The Daily Beast: Inside the Secret Facebook War For Mormon Hearts and Minds. “The project was called MormonAds, and it was a brief but perhaps unprecedented experiment in targeted religious dissuasion. In four months at the end of 2017, the project targeted more than 5,000 practicing Mormons with messages painstakingly crafted to serve as gentle introductions to the messier elements of LDS history that were glossed over within the church. All the names and email addresses for the campaign came from disillusioned ex-Mormons.”
The Daily Dot: Facebook is helping husbands ‘brainwash’ their wives with targeted ads. “Imagine you’re married. Maybe you’ve been going through a stressful couple of months. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, or your current job is a nightmare, and maybe you’ve suffered from poor health and fallen out with long-term friends, so that you hardly ever see anyone but your husband and kids. Now imagine that, understandably, your libido has fallen through the floor during this difficult period, so you don’t even think about sex anymore. And finally, imagine that your husband has begun targeting you with online ads intended to ‘brainwash’ you into having sex with him, since he can’t think of any other way of restoring your interest in lovemaking.”
Medium: Facebook’s Illusion of Control over Location-Related Ad Targeting. “Facebook’s advertising principles and statements from the VP of ads, Rob Goldman, emphasize that its Ads Preferences tool allows users to ‘control how your data informs your ad experience.’ However, Irfan Faizullabhoy and I have observed that when it comes to one of the most privacy-sensitive types of data, location, Facebook does not provide meaningful controls and is misleading in its statements to users and advertisers.”
New York Times: Voter Suppression and Racial Targeting: In Facebook’s and Twitter’s Words. “A report submitted to a Senate committee about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election says that social media companies made misleading or evasive claims about whether the efforts tried to discourage voting or targeted African-Americans on their platforms.”
BBC: Bereaved mother criticises Facebook over baby ads. “The mother of a stillborn child has called on tech companies to rethink how they target ads after she was inundated with baby-related promotions. Gillian Brockell wrote to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Experian, saying if they were smart enough to deduce she had been pregnant, they should have realised her baby had died.”
Lifehacker: How to See What Twitter Thinks Your Interests Are. “Twitter officially rolled out the way to see your interests (and customize them) in May, but the feature gained a lot of attention this week when people started sharing theirs online.” I took a quick dekko at mine and I must say Twitter got it much more right than Facebook, though it’s weird to have people listed as an interest.
TechCrunch: LinkedIn violated data protection by using 18M email addresses of non-members to buy targeted ads on Facebook. “LinkedIn, the social network for the working world with close to 600 million users, has been called out a number of times for how it is able to suggest uncanny connections to you, when it’s not even clear how or why LinkedIn would know enough to make those suggestions in the first place. Now, a run-in with a regulator in Europe illuminates how some of LinkedIn’s practices leading up to GDPR implementation in Europe were not only uncanny, but actually violated data protection rules, in LinkedIn’s case concerning some 18 million email addresses.”