1. Four years ago we moved from a place we’d lived at for several years. A couple of months ago I opened Safari on my phone and was going to search for a restaurant. The auto-complete on the first letter suggested the obituary of our next-door neighbor who had passed away three years ago (a year after we moved). I was very chat-over-the-fence close to him while we were neighbors but didn’t cope well with his sickness. I never even knew his last name until Google taught it to me in the bizarre auto-complete from the letter ‘R’. That unsettled me a bit.
2. I woke up with a nose bleed at around 3am. My pillow, sheets were covered with blood. I sleep with the light on and my phone was next to me.
Opened facebook while I was standing in the bathroom holding my nose shut with a tissue, and I got an advertisement for nosebleed plugs.
Took the microphone and the camera out of my phone after that. I was just too creeped out.
3. Not mine, but my sister was watching a documentary or some sort of program on Netflix, and the program involved a funeral. They were picking out a headstone, and different funeral arrangements, the usual. The next morning, she wakes up, and every ad in her Facebook feed is for headstones and other funeral related items. No deaths in the family or any other potential search that could’ve sparked it.
She was super weirded out by the ads themselves, because she initially couldn’t work out why it was showing headstones and grave markers and such. Phone was definitely listening that night.
4. I’ve had a nasty cough for the last couple of weeks. One day I coughed really hard for a few minutes solidly and saw little lights dancing around my peripheral vision for a few seconds.
I was at home alone so without saying a single word out loud, I opened my phone and into google I typed “what does it mean when”…
before google auto-populated “what does it mean when you cough so hard you see stars”
5. I had bought cookie dough and my mom joked she was going to eat it raw I told her she could get sick. Couple hours later opened up Google and there’s an article about how eating raw cookie dough is dangerous. I never googled this subject.
6. It wasn’t even my phone but a good friend/coworker’s phone. She had her phone on her, I did not. I tell her I saw the pictures she posted from a wedding she attended and mentioned that the dress she wore was so gorgeous and where was it from. She tells me Rent the Runway and I start asking questions: how did you like RtR? Did it have good options? Was it easy to use? I am going to a wedding in a few months and I was thinking about trying it but had yet to actually look into it.
Later that day I am checking FB and there’s that ad for Rent the Runway. Friend’s phone seems to have overheard, knew who I was, and informed my FB to show me that ad. Thanks you creepy stalker.
7. Went to go pick up a dress with my friend yesterday – we had looked online for pics of it, and couldn’t find any. Today, instagram “suggests” a pic of a girl in that exact dress.
8. I watched a video on my friend’s phone. Then I got a recommendation for a video from that same channel on my phone. Never seen videos from that channel before that.
9. I had sent a my friend a picture with my new glasses on. A few days later I saw the same glasses in an ad.
10. Talked to family member for the first time about their psychological condition. Started getting Amazon “recommended for you” ads for people with that condition.
11. I had my boyfriend visit me at college but he forget his toothbrush. Kept saying that out loud. “Do you have an extra toothbrush?” “Does your roommate have another toothbrush?” “I’ll ask the group chat to see if anyone has a spare toothbrush” etc. Next morning what does Amazon send an email about recommending me? You better believe it was a bunch of dental care products.
12. Girlfriend and I were walking in the mall. Passed by “Torrid”, a plus size women’s clothes store. Started saying “Torrid” out loud and talking about how awful that name sounded. Next day guess what I start getting targeted ads for? Torrid.
I hadn’t searched for anything remotely related to clothing on any device. I’m a dude and my girlfriend is short and skinny. I understand that advertisers can cater to you based off of where your device is. But it was a mall. There’s TONS of stores there. I just so happened to get ads for one of the only stores whose name I said out loud…
13. Friend of mine goes to a certain local coffee chain often. I just moved here and almost every time we talk on the phone he either mentions this chain or is at a drive through ordering as we’re talking. Started getting targeted ads on my social media from the chain.
