I've recently signed up for Facebook to use Wit.ai, and have gone through account settings to lock down the account as much as possible. It took me about an hour to set everything to private in this new account, and I'm still not sure what would happen if I start posting on their platform.
The settings page is not the only place that needs to be checked if you mind your privacy, there will be a myriad of configuration options and barely discoverable controls that appear in different places on your profile, and remain hidden until you submit further content.
Needless to say after that they declined to reinstate my account - without any recourse or right of reply - due to community policy violations. Given that my only contribution was managing ads - and my wife’s account remains unsuspended despite managing the same ads - I’m left drawing conclusions from my own anecdata that they very much don’t like having overly privacy focused accounts.
Though mine was probably locked solely because of the way I've metodically checked out every configuration option, and used Firefox with fingerprint protection enabled.
This whole ordeal made me realize that Facebook is sitting on personal data from possibly millions of profiles that are banned. I've read several reports about people logging in years after the account got suspended, and their personal data is still downloadable, but they are not offered further control of the data, such as deletion, which is illegal in the EU.
FB’s website claims the feature is “only available in some countries and on some devices,” but it’s BS, it’s actually an easy opt-in for employees.
It shows that FB understands the need for privacy, but only if you’ll help them spy on others.
Purposely keeping that feature exclusive to employees shows that Facebook understands the desire for privacy, but only for those working for them.
But the important part is that I do it willingly. I'm glad they were forced to ask -- not everyone is ok with that kind of tracking, and that's the whole point. I'm totally with Apple on this one. Give people choice.
I made my choice, and everyone else should get to make theirs too.
The purpose of ads is to inform people of things they wouldn't otherwise know about. In that regard, I appreciate good ads that tell me about things I would want to know about and didn't already.
For example, some of the ads I get are for live shows (back in the before times). These are live shows that I enjoy going to, but would never have known about, because I don't know where to look for them. Having it pushed at me helps me.
That's cute. I've never seen an ad for a wikipedia page though.
The real purpose of ads is to convince people to buy things that they otherwise might not have, so that companies can make a profit.
Take the https://www.theguardian.com/. I've got adverts for:
- an electric toothbrush. I already have one. But surely the new model is better!11!
- London apartments. I live 170 miles away and have no desire ever to live in London. But maybe I should because London is so amazing!11!!
- Remitly ("send money to India online"). I do not know anyone in India and have no need to send money there.
- "70% off" "Store Clothing", whatever the hell that is. I have plenty of clothes. But maybe I need more and to be more fashionable!11!!
But it shows that access to state-of-the-art targeting isn't helping at all. So right now it's clearly not worth a privacy tradeoff.
Also, ads don't have to work for everyone. If they work for some folks, it's already profitable for the platforms. And they do work.
“Are these ads effective? Should we spend more money on them?” Without conversion data the answer is one big shrug emoji.
I don’t believe most companies in the tech industry care about tracking/fingerprinting users for the sake of collecting & reselling their data. First hand experience, I’m just not ever seeing that. They just want to know if their ads are working or not.
It doesn't help that people try to sell conversion as something that benefits the ad viewer because if it increases sales, it must also be good for the people doing the buying or something like that. That argument of "better ads" then gets easily misunderstood as targeting but it is only indirectly about that.
In particular, things they otherwise might not have and don't need enough to look for actively on their own.
It's just less profitable.
No need to have over a dozen of trackers on that page so that advertisers create a profile of you.
My local Hearst paper operates a templates website full of crap trackers and ads that are brokered at a central point. They aren’t selling the inventory with local sales managers etc. To keep costs down, everything is aggregated.
And then also the notion that ALL data gathered intrude privacy. And somehow anyone on the Internet should be anonymous, may be that is not even the right word, may be invisible could be used to better describe it.
Privacy means people know what they're signing up for, in plain language, and repeatedly.”
There should be a middle ground somewhere. Not all Ads are bad. I love useful Ads, but I hate bad ads, whether that is placement or the actual ads itself. And I know people gets to discover new Games, Clothes, Shows, or other product they like through these ads.
