Photo: Courtesy of Facebook.
Oh, Brian Swichkow, you shrewd devil, you.
The Vermont-based social marketer entered the pantheon of pranks recently, when he used Facebook's Custom Audience builder to target his poor, unsuspecting roommate. In all fairness, Swichkow was pranked first, so his roommate kind of had it coming.
But, did he go too far? You be the judge.
Facebook's Custom Audience ads appear on the site's sidebars, and are specifically targeted at users based on their personal data. Swichkow's roommate just happened to be a sword swallower, but couldn't swallow pills. Oh, the irony. So, Swichkow decided to create an ad targeted directly at sword swallowers who have trouble swallowing pills.
"Does it seem ironic that swallowing swords is easy and then small pills make you gag?" the ad read. Needless to say, Swichkow's roommate totally freaked out when the ad appeared on his Facebook sidebar. Was he being spied on? Did he unknowingly divulge personal information to the Facebook overlords? Was Big Brother real?
As his paranoia grew, Swichkow took the ads to the next level until, of course, they became sexual in nature. Eventually, the guilt became too much to bear, and Swichkow revealed his prank in the most epic way ever.
A decade ago, a good tar-and-feathering would have done just fine, but with the dawn of Internet privacy concerns and paranoia, this is truly the perfect prank for the millennial age.