Should You Be Concerned About “Dark Posts” On Your Facebook Feed?

You might not realize it, but there are probably dark posts on your Facebook feed at this very moment. Despite the current political climate and negative connotation of the term, a dark post is not a reference to a status posted by someone whose views differ from your own. The term, which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary has identified as one of its words to watch, is used to describe a type of Facebook ad. More precisely, an ad that is targeting you. The more specific an ad on your feed is to your location, gender, and interests, the more likely it is to be a dark post. Dark posts are also known as unpublished posts because they aren't published on an advertiser's Facebook page. They will only show up on feeds when the advertiser puts ad dollars behind the ad, allowing it to be more narrowly geared towards a specific type of person. This doesn't mean a dark post is something sinister. If, for example, a brand wants to create two versions of the same ad, one targeted towards people living in Paris and another targeted towards people living in London, dark posts allow them to do so. This is why you and a friend who lives elsewhere might see a different version of the same ad, or why you might have an ad in your Facebook feed that doesn't appear in one of your friends' feeds. As Merriam-Webster points out, these kinds of ad posts might have been used more aggressively during the presidential election season, when candidates wanted to target specific types of individuals. There is no way to completely block dark posts from your Facebook feed, just as you can't completely block all ads. But you can adjust your ad preferences and limit how much advertisers are learning about you, based on your online activity.

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