Also, don't forget that EU elections are nothing like federal elections, these are local elections which reflect each country's national politics rather than anything EU-wide. And, based on previous elections, i have found individual candidates themselves to be major violators of anti-spam laws.
> “We regularly improve the ways we prevent unauthorized access by third parties like web browser plugins to keep people’s information safe,” Facebook spokesperson Beth Gautier said. “This was a routine update and applied to ad blocking and ad scraping plugins, which can expose people’s information to bad actors in ways they did not expect.”
Seriously, after all the scandals with third parties where action wasn't taken in a timely manner, it's clear that Facebook will do something if and only if it benefits from it.
Like with ad blockers, can't these extensions change this into an arms race where it becomes futile for Facebook to keep fighting them? Or are these organizations restraining themselves, hoping that Facebook will somehow change its mind?
For elections for example I'd like to be able to see what parties or what politicians are paying for Facebook ads, what demographics are they targeting and with what ads.
If Facebook exposed this data, it wouldn't be a privacy issue.
(work for fb)
With an archive that allows you to go back 7 years or something
Like any other business. Facebook is not a charity.
They already are - or rather, they are deciding what is visible and prominent, and what isn't. When you share a post, Facebook's algorithm determine what visible it has for each of your friends - whether it's on top of their feed, lower, or completely invisible.
At this point it seems more and more likely (though probably not proven) that those algorithms are skewed to promote content that gets high chances of engagement - and that means content that provokes outrage or rage is more likely to be visible than a long-form, balanced conversations.
So in short - Facebook is not (and should not) be the arbiter of truth. But surely it's not unreasonable to ask that they don't actively promote incivility and (literally, uncontroversially) blatantly fake news?
I think that the only way to manage a social feed is for it to be really dumb: blocks, maybe best friends, etc. Of course, once you do that you've basically returned to email.
American society is still in toddler years in terms of political consciousness, but the worst damage happened in the years before the internet, not after. 2016 was a madhouse because that was us coming out of denial, thanks to the internet.
If you consider HN or Reddit as social media, then I guess I’m not done with news and social media. I like link aggregator sites over sites were I share my personal photos/comments with news mixed in.
Is Mozilla building some sort of visualization tool for the marketing done on the upcoming EU elections?
For comparison, Twitter is comparatively easy to work with (though getting harder as time goes on) and Reddit is very open. This is one reason why there are lots of papers based on Twitter data and very few based on analyses of Facebook.
Not everything is like this, though. For example, there's been next to no public data about how the news feed algorithm works and no way of tracking how ads are being targeted. Both of these are commercially sensitive (and it's clearly in Facebook's interest to keep its cards to its chest) but a royal pain compared with, say, newspaper research where you can see what is being served to whom along with which adverts on a day-by-day basis.
And there's essentially no public API even to get those things to which you do potentially have access - so there's no way of getting the membership of public groups without web scraping or recording by hand, AFAIK. And certainly the first of these is prohibited by TOS, which means many university ethics committees will reject the research even if the researcher does have the capability to get it.
It's basically a large black box. And, as a political scientist, black boxes with political salience concern me.
Come to think of it any proxy depersonalisation services that maybe cache xyz data then show you how you payload would look were you to participate in the study?
Edit: no need to cache, download some js, xslt, rdf or similar to allow you to verify what you were sending locally? Public comment section for discussion of implications of studies and releasing data sets.. lots of interesting possibilities in this space of taking ownership of your data but also sharing it.
The only difference between Facebook and other ad agencies is that Facebook has a structured system in place inviting better PII and relationship data submitted directly by the users. While people demonize Facebook for this behavior other ad agencies would kill to be in that position.
No, it's not. Online ad space is like any other ad space, and advertising has existed for decades with only minimal information about who views it. The only difference with online advertising is that there are no longer technological limitations to tracking everything. Something that's much harder to do with a billboard or a newspaper ad. Since Since this is the case, it's up to voters to insist on legal limits on tracking instead. But advertising will be fine either way.
I have worked that business before and written that code for Travelocity. I created Travelocity's most successful advertising code before they were consumed by Expedia (an annoying popunder that achieved click-through rates of 14%). I later worked as the developer on their analytics team and worked hand-in-hand with their media (advertising) team. The name of the game is experimentation and analysis. The more data you have on a user the more accurate and targeted your decisions can be about that user. Spyware is absolutely the name of the game.
Mozilla's letter is to the European Commission, and as such I recognize different laws between the U.S. and E.U. are relevant.
However, the most simple test for double standard is to flip the narrative around: imagine a truth that makes many people angry to hear, and imagine that unpopular truth being put into an ad, and imagine the people arguing for ad targeting methods to be revealed are people who want to protect people from truth in order to allow them to keep on believing lies.
I appreciate the importance of developing tools to fight disinformation campaigns. But on what basis can any person or company be compelled to reveal their advertising methodology? What is public interest in a political ad campaign context where literally everyone involved is claiming moral high ground?
I think regulating speech is a trap, and people need to consider the double standard. What happens when your truth becomes difficult or impossible to disseminate, because it makes most people angry to hear? You really think all angry people need their emotional state coddled? Why protect them from becoming angry? This is why we need to do better in school teaching coping skills, and critical thinking.
1) why they don't install ublock origin by default
2) why they install pocket by default
3) why they keep doing ad-experiments?
Mozilla needs to stop pretending they are some saints. But thanks for calling fb out.
That said I strongly support their work... Disclaimer: I used to work at Mozilla.
First, they should have considered banning it entirely. I'm sure they had such conversations around (eg) tobacco, arms, alcohol, medicines and such. FB are far from immune to the fiduciary imperative, but they are very profitable. They were in a position to turn away potentially problem-making revenue. In hindsight, IMO, that would have been the better choice.
If they are going to do political advertising, they should be channeling & (internally) regulating it differently. Separate rules. ID your advertisers, and enforce local election rules by jurisdiction, like election day ad bans. Report on (or verify) spending, if local laws require it. Similar systems exist for licensed/regulated markets like financial services. You can't just start advertising savings accounts.
Without doubt, transparency should be part of the special rules for political ads.
Transparency is, potentially, an alternative.
Ads help political candidates to get the word out...i think that’s useful and I think it’s awesome that Facebook didn’t go the route of less resistance (banning political ads) here and rather is trying to get this right!
Political ads a a tiny slice of FBs revenue...so I don’t believe they are profit motivated here.
$1B was spend on digital ads in the 2016 presidential runs and Facebook has a 19.6% market share so probably pulled in about $196M which is about 0.35% of their annual revenue...so I don’t think they are in it for the money at all
Are they inherently good?
In any case, I didn't say they had to ban them, though I think in hindsight they should have considering (as you say) that they could afford to.
Since they decided not to, then they should have treated political ads more responsibly. For example, only a candidate can run a political campaign. No anonymous advertisers.