We were trying to determine if maybe she had seen that same ad earlier in the day on Facebook, and it planted the craving in her head.
Regardless, it was a very freaky experience. I doubt Facebook is listening, but it's likely their ads are inadvertently influencing us. As we scroll quickly through our news feeds, we automatically ignore most ads. But they are still making an impression.
People don't seem to really understand how nefarious ads are. We think we're so smart. We won't be influenced by ads. No way we're falling for that. But if you know what "just do it", "the happiest place on Earth" or "think different" refer to, regardless of you opinions of those products, you have already been influenced by ads, and your next buying choices will reflect that.
We're frail, easily manipulated creatures, unprepared for the combined centuries of expertise that hordes of advertisers can control us with.
I agree, we like to discount them, but acknowledging them very often also leads to arguments about the effect of all TV, music, games, general media consumption on behavior and thoughts.
It's real, but so hard to quantity, which leads to benefits for those who can and will exploit, but limits those who try to point it out.
I beg your pardon? I know where the "happiest place on Earth" is and yet I have only ever been there once... because I was taken there by others, not because I chose to go. Not sure how my buying choices have ever even remotely taken that slogan into account.
To use a cliché, the opposite of loving a product isn't hating it; it's being indifferent to it.
Also, the fact that you've already been there means the ads are working. Whether it was your choice or not is less important. You have already been made a consumer.
You seem to be pretty adamant about shoving your wrong idea down my brain even though I'm explicitly telling you you're wrong. I'm telling you I had zero input into whether I go there the first time (others wanted to go while we were around the area and I couldn't care less whether we went there or anywhere else) and that I have since never been there since because I still cannot care less whether I go there or not. I've literally completely forgotten about its existence every time I've been in the area. My reaction to ever going there is exactly the same as it would be to any other theme park: "okay" if I've never been there or if I've enjoyed it before, or "shrug" otherwise... irrespective of the ads.
In other words: unlike your claims, I am neither "keenly aware of it", nor do I "always know the product is a possibility", nor does it "always factor into my choices", nor is my choice to "consciously reject it", nor are the ads "working" by "already making me a consumer". Ads or no ads, Disnelyland or Foobarland, I would have been there the first time just the same, and not there since then. The ads just got the slogan into my brain and literally did nothing else.
But you should make an effort to think more inclusively and creatively. I think you'll find GP's message quite straightforward.
For the record, I will signal that I have no idea where the happiest place on earth is. My guess was some cruise line or other, but that seems inconsistent with your consumer experience.
It would be pretty lucky if they were coincidences for everyone.
One thing they realized is that it was impossible to convince anybody that Facebook doesn't listen in on microphone conversations, even given all of the facts.
One of the co-hosts, Alex, gets on the phone with five people to try to convince each of them that Facebook doesn't use the microphone. He's unable to convince even one of them.
12:36pm Google Maps used the location feature
12:48pm Instagram used the camera
1:16pm WhatsApp used the microphone for 34 seconds
Something like what you describe would be wonderful on either platform, though.
> To make it happen, Facebook would need to record everything your phone hears while it's on. This is functionally equivalent to an always-on phone call from you to Facebook. Your average voice-over-internet call takes something like 24kbps one way, which amounts to about 3 kBs of data per second. Assume you've got your phone on half the day, that's about 130 MBs per day, per user.
No, this is complete nonsense. They could easily record the audio locally (perhaps even sporadically rather than constantly -- you don't need constant audio data), do some local speech recognition when the phone is plugged in, and send over the resulting text in short bursts along with all the other data they send over. There's no need for raw audio to be sent over the wire. It's not like they need perfect accuracy.
People are in an uproar about being recorded, but not realizing they are being 'recorded' in many other ways.
Not to be too snarky, but this is facebook's (ex?) ad targeting leader telling us that everything is A-OK? He might well be right, and he presents some good arguments, but in the face of such an opaque system, that doesn't inspire much confidence.
If you think about it, there's a lot more guesses they can make from your photos than listening to a bunch of disjointed conversations. They really don't need to hear what you say.
(article with context: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3dk3y8/how-to-see...)
The Your Information > Your Categories tab might be the most revealing. It is for me as it includes categories that seem to be inferred, not explicitly stated, such as "US politics", "Frequent Travelers", "Expats (Vietnam)" (maybe because I have a Vietnamese surname), and "Technology early adopters", which I can only assume comes from accessing FB using iOS devices soon after their launch date.
Edit: Dwelling on this a bit more, of course - it would make total sense to bucket people with receding hairline photos into lookalike audiences for people who'd engaged with transplant ads... Although I suppose that could be equally relevant for targeting like mentioned above. Right age, relationship status, income bracket... Who knows.
But yes, tagging characteristics of people based on photos seems pretty straightforward given the state of their image processing. I would guess that it'd also be used to target eyeglasses to users who wear glasses in their photos.
Sometimes I wonder if from a high level, that's how Facebook sees users' data ("field of livestock") that goes into the data processing engine ("sausage grinder").
