Google admits turning off ‘location history’ does nothing

Caught lying to the public and their customers, Google admits they spy on you always:

Google has changed a help page that erroneously described how its “Location History” setting works, clarifying for users that it still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off.

Source: Google clarifies pausing ‘location history’ doesn’t stop tracking

Twitter admits to shadow banning users

“We identified this as an issue, it was a mistake, we fixed it within 24 hours,” Dorsey said. “We want to be clear that we do not shadow ban according to political ideology or viewpoint. We do rank the timeline and we do that with the principle of relevance, but all the content is still there — you just have to do more work to see it.”

In other words, Twitter does use shadow ban methods. A shadow ban is one where the user is permitted to continue posting, but what ever they post is hidden from other users. In this way, the user is unaware that they have been banned from the platform. Effectively it is secret censorship.

We have a number of posts on the topic of shadow banning.

Source: The Hill Interview: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explains what got Alex Jones suspended | TheHill

How businesses trick you into buying more than you wanted

This list is about the tricks that restaurants use to – often – trick you in to buying more than you intended to buy.

Source: Upselling Tips: 26 Phrases Servers Say for Bigger Sales – Buzztime

Upselling is when sales people use tricks to get you to add more to your order – or buy more than you wanted or needed.

In the restaurant example, employees are trained in how to manipulate you – basically, a form of propaganda messaging used to persuade you to buy more.

(One business we no longer shop at is Best Buy. They are notorious for upselling the customer, and if that doesn’t work, then they sneak in odd stuff like … a computer anti-virus contract – and tell you that you won’t pay anything if you never activate it. You never activate it … and they still bill you for it. Upsellers are scummy businesses and are best avoided.)

Pure Evil: “AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not”

The sole purpose of Android is to spy on its users. Researchers discover that even when you disable location tracking services throughout Android, Google continues to track your every movement.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

Source: AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

Google revised their old motto of “Don’t be evil” to “Do be evil”.

Google repeatedly insists, when caught spying on people, that data collection was due to a software error or that they do not store the data. All of their errors are on the side of collecting more data, never the reverse.

Up through Android 7, you could easily swipe down from the top notification bar and click to turn Location off. Android 8 removed that feature and you must now go into Settings, page down, find location and then turn it off. Google intentionally made it harder to disable their spying service.

In the past, Google was found tracking users who had no SIM card in their phone. Google was collecting tracking data and then uploading to Google when the device connected to Wi-Fi.

The user interface in Android to disable all the features to – presumably – reduce Google’s tracking of you is convoluted and not a quick “turn it off”. It’s easier to go to a web browser on your computer and go to the Google Dashboard (just search for that), and then look for the Search Activity item on the right hand side of the screen, click the down arrow icon, then click on Go to Web & App Activity. Here you can change settings (I turn most of them to off).

And while on this page, you can delete Google’s past history by selecting “Delete Activity by”, and then select “All Time” and “All products”.

Select Other Google Activity – here you can see online comments you have posted, and view your YouTube Likes and Dislikes. It used to be impossible to delete your Liked video selections as you had to go to each and every past Youtube video and unlike the video. Now there is an option labeled “Delete All”.

Does this actually delete the records? We have no idea. It might, for example, merely hide the data collection from you so that it looks like it was deleted but it actually remains on the Google servers.

“Likes” on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the *primary* method used to analyzer your interests. All of these services use your collection of Likes to discern what products or services you may like, even what your political affiliation is (Facebook datamined my likes and friend’s list to identify me as both a Democrat and a Republican, simultaneously, even though I do not belong or affiliate with either political party).

Each time you innocently click on Like, you are adding data to the dossier that they maintain on you, specifically. Consequently, Likes are a primary “currency” of their global surveillance operation.

You will also need to go to the My Activity tab and delete everything there too. Google makes it some what cumbersome to delete their spying records.

View counts on Youtube are faked

Video creators readily purchase views, by the thousands, as well as fake likes. By doing this, Google pushes their videos higher up in search rankings and in recommended video lists.

Essentially *all* of the Youtube stars who got started in the earlier years (which is most of today’s Youtube stars) used fake views to inflate their viewership. Back then it was incredibly easy – you could put a Youtube video player one hundred times on an HTML page and each time the page was reloaded, it would add 100 views. Tricks like that were shut down long ago.

