via Paid Man Gets Bored / Twitter

On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys took on the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. While it wasn't a huge shock that the favored Packers pulled off a 34 - 24 victory, people were bewildered to see Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush, and their spouses, sitting next to each other in Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones' suite.

The picture of the lesbian liberal comedian sitting next to a former Republican president who called for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, didn't sit well with a lot of folks on social media.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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