Mom’s Desperate Plea Is A Warning To Us All

Have you ever searched for a product online and then been bombarded by ads for it in your Facebook feed?

Or gone to a new store or restaurant and then received countless offers from them in your inbox?

It happens to all of us, but one woman just sent big tech companies a chilling plea to stop.

Gillian Brockell had been excitedly posting on her social media accounts about her pregnancy.

She shared every part of her journey with friends while shopping for maternity clothes and baby products online, posting frequently on Facebook and Instagram.

Then the unthinkable happened.  Her baby boy was stillborn just shy of his expected due date.

Brockell and her family were, of course, devastated.  She was grieving and turning to friends on social media for comfort and support.

“We are heartbroken to share with you that our baby boy…will be stillborn,” she wrote in a post on November 30th. “Unbeknownst to us, something went wrong a few weeks ago, he stopped growing and then passed away…right now, we are devastated.”

But instead of comfort, she received a slap in the face from big tech companies.

Dozens of ads for maternity clothes, baby products, and articles on pregnancy and newborn care continued to fill her newsfeed.

Big tech giants like Facebook and Google track everything we do.

From what we eat, to what we buy, to monitoring our locations through our phones, big tech is always gathering data to create marketing targeted toward each individual.

The bottom line, of course, is money.  They want ours, and they are working hard to find out how to get it.

But if their algorithms are so accurate that we receive a coupon within an hour of visiting a store, why didn’t they pick up on Brockell’s candid posts about the death of her child?

For Gillian Brockell and millions of other social media users who are dealing with unexpected loss or personal tragedy, these ads can compound the pain.

Brockell was overwhelmed with grief and sadness following the death of her little boy.  She had had enough, and she issued a statement to the big tech giants.

“I know you knew I was pregnant. It’s my fault…What can I say, I am your ideal ‘engaged’ user,” she wrote as reported by Café Mom. “I bet Amazon.com even told you my due date, Jan. 24, when I created that Prime registry.

They knew every little detail of her pregnancy.  Every little outfit she looked at.  Every pregnancy symptom she Googled.

She asks then, why did they ignore her searches for “Braxton hicks vs. preterm labor?”  Why did they not pick up on her quest for information on “baby not moving?”

Or the sudden interruption of her usually active online presence after sharing her tragic news on Facebook?

Brockell’s statement to Big Tech, despite the tragic reason for it, has us cheering her courage to say what we all would like to.

“When we millions of brokenhearted people helpfully click ‘I don’t want to see this ad,’ and even answer your ‘Why?’ with the cruel-but-true ‘It’s not relevant to me,’ do you know what your algorithm decides, Tech Companies?”

“It decides you’ve given birth, assumes a happy result and deluges you with ads for the best nursing bras…DVDs about getting your baby to sleep through the night (I would give anything to have heard him cry at all), and the best strollers to grow with your baby (mine will forever be 4 pounds 1 ounce).”

She goes on to ask the tech companies why they were so able to track and target her during her pregnancy but didn’t have the decency to use the same data gathering to realize her baby had died and stop the ads.

Most of us understand that our data is being tracked and stored, but few of us realize just how much of our lives are monitored by Big Tech companies.

Listverse warns, “It’s worse than you think. You’re probably already aware that everything you do online is tracked, recorded, and sold to make better-targeted ads, but it goes way further than that. You’re being monitored in ways Orwell never even imagined.”

While we may enjoy seeing ads and coupons for our favorite places or articles that appeal to our interests popping up on our newsfeeds, Brockell’s story shows the dark side of all this intelligence gathering.

Not only are these tech companies violating our privacy, but their constant meddling in order to make a buck just adds salt to the wounds of millions whose circumstances may have drastically changed overnight.

Brockell’s story is heartbreaking, but her brave statement serves as a warning to us all:  Be careful what you share online, because someone is always watching.

What do you think of the fact that Gillian Brockell was still bombarded by maternity and baby adds after her son died?  Leave us your thoughts.

 

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