Now, YouTubers just buy views to help establish their channels. The reason is because there is vast amounts of content on Youtube now – and its extraordinarily difficult for new channels to get underway. I read it can take 3 or more years of steadily posting videos before a new channel will have much of a following. You need something to “hook” the reader, from unusual/odd to young and cute.

#Facebook to force “Page” owners to hand over verified phone number and address information

We’re introducing Page publishing authorization starting with people who manage a Page with a large audience in the US.

Source: New Authorization for Pages | Facebook Business

Facebook can and will use the phone number as a personal identifier with which to track one’s activities outside of Facebook. I did not give Facebook my phone number because I know they use that to cross link your account to third party data.

Have you ever used a store loyalty card? All of those are associated with your phone number and are used by retailers to track all of your purchases. That information, in turn, is sold to third party data aggregators, such as Axciom, who in turn re-sell the collection of data to others. The data is used, presumably, to target marketing efforts. The phone number is the key identifier used to link together your online (Facebook, Twitter, ad networks) with your offline retail purchase history.

I run a software programming page that likely falls into the category of requiring this new verification. That page is the primary reason I did not delete my Facebook account, but instead dropped out of about 65 groups, unfollowed all other Pages and removed about 1/4 of my “friends.

IEEE Standard to Rate the Trustworthiness of News Sites

The IEEE Standards Association is trying to help readers detect such content with its new IEEE P7011 Standard for the Process of Identifying and Rating the Trustworthiness of News Sources.

Source: IEEE Standard to Rate the Trustworthiness of News Sites

You may not know who the IEEE is but if you use WiFi, or Ethernet or a whole lot technologies, you are using the work of their working groups. Before it was called “WiFi”, it was known as 802.11, and you still see many references to 802.11a, b, ac, g ,n , ad and so on. 802 refers to the local area network/mesh network standards and 11 refers to the wireless LAN standard (engineers like numbers:) ) Some one I once worked for wrote the first draft of the 802.11 specification.

The IEEE, which once stood for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, but now just IEEE, is the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology.

This is neat to see the IEEE’s Society on Social Implications of Technology developing a public standard for trust ratings. You can learn more at their web site.

The Complex Question Fallacy

“A question that has a presupposition built in, which implies something but protects the one asking the question from accusations of false claims. It is a form of misleading discourse, and it is a fallacy when the audience does not detect the assumed information implicit in the question, and accepts it as a fact.”

Examples

  • Have you stopped beating your wife?
  • Is (well known personality) an arrogant jerk?
  • Do you still believe we should kill all the stray dogs?

Source: Complex Question Fallacy

Wikipedia has much more on the technique:

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question that contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).

This happened to me on Twitter yesterday where someone who had read none of my work, did not understand any of it, but decided to frame his defamatory comments in the form of questions, similar to wording like “So you think people should be dying in the streets?” implying that I think people should be dying in the street.

Framing allegations as a question is a tried-and-true tool of propagandists. It plants an accusation in the target’s mind, and might slip past being actual defamation. Rather than saying “You are a stupid jerk”,  we simply frame it as a question: “Are you a stupid jerk?” letting the question carry the implied conclusion. And since you did not actually call someone a stupid jerk directly, is it defamation?

#Facebook sees sizeable decline in monthly page visits

Traffic to Facebook.com has fallen from ~8.5 billion visits per month to ~4.7 billion over two years.

Source: Impending shakeup in Top Five Websites

Those losses have been made up by increasing use of other Facebook resources, such as Instagram. It may just mean that fewer people use Facebook via the Facebook.com web site but continue to access Facebook data through mobile apps.

 

But our Facebook AI algorithms will solve everything!

FACEBOOK says it “regrets” an algorithm blunder that caused balloons and confetti to appear in posts about the deadly earthquake in Indonesia

because the same spelling of a word means “I’m unhurt” or “congratulations” depending on context. Facebook automatically displayed animated festive balloons on people using FB to tell their friends they were safe by mistakenly thinking the messages contained congratulatory quotes.

Facebook has repeatedly said it will use artificial intelligence (aka artificial stupidity) algorithms to identify and halt hate speech and fake news. What could possibly go wrong?

Source: Facebook ‘regrets’ Indonesia earthquake balloons gaffe that saw festive animations added to quake messages