The business model of the Internet is spying. Supposedly, by knowing everything about everyone, marketers selling products, services and political B.S., can target their ad (aka propaganda) messages precisely to each individual. An academic study finds these targeted ad do not work well and do not deliver a value commiserate with their higher price.
Amazon, for some time, blocked advertisers from running ads that were said to contain “religious content”. This included gifts and clothing items with “biblical quotes and religious language”. Amazon has now announced this was done in error. This is another in our series of how large publishers and corporations use their online dominance to control online speech and thought.
Facebook continues to claim they oppose discrimination in all forms, in spite of mountains of evidence showing they continue to discriminate based on age, gender and other attributes in their ad platform.
Facebook’s advertising tools enabled advertising to target potential housing customers by “race, religion, familial status, disability” in order to exclude members of protected classes from renting or buying property.
Fake news, fake reviews – its all the same after a while. Any web service relying on user contributed content has devolved into the noise of fake posts. Now, AI is being applied to writing fake reviews, in an attempt to get around the AI code that seeks to detect fake reviews.
Youtube just axed comments from tens of millions of videos featuring children – such as, you know, actual family friendly videos – and says they will not run ads on videos that may have “inappropriate comments”. In effect, to make Youtube family friendly, Youtube has just killed off family friendly channels.
Facebook’s business is spying on people. Even if you do not have a Facebook app installed on your device, they still collect data via third-party apps.
Use Facebook advertising to target your ads to Nazis and white supremacists because … Facebook!
Third party companies offer to install solar PV arrays on your home and promise to save you money on your monthly electric utility costs. Bloomberg found they use a mix of false assertions, lies, cherry picking and fear as sales methods, to persuade homeowners to sign up and lease the solar PV system for decades. Over time, the lease costs increase such that the homeowner spends far more in the future, while the third party company collects large government subsidies. Few homeowners understand what they got in to. When they go to sell their home, the lease is transferred to the buyer – in effect, TPO solar PV arrays become a dead weight on the home’s future sales potential, particularly to informed buyers who understand the game.
Have you noticed that many online news web sites – both newspapers and TV stations – will run a news story and then leave it prominently on their web page for days – even weeks? The stories are typically ones that inflame reader or viewer emotions – and the effect of turning them into semi-permanent stories is to distort the perception of the importance of the story. The primary purpose is likely “click-bait” to drive advertising clicks, but they may also distort the public’s perception on important policy issues.
262 web trackers on a single page?
If all it took was a few million dollars and about 100 people to throw an election, why did U.S. presidential candidates spend billions on U.S. media advertising?
For a company built on “friends”, Facebook is not a nice company. They’ve operated the largest invasive spying operation in history scooping up everything from users and then re-selling their insights to whoever would pay.
We are surrounded by marketing propaganda that has enlisted networks of individuals posting online reviews. These ecosystems seem like organic grass roots “from the people” reviews. But most are marketing “astro turf” operations. That is, they are corporate sponsored activities designed to look like they are “from the people”.