CNET: Facebook takes heat from HUD over allegedly discriminatory housing ads. “Facebook is getting in trouble again for housing ads that a US agency says are discriminatory. The Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that it’s filed a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act because the social network lets landlords and home sellers engage in housing discrimination.”
New York Times: ‘Weaponized Ad Technology’: Facebook’s Moneymaker Gets a Critical Eye. “Brands love it. So do political campaigns, like those for President Trump and former President Barack Obama, which tailored their messages to narrow subsets of voters. But microtargeting, as the technique is called, is coming under increased scrutiny in the United States and Europe. Some government officials, researchers and advertising executives warn that it can be exploited to polarize and manipulate voters. And they are calling for restrictions on its use in politics, even after Facebook, in response to criticism, recently limited some of the targeting categories available to advertisers.”
Neowin: Mozilla Fellows develop extension to let you learn about and thwart targeted ads. “Most people realise things on the internet are not free and either need to be maintained by a subscription or through advertising. In the case of ads, firms like Google and Facebook aggressively track users in order to show better ads, but the amount of data they hold is a bit troubling. Several Mozilla Fellows decided to create a new add-on for Chrome and Firefox called Fuzzify.me which aims to tell you why certain ads are shown to you, and gives you the power to thwart these ads.”
Gizmodo: Google Releases Political Ad Database and Trump Is the Big Winner. “Google has finally opened up about political ad-spending on its platforms and published a living archive of who’s paying what for your eyeballs while you’re just trying to consume some content. As we head into the heart of the midterm elections, Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign is outspending everyone.”
Washington Post: Retailers are marketing directly to kids shopping on their smartphones. “Children and preteens are more connected to the Internet than ever, which means retailers are looking for new ways to market — and sell — directly to young shoppers on their phones, tablets and laptops. Gone are the days of blanket television ads, marketing experts say. Instead, companies are flocking to Snapchat, YouTube Kids and other mobile apps to reach children with personalized messages.”
Simon Willison: Analyzing US Election Russian Facebook Ads . “Two interesting data sources have emerged in the past few weeks concerning the Russian impact on the 2016 US elections. FiveThirtyEight published nearly 3 million tweets from accounts associated with the Russian ‘Internet Research Agency’—see my article and searchable tweet archive here. Separately, the House Intelligence Committee Minority released 3,517 Facebook ads that were reported to have been bought by the Russian Internet Research Agency as a set of redacted PDF files.” Mr. Willison created some tools for exploring the data, as well as creating ancillary utilities.
Washington Post: Strategists raise alarms about Facebook delays in approving Hispanic political ads. “Political strategists say recent moves by Facebook to secure its powerful advertising engine are hampering their ability to communicate with Hispanics and Spanish-speaking audiences ahead of the midterm elections. New procedures adopted by Facebook in response to Russian meddling and allegations of racially discriminatory ad practices often require several days for the company to review political ads targeted to ethnic groups, while ads that target broader audiences are approved immediately, said strategists for three liberal organizations, Priorities USA, Latino Victory and Win Dem PAC.”