Jules Polonetsky remembers the moment that shattered his naivete about the internet.
“I was the consumer affairs commissioner for New York City 20 years ago when some company I’d never heard of came in with a big billboard,” he recalls. “It said, ‘Welcome to Silicon Alley