Wired: Ad Tech Could Be the Next Internet Bubble

Wired: Ad Tech Could Be the Next Internet Bubble. “The technique is called behavioral advertising, and it raises the frightening prospect that we’ve been made the subjects of a highly personalized form of mind control. Or maybe that fear is precisely backwards. The real trouble with digital advertising, argues former Google employee Tim Hwang—and the more immediate danger to our way of life—is that it doesn’t work.”

CNET: How your personal data is exploited to win elections and influence policy

CNET: How your personal data is exploited to win elections and influence policy. “Politicians are exploiting intimate details about your life to win elections and influence policy. Your voter history and party registration are public records that are easy to access. Your phone number, home address, salary and debt history, and how you feel about controversial issues like gun control, can be purchased cheaply. Everything you post on social media is easy to scrape and collect. And mobile apps built by the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns give them unprecedented access to your device’s location history, and a whole lot more.”

BuzzMachine: In defense of targeting

BuzzMachine: In defense of targeting. “In defending targeting, I am not defending Facebook, I am attacking mass media and what its business model has done to democracy — including on Facebook. With targeting, a small business, a new candidate, a nascent movement can efficiently and inexpensively reach people who would be interested in their messages so they may transact or assemble and act.”

Washington Post: Critics say Facebook’s powerful ad tools may imperil democracy. But politicians love them.

Washington Post: Critics say Facebook’s powerful ad tools may imperil democracy. But politicians love them.. “As Facebook sought to recover from its disastrous 2016 election season, company officials debated ways to curb distortions and disinformation on the platform. One of the most potentially powerful — limiting advertisers’ ability to target narrow slices of voters with political messages — struggled to find support and was abandoned, say people familiar with those discussions. But today, as disinformation begins to spread ahead of the 2020 presidential vote, Facebook again is discussing ‘microtargeting’ and weighing whether to restrict a set of advertising tools so powerful that, critics say, it may threaten democracy itself.”

Slate: We Need to Fix Online Advertising. All of It.

Slate: We Need to Fix Online Advertising. All of It.. “There is so much more “political” advertising than just what comes from official campaigns or speaks explicitly about legislative issues. Nearly anyone can afford to advertise, from deep-pocketed political action groups to grassroots activists to individuals. These ads need not name a candidate or party or legislative issue to have political impact. Anyone willing to pay to say ‘Black lives matter? Don’t all lives matter!?’ is engaged in political advertising. For just a few dollars, they can enjoy the immense reach of social media and their precision tools for microtargeting users by demographics, location, preferences, or political persuasion. Political advertising, not just on social media but across the internet, has become a searing problem for American democracy.”

CNET: Google updates political ads policy with targeting restrictions

CNET: Google updates political ads policy with targeting restrictions. “Google on Wednesday unveiled updates to its political advertising policy, restricting how narrowly an advertiser can target an audience. With the new policy, election ads will only be able to target people based on age, gender and postal code.”

NBC News: Facebook’s Zuckerberg holds line on political ads, but microtargeting could change

NBC News: Facebook’s Zuckerberg holds line on political ads, but microtargeting could change. “Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he does not think technology companies should be in the position of determining what is true and what is false in candidates’ ads. Facebook could find a middle ground in limiting how political campaigns use the company’s advertising platform, in particular limiting the ability to show ads to particular groups of people, a practice known as microtargeting.”

Mercury News: Facebook sued over alleged housing discrimination

Mercury News: Facebook sued over alleged housing discrimination. “The lawsuit, recently filed in federal court in San Francisco, marks the latest fallout from Facebook’s practice of allowing companies to post housing ads on the platform aimed at users based on demographic data. The suit claims Facebook allowed housing providers to shield their ads from people based on their national origin, family status, disability and other factors, thereby limiting those groups’ ability to find housing and violating the federal Fair Housing Act.”

CNET: Twitter may have shared your data with ad partners without consent

CNET: Twitter may have shared your data with ad partners without consent. “Twitter says it recently found issues with how it adheres to user privacy settings and that it may’ve inadvertently shared user data with third parties. The microblogging network said in a company blog post Tuesday that it may’ve shared certain data even though you didn’t give it permission to do so.”

Harvard Business School: Does Facebook’s Business Model Threaten Our Elections?

Harvard Business School: Does Facebook’s Business Model Threaten Our Elections . “Now 16 months away from the next election, efforts have been joined to prevent voter tampering from happening again. But I don’t think significant progress has been accomplished—a view bolstered in recent testimony before congress by Robert Mueller. What’s worse, users themselves seem unconcerned. Engagement on various applications on the Facebook platform is up. Users appear comfortable with the trade they make to give up privileged information in exchange for a range of convenient and free services. Without a push by Facebook’s customers or more fundamental federal government regulation, history is likely to repeat itself.”

BuzzFeed News: Facebook Will Now Show You How To Opt Out Of Targeted Ads

BuzzFeed News: Facebook Will Now Show You How To Opt Out Of Targeted Ads. “Facebook launched a transparency tool this week that will give people a little more information about how its targeted ads work (good!). Now you can see more details about why you’re seeing an ad in your feed, how it is linked to an ad agency or data broker, and how to opt out of interest-based ad campaigns run by businesses that have your information. The bad news is that looking at it may end up just making you feel worse about how your data is passed around by third-party data brokers — credit reporting bureaus and marketing agencies — like Halloween candy.”

TechCrunch: Targeted ads offer little extra value for online publishers, study suggests

TechCrunch: Targeted ads offer little extra value for online publishers, study suggests. “How much value do online publishers derive from behaviorally targeted advertising that uses privacy-hostile tracking technologies to determine which advert to show a website user? A new piece of research suggests publishers make just 4% more vs if they were to serve a non-targeted ad.”

Washington Post: It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?

Washington Post: It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?. “On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with. And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes.”

The Intercept: Thanks To Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever

The Intercept: Thanks To Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever. “AMONG THE MEGA-CORPORATIONS that surveil you, your cellphone carrier has always been one of the keenest monitors, in constant contact with the one small device you keep on you at almost every moment. A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the social network courts carriers, along with phone makers — some 100 different companies in 50 countries — by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself.”

Search Engine Journal: Facebook Gives a Heads-Up About a New Tool That May Affect Ad Targeting

Search Engine Journal: Facebook Gives a Heads-Up About a New Tool That May Affect Ad Targeting. “A new tool for users to manage how their off-Facebook activity is used by advertisers may affect ad targeting capabilities. The tool was announced last year and is confirmed to be rolling out within the coming months.”