, this particular page which serves bodybuilding-related content, probably has little to do with it; Facebook has decided that I must be into the sport, and I will watch the videos.
But I don't wanna watch what Simon did next. Credit: Instagram/upromototraining
The sponsored overload on Facebook is not as bad as it is on the photo sharing site. If you want to switch to chronological post order every time you open the app, you have to do that first.
There are ways to reduce the amount of ads. There is a white arrow next to the logo on the top of the app that allows you to only see content from accounts you have set as favorites. The white arrow only appears once you've scrolled past the first post, which is a way to force you to see at least one ad before you get to the content you want. Adding all the content you want to follow and doing it every time you start the app is an additional hassle.
If you want to get rid of ads entirely, you can get an unofficial app that is against the terms of service, but unofficial apps can also be a way to get malicious software onto your device.
When you're force fed stuff you don't want it tarnishes the experience for most users. Advertisers will start to complain when engagement numbers fall from their tired and resigned audience. I asked if they think they have gone too far with sponsored content and will update this article when I hear back.
If you don't pay for it, you're not the user, you're the product being sold. If I don't get something back from the app, I will give up. It's very hard for me to give up right now because of the work being done byInstagram.