14. Friend and I had just hung up the phone after jokingly talking about starting a business.
First thing I do is open Instagram, it automatically refreshes, very first post on my feed is a meme that said “Are you even really best friends if you haven’t planned at least one business together?”
15. I was literally thinking about buying a sleeping mask because I’ve been having trouble sleeping due to being very light sensitive. What’s the first ad I see on Instagram? HEY THERE! WANNA BUY A SLEEPING MASK???
16. There was a song in a movie or something and it was playing aloud, after I went to google it and I typed: ‘lyrics for…’ and before I finished, Google auto completed the query with the exact fucking song.
17. I had been skyping with my boyfriend (on my laptop) one night over the past summer, and somehow he had talked about Paramore, a band which I’ve never paid attention to or really cared about. He played one of their music videos and was sharing his screen with me.
Anyway, a little after that, I decided to go on my phone and check instagram, and the third post down was an ad for a Paramore concert in the city he lives in. It was creepy af.
18. Siri enabled itself to show me search results for ways to quit smoking while I was watching a show where someone was talking about smoking. I definitely had all the options set to disable Siri/listening/etc. so that was some bullshit.
19. Was joking with my sister about how nobody uses the word “tunic” for sweater anymore and 10 minutes later there was an ad for “tunics” on my phone.
20. I sent a Snapchat of a Porsche at a car dealership and the next time I went on YouTube I got an ad for the new Porsche…
21. A couple of days after I broke up with my gf, spotify put a break-up playlist on my recommended. I hadn’t changed the kind of music I was listening to during those days either.
22. I will open up IMDB to find out some info on a show or movie, and 99% of the time, the homepage will have what I am watching.
23. I’m not Hispanic, but I was doing Duolingo (language practicing app) on my phone and was doing a part where you had to speak into it. A few hours later, I got a Snapchat Spotify ad completely in Spanish. I also got a normal Spotify ad in Spanish too. Freaky.
24. I can’t say my phone was listening to me exactly but I have a coworker who has been slowly bringing up that they’re poly and kinky with me at work. A couple of weeks later I started getting some… interesting advertisements for dating couples, cuddle parties, and other “group activities.”
25. I work at a pharmacy, and I was facing condoms in the ‘family planning’ aisle. My phone was all the way upstairs in my locker. I didn’t say a word about condoms, or mention it to anyone during my shift. After work as soon as I opened Facebook, a Durex ad appeared.
26. My dad and I were talking on the phone and he was telling me about how he had to bug-bomb his work truck because he had seen a few ants and roaches. I commiserated and said that I also had helped my friend bug-bomb his car once too after he left a bunch of food in it while on deployment.
Within hours of that phone call I was getting ads for bug-bomb on all my social media.
27. My aunty was talking about some meme she saw on Facebook, and when my sister went to the explore tab on Instagram like 10 minutes later, the first picture was the exact same meme that our aunty was talking about.
28. I went out with my friend, asked her what job she is doing now, which is a promoter of a kid dairy product.
Never in my life searched anything about kid product and food in any of my app. But IG started showing me ads after ads of different brand kid dairy product right after our conversation has ended.
Not long after , FB started showing me similar ads too.
IG and FB must be partner in crime.
29. Someone texted me about a company they saw on Shark Tank. I had never watched the show or searched for it on my phone. Open up youtube and had a shark tank video recommended to me.
30. We received a LEGO set as a present, so I hadn’t looked at it in the online shop or googled it before. On the day we were building it, I got LEGO ads on my social media, which has never happened before and hasn’t happened since the set is finished either.
31. I open Facebook and a girl, I don’t have the number of, don’t go to the same school as, don’t really live near (about 2 hours away) and my only connection with is rock climbing together (friend of a friend) gets recommend to me. Wouldn’t be so weird but I don’t even have the friend she’s a friend of on Facebook…. Like how do you know this shit about my life.
32. I was talking about a piece of guitar gear with my bandmate. I never searched for it, there is no trace of me looking for that piece of very specific piece of gear.
After that I went home, lo and behold there is an ad for that insanely specific piece if gear. Freaked me the fuck out!