Then again, maybe I've seen hundreds of peanut butter ads on my phone, mixed with the many thousands that come across, and I just hadn't paid any attention to them until something else happened at the same time to make the connection.
You can decompile the facebook app. You can install a cert and mitm the network connection. You can do anything to the client. Yet nobody has found any evidence whatsoever of this behavior.
The risk Facebook would take by pulling a stunt like this is ginormous. See also: Amazon Echo.
The consumer and legal backlash would be swift and stunning, and the secret would be impossible to keep. Mobile app decryption is a well-established process. Reverse engineering a large app is tedious, but fully comprehensible. If you're specifically looking for recording (streaming audio out, or spooling to storage), it's much more manageable.
Of course there's a danger in assuming that someone, somewhere has already done this (or many someones). ~"With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" ... sure, if the eyes are open. I don't know anyone who has done this work for the Facebook app, or for the Echo. But there are so many little boutique security firms out there today, and the technical prerequisites are so low...I just don't see how it's possible that it hasn't been done a hundred times.
The genuine risk, I think, is that a Corp with all the tooling in place could be compelled by some vaguely legal process in some sketchy jurisdiction, to target an individual of interest with custom code. This isn't hard either. Of course, the "tooling" is minor and any popular app could be subverted usefully in this fashion, so Facebook is not special here.
Still, most of us are laughably uninteresting to LE, but proper opsec still dictates caution.
There are plenty of ways to do it like sampling / increase sampling when other fb friends are around or maybe they just listen randomly and in the end they’ll have a well built profile about you.
It’s not like it needs to be listening all the time or respond anytime a keyword is said.
> To make it happen, Facebook would need to record everything your phone hears while it's on. This is functionally equivalent to an always-on phone call from you to Facebook. Your average voice-over-internet call takes something like 24kbps one way, which amounts to about 3 kBs of data per second. Assume you've got your phone on half the day, that's about 130 MBs per day, per user. There are around 150 million daily active users in the US, so that's about 20 petabytes per day, just in the US.
No, all they need to do is use the client device to perform speech-to-text and send the tiny amount of resulting data.
I don't think Facebook records people's conversations, but I also don't buy this article's other arguments that 1) conversation data is not useful to advertisers and 2) Facebook would not at least make a semi-successful attempt at analyzing natural language data with their existing NLP tools.
> Because it has no specific trigger word for Facebook, your phone would need to listen for every targetable keyword. That means the speech-to-text translation code could only run on your phone itself, a taxing demand even for the beefy cloud servers that usually handle those tasks.
What app currently does speech-to-text translation with any usable accuracy on the device? Even Siri and dedicated-devices such as Alexa don't seem to attempt anything beyond trigger-word recognition locally.
On an iPhone, Apple has the full run of all device capabilities, and can even ship custom chips, but they still stream audio back to a server to process what people say to Siri.
Speech to text is very hard even when the speaker is purposefully speaking to the device. It would be way harder to try to extract meaning out of ambient audio.
random sampling and building a profile overtime that can be used to enhance the sampling is a very easy method to snoop at times that gives you good results.
PS I don’t think “they” are listening and use other highly effective means to target ads. But I do think arguing such targeting is only possible in the cloud, and only after recording all the sound in your environment: the air conditioner, traffic, kids playing, etc. and let’s not forget ALL the silence in between, is intellectually dishonest. Especially when we all know that any always-listening device processes the signal locally, scanning for trigger words.
I think he smudges the issue by conflating FB's theoretical ingestion of such audio with its current data storage capacity and ingestion. Presumably, raw audio could be transmitted and processed without being stored.
But does the state of the art language recognition allow for broad on-device translation beyond a subset of trigger words, i.e. "Alexa", "Siri", "OK Google"?
You're talking about two different processes, recognition and comprehension.
Recognition on device is quite feasible and could be expanded from the trigger phrase to several dozen or perhaps a couple hundred keywords without burning up the device. The iPhone 4 did this on-device, pre-Siri, for voice dialing. Many cheapo car stereos do this too. And it is what the intelligent speakers and phones already do without cloud interaction, scanning for that trigger word.
Comprehension on the other hand, deciding what exactly the speaker is asking for, requires compute-intensive NLP and AI processing, and yes, that's going to the cloud.
Back to the specious argument by the article's author, to create an audio ad targeter doesn't require constant streaming to the cloud. For starters, you don't need to send silence or background noise. You don't need to send every word spoken either. You can screen for keywords in the trigger list, then send what is stored on-device locally before and after the trigger and forward just that.
Again, I don't think Facebook is listening to target you. Maybe if some CIA front corporation buys them up... I do however think the author's argument, the very first argument he made (and thus my labeling it as the foundation), is a load of malarkey.
No. You think Apple, Amazon, and Google ship all those audio packets back to servers for fun?
To believe that Facebook is processing ambient audio on a mobile phone, you have to believe that FB is doing things on a phone that even the phone's creators (who have no sandboxes and can access custom chips) cannot.
My point was that technicality isn't what will get in the way of listening vs not listening. He's backing his claim by saying it's technically impossible but that's just weak defense.