Last month, I finally caved. After weeks of seeing the same ad in my Instagram feed over and over again, I did something I thought I would never do: I bought something directly from the app. It was a pair of women’s flats from Rothys, a brand that marketed its comfortable, machine-washable shoes as made from recycled plastic water bottles.
And I’ll admit, after doing it, I felt a little dirty. Not only did I fall for an ad, it was an ad that clearly pushed all of my buttons as an environmentally conscious woman who happens to like pretty shoes. It was clear that the ad was specifically targeted at me, and it worked. I started thinking: What do all of these ads say about who Instagram (or Facebook, etc.) think I am? But perhaps, more important, do
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