33. I remember mentioning that I liked the hoodie my friend was wearing that day to another friend, without the hoodie friend in the room. And 10 minutes later the exact hoodie shows up as an Instagram ad, never even mentioned what the hoodie looked like.
34. Put away some food in Tupperware that my roommate had bought several years ago. Opened phone to ad for that exact Tupperware.
35. Recently my partner and I started watching Botched Up Bodies on Netflix, now all her Facebook ads are for plastic surgery, and she’s definitely never googled it.
36. I was telling my husband about a long running discussion between me and my father that involved model ships. Next time he opened Facebook, ads for model ships. And that was when I started looking at building a Faraday cage.
37. I bought a nice bottle of scotch. Came home and started watching something on Hulu. The first ad was for a high end scotch brand. It had been like 10 minutes.
38. I’d been reading a physical copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to my kid. I’ve never used my phone for hungry caterpillar, I’d never googled it, I didn’t buy it online, The next day, insta had multiple hungry caterpillar ads. Thanks NSA guys, hope you enjoyed those dramatic readings!
39. My husband and I agreed not to tell anyone the name we picked for our baby that’s due in a couple of weeks. So we have legitimately only talked to each other about his name. Now I am getting random game ads, etc that have the name in it. Once would be a coincidence, but this has happened multiple times.
40. I was suspicious that instagram had been listening to me for a while so i decided to test it by yelling the word “pizza” at my phone over and over. Sure enough, the next day, my feed was filled nothing but ads for Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Digiorno etc. I deleted my IG immediately
41. I was booking an event for a bachelor party at a go karting venue in Quebec. When I called to book, they answered in French. I don’t really speak the language, but being a polite Canadian, tried my best to ask them, in French, if they could speak in English. For two or three weeks after that conversation, every advertisement on my Facebook feed was in French – not for French services, or Quebec-based businesses – all ads, even the generic ones.
42. Had a conversation in the car with my girlfriend in which the game Battlefield was mentioned. Get to destination, check time on phone, notification from Amazon app telling me Battlefield is on sale… not even a fan of that game, never searched it on Amazon, and Amazon app was not open previously.
43. A few weeks ago I was talking to my brother, and I referenced a YouTube video that I hadn’t watched in months. It was that Brian Jordan Alvarez video with the line “Sometimes… things that are expensive… are worse.”
Later that day when I opened the YouTube app on my phone, that scene was in the top of my recommended videos. It wasn’t even the whole original video – it was just a clip of that particular scene, with the line I referenced as the title. Freaky stuff.
44. When I started a new job all the songs on the playlist started popping up as suggested videos.
45. I leave my cell phone on my desk at work while I’m on my work phone talking to insurance companies about patients all day. Sometimes I’ll check Facebook and my patients will come up in the people you might know list.
I do live in a small town, so we usually have a couple friends in common, but it’s still weird.
46. I was talking to my friend about my camper while our kids were sledding. A couple days later I got an ad for my exact make model and year of camper for sale while I was googling a recipe.
47. I casually mentioned to my wife while driving that I would like to see the historical sites in Philadelphia someday. One hour later Google suggested that I download maps ahead of time “for your trip to Philadelphia.” There is literally no other reason my phone would suggest that.
48. This actually happened a few days ago. I was hanging out with some friends and one of them was talking to another about where they’re from. He mentioned that he grew up in El Paso, TX. I literally have never googled El Paso or looked it up to any degree on my phone or computer, at least not any time remotely recently. The next day on Instagram the suggestion for the location story was El Paso, even though usually the location story is based off of where you’re at and I was states away from Texas.
49. I was just slicing a lemon for my water and I got an email about what lemon water does to your body. This is getting out of hand FBI guy!
50. Mentioned to Wife over dinner that we should watch [movie] with the kids. Turned on the TV and Roku that night and [movie] was the ad on the home screen.
The next day I picked up ingredients and tried making homemade [beverage]. That night, Roku gave me an ad for [beverage].
I blame Alexa.