Mother Jones: Activists Couldn’t Get Facebook to Tackle Its Discrimination Problem—Until the Russia Scandal Hit. “Famously launched from Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room in 2004, Facebook now has more users than Christianity has adherents. In 15 years of unregulated growth, it has become a place where companies can market fancy houses to white people and junk food to black children, where hate speech is amplified and the right to vote is suppressed. As the problems multiplied, some advocates and watchdogs came to believe that the repeated civil rights violations on the platform were rooted in a deliberate decision by Facebook to ignore evidence of advertising discrimination, voter suppression, and the proliferation of hate speech and extremism.”
TechCrunch: Mozilla adds fingerprinting and cryptocurrency mining protection to Firefox. “Mozilla is adding a new feature to protect you against web annoyances in future releases of Firefox. The new feature is currently available in the beta version of Firefox 67, and the nightly version of Firefox 68. They will be available in the stable release of Firefox in a few weeks.”
The Next Web: Yes, there’s a subreddit that skewers those targeted Facebook t-shirt ads. “Facebook ads are usually weird and funny when they’re not showing off spooky knowledge of your life and hobbies. Those targeted ads for graphic t-shirts somehow manage to be all three — and a subreddit is celebrating them in all their bizarre glory.”
EurekAlert: Research connects big data marketing tools, land conservation . “The same data used by digital marketers to sell products can also help inspire conservation behaviors, according to new research from the University of Montana. In a recent study, ‘Microtargeting for Conservation,’ published in Conservation Biology, UM faculty in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conversation demonstrate how conservation programs can benefit from tools and analyses generally reserved for businesses and political campaigns.”
Techdirt: What If Google And Facebook Admitted That All This Ad Targeting Really Doesn’t Work That Well?. “Advertisers have been completely sucked into the belief that if you want to get results for your ads, you simply have to throw money at those two giants, and they’ll mix some magic pixie dust with all the data they’ve collected, and voila: perfectly targeted advertising. Everyone get so focused on magic words like ‘big data’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ that they rarely ask the larger question: does any of it actually matter?”
The Verge: HUD reportedly also investigating Google and Twitter in housing discrimination probe. “The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which just filed housing discrimination charges against Facebook for its advertising policies, is reportedly scrutinizing Google and Twitter’s policies as well. The Washington Post writes that HUD officials told Twitter and Google about a probe into their advertising policies last year; a review is supposedly still ongoing.”
Washington Post: HUD charges Facebook with housing discrimination over its targeted advertising platform. “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday it is alleging that Facebook’s targeted advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act by ‘encouraging, enabling, and causing’ unlawful discrimination by restricting who can view housing ads.” This was a developing story when I found it so there’s not much there as I include it. But I think it’s important and I’m sure it’ll be expanded.