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Not ‘Black Mirror’: People Can Now Buy Ads To ‘Brainwash’ Others Into Having Sex
By Mikelle Leow, 24 Jan 2019
Image via Shutterstock
Forget witchcraft, a startup claims it can influence people around you to do your bidding by channeling a series of advertisements targeted at your demands into their Facebook and Instagram feeds. These include ads that sneakily persuade your partner to propose to you, as well as ones that initiate sexy time… because old-fashioned love doesn’t exist anymore.
The Spinner, a startup based in London, Bangalore, and Tel Aviv, is “a service that enables you to subconsciously influence a specific person, by controlling the content on the websites he or she usually visits,” its website reads. Your target then gets “repetitively exposed to hundreds of items” disguised as editorial content.
At just US$29, customers get to pick a “campaign” comprising ads directed at their lovers, parents, colleagues, or whomever they wish to “subconsciously influence.”
One disturbing example is the “Initiate sex!” package that’s targeted at “wives,” who—after the program is purchased—will begin to see 10 different articles encouraging them to do the deed with their husbands.
The ‘Initiate sex!’ program is The Spinner’s most popular one yet, and attributes to 82-percent of its 150,000, and counting, sales. Articles churned out from the package include an ‘Eight ways to initiate sex’ writeup, as well as a ‘The Importance of Sex for a Happy Marriage’ feature from Marriage.com. It is unclear if the sites featured have any inkling of being looped into these adverts.
There’s also a campaign urging boyfriends to propose to their partners, a program pushing colleagues to find new jobs, a package encouraging loved ones to stop eating meat, and even a scheme for kids who want their parents to get them a dog.
Sounds like a potential plot for a Black Mirror episode? It is very real, and Big Brother is clapping from wherever he is watching.
Elliot Shefler, VP of social and media at The Spinner, explains that the system delivers a special link to the “target” via text message. While innocuous-looking, it is attached with a cookie that launches a series of ads when opened.
“From this point the target will be strategically bombarded with articles specified for him or her,” he tells the Daily Dot.
The Spinner debuted in April last year, and first did its funneling through services in charge of those “around the web” advertisements you see on websites. Shefler, however, says that The Spinner now relies on Facebook and Instagram, and purchases ad space on the networks to “brainwash”—a word Shefler uses—its audiences.
When asked about the success rate of the ‘Initiate sex!’ campaign, Shefler tells the Daily Dot, “180 days after the campaign is activated, we send the user a feedback form. We get many emotional stories back.”
As you can tell, manipulating your partner into hitting the sack with you isn’t going to strengthen your relationship in the long term.
Resorting to such means “suggests a lack of true intimacy and respect in the partnership,” says relationship counselor Julia Cole. It also hints at a “less-than-sophisticated understanding of sexual functioning in men and women.”
Cole elaborates that desire for sex depends on timing, a person’s mood, stress or fatigue levels, or feelings of emotional closeness. It is “very unlikely” for this desire to manifest by sending a link.
“The best way to enjoy and initiate sex is to talk about what you want and what gives you pleasure,” encourages Cole. “It’s crucial to be sensitive to what your partner is feeling and to respond to this.”
A handful of “campaigns” created by The Spinner, which “enables you to subconsciously influence a specific person” through targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram. Screenshot via The Spinner
[via Daily Dot, images via various sources]
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