It cant be an all or nothing world. Which the Internet in general likes to encourage, and there is no middle ground. We need to start looking at Ads as part of UX, and not just money / target optimising tools.
Let's name it the Thiel paradox. Maybe then this flavor of cognitive dissonance is better captured and told further.
I think this is great. By putting tracking in the control of the user, the user can decide if they want shitty, generic ads or targeted relevant ads. What’s missing now is a built in ad blocker for iOS.
As it is the closest I get is ads for something I looked at 20 days ago and decided not to buy.
I wouldn't say I have an incentive for internet ads to be successful. From the very beginning I advocated for revenue streams other than ads. And reddit is fairly diversified. I don't work there anymore anyway.
I guess I just don't mind advertising if done well and is relevant.
If as you say that's not the case then can you help me understand why?
Well, I've given the example of live shows a couple of times. I've been to a few live shows that I learned about from targeted ads. Those were experiences I enjoyed and would not have learned about otherwise.
I'll pull up my Insta feed right now and list the targeted ads:
Osmo -- This is a game system for my kids that I already own. The ad isn't super useful, except I just learned about a new game they're releasing that I might want to get for my daughter. I may have eventually seen this elsewhere, but this is the first I'm seeing it.
Osmo again. But from a different vendor.
Lego -- They have some new sets that I didn't know about. I enjoy building legos with my kids, so now I know about a few new sets we might enjoy together.
Something called Soundbrenner. It's a gadget for musicians. I'm not a musician so this doesn't interest me. None the less, I am glad I know about this because I have musician friends who might be interested in something like this, so maybe the next time I talk to them I'll mention it, and they may be appreciative of me telling them because it can give them an idea of a new way to improve their play. Maybe they'll buy the gadget, maybe they'll find something similar, maybe they'll build something similar.
A charity for helping teachers during Christmas. This interests me. I support education and there is a good chance I'll make a donation to this cause. Now I'm happy that I found out about this charity.
An ad for a service that turns pictures of your pets into hand done oil paintings. I don't have pets, but one of my best friends does as do my parents, so there is a possibility I'll use this service as a Christmas gift.
A contest to win a Lamborghini featured in a lady gaga video. This is mistargeted and I have no interest.
A food sealing kitchen gadget. I'm going to forward this to my wife, who loves cooking gadgets, and then she'll check her cooking forums for someone who had a DIY version, but now she has a new idea to ask about.
Bed Bath and Beyond. Meh, don't really care.
A clothing company that follows the Tom's model of buy one give one. I don't like the clothes, but if I did, this is the kind of thing I might support if I need new clothes.
Some sort of prescription drug. The ad doesn't even say what it cures. So I have no interest in this. However, if it happened to be for an ailment that I actually have, I'd probably click through to find out more and be a jumping point for my own research.
Quicken Loans. I actually hate this ad because it encourages people to refinance their 30 year mortgage into a 15 year mortgage which is a terrible idea.
Another ad for musicians, this time an app. Same comment as above -- not interested but I may mention to a friend.
An ad for a new star wars game in VR. As it turns out, I recently bought an Occulus (from someone on HN actually) so this might be a game I would be interested in. I probably would have found out about this later when looking for new games, but this is the first I've heard of this game.
Another Lego ad, this time a different set.
Anyway, I could keep going, as the ads are endless (although they start to repeat). The point is, in most of these cases, I learned something new that I didn't know before.
Yes, in every case, they are trying to get me to spend money. But it's money I probably would have been spending anyway (Christmas presents, games my kids and I can play together, games I can play alone, charity donations). So I'm glad that I now have some ideas and places to start looking.
In a lot of cases, the ads are just jumping off points for research, but they give me new ideas I wouldn't have thought of.
1. Reduces profitability of advertising companies
2. Makes browsing the web sane (not to mention 30000% more pleasant)
Also, a lot of sites I like exist because of ads. If everyone had them off, they wouldn't exist anymore.
