The Verge: A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections

The Verge: A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections. “Of all the steps Facebook has taken in the wake of the 2016 election to improve trust in the platform, the political ads archive has been among the most effective. It allows anyone to see what ads are running, how much money is being spent on them, and who is being targeted by them. It also requires anyone who wants to buy political ads to register with a government ID, using a code mailed to their address. Collectively, the ads tell a story about how people are using Facebook to influence behavior, while taking steps to ensure advertisers are who they say they are. Facebook has said that it plans to improve the archive over time. And in the weeks before the US election, some significant flaws have appeared.”

The Next Web: The free internet makes us the product — we need to stop it

The Next Web: The free internet makes us the product — we need to stop it. “Only now, are we realizing how impactful it is to us when our personal data is sold to people and organizations who don’t have our best interests in mind. As long as we’re enjoying the fruits of a free internet that’s fundamentally being paid for by advertising, products like Facebook, Twitter, and other ‘free’ sites are going to continue to do things that don’t always align with our interests. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”

Qrius: I dismantled Google’s tracking systems — here’s what happened

Qrius: I dismantled Google’s tracking systems — here’s what happened. “Here’s what happened when I turned off all of Google’s excessive tracking services, and the shocking discoveries I made about what certain companies know about me from my search history and tracking services.”

Neowin: Firefox will block some trackers by default in the future

Neowin: Firefox will block some trackers by default in the future. “Mozilla is getting ready to crack down on trackers found throughout the web. Trackers are typically used by websites to collect information about the user, allowing for more accurate, targeted advertisements, which comes at the cost of both performance, privacy, and even security. For that reason, in future versions of Firefox, Mozilla is targeting some of the more harmful forms of tracking to improve users’ experience on the web.”

Engadget: EU may fine political groups misusing personal data to skew elections

Engadget: EU may fine political groups misusing personal data to skew elections. “The European Union is determined to prevent a Cambridge Analytica-style scandal where politicians misuse personal data for strategic gains. The Financial Times has learned of a European Commission draft amendment that would fine political organizations if they benefit from surreptitious personal data gathering.”

CNET: Facebook axes 5,000 ad categories that excluded based on ethnicity, religion

CNET: Facebook axes 5,000 ad categories that excluded based on ethnicity, religion. “Facebook is looking to make its advertising platform less discriminatory. On Tuesday, the company said it had removed more than 5,000 ad-targeting categories in an effort to limit the ability of advertisers to exclude users based on ethnicity or religion.”