And because I wouldn't even think to search for those topics in the first place. It's the act of seeing that ad that gets me to start thinking about that topic in the first place.
Recently, I registered a new account, and after a grace period without ads, I was surprised by just how drenched it has become in advertising. I used it to follow professional athletes. First of, many of the organic posts are themselves sponsored advertising, then the athletes share brand posts from their sponsors, and then between every story you get an actual ad.
Of course, with more personal connections the trade of might be different, but for my use case described above Instagram seemed unsustainable.
Another interpretation is, professional athletes don't really enrich your life at all. You have as big a problem with celebrity as you do with a piece of software.
* Announcements - Some of the sports I follow don't have a "regular season" like e.g. Basketball or American Football, they are organised more like boxing where an athlete may compete for one federation or another, and the events don't follow a pre-determined schedule: so you need to keep up with the news if you want to be able to watch them at all.
* Instructionals - athletes often will publish instructional videos and when that happens they advertise them on their channels. Those are usually an order of magnitude more in-depth than anything you can find for free (e.g. Youtube) - I was never very athletic but I'm finally trying to get better so those are very helpful for me. (Edit: Of course this is a form of advertising but I'm very disciplined and avoid overspending at all costs, I buy instructionals once in a blue moon).
My experience seems to be that I see a whole bunch of fresh updates from friends, and then ads. If I'm looking when there are few updates, it's mostly ads. If I see mostly ads I know that I should put the phone down and come back in a few hours. :)
I'm on the iOS beta so that might have something to do with it.
Interestingly, that's precisely the reason I hate targeted ads. They just make me buy more things I didn't otherwise need.
I see your main point though, it's nice to give the choice.
We don't need to live inside of a panopticon in order to figure what shows are playing in town, what new items are down at the shops. Tell me what city you live in; I can help you find stuff around town at no cost and I don't even have to spy on you.
This is part of the reason why so many things are ad-supported to begin with -- even if someone is willing to pay $0.03 to read a random article, there's no effective way to collect that.
Rather, jedberg has already found way more suppliers than he needs, all willing to supply him ads at $0.00, which makes that the equilibrium price.
Analogously, I would value oxygen basically infinitely high because I don't want to die. However, I would never pay for it because I can easily get it for free, and would laugh at anyone who tried to charge me for permission to breathe.
I think it's difficult in general for people to put a price on most of the things they get for free, just because they're used to getting them for free, and build their price intuitions on being able to get them for free.
You keep saying that, but that is plainly a positive spin on the purpose and not completely truthful.
If that were the purpose, why are there adverts for e.g. milk?
I don't see how this squares with things like blatant scare mongering smearing in political ads, and things like cowboys riding a truck up Mt. Everest to crack open a beer.
Ads can be there just to associate emotional moods and undertones with a product or person, etc., and aren't only about surfacing unknown products.
Is there something wrong with that?
I've screenshottet it and it might very well become my second actual gdpr complaint.
My first was a few days ago when "HP smart" demanded with no workaround that I hand over my email address to print on my own old printer.
Facebook didn't make a compelling argument, only that they felt obligated to attempt to use all available remedies to retain their advertisers and show their shareholders that they tried. It is a ridiculous use of public resources, but the FTC didn't give any indication that is was a valid complaint. Facebook didn't make an argument, only an observation that the feature would hurt their revenue. Kind of like "by the way it would be nice if you found some impropriety in how they rolled this out, we aren't aware of one, but would be adversely affected whether its all above board or not, okay thats all we got moving on".
Exactly. So when Apple gives users choice, and users are fine with it, this won't impact Facebook at all.
Facebook on the other hand manages to get my attention with products that matches my interests and budget (software products, photography products etc. I even ended up buying a safety razor that I am very happy with and wouldn't have though about without seeing that ad.)
The irony is that Google should know quite a bit more about me than Facebook does but have been too busy showing me annoying or even insulting ads during the same time.
The title is a bit click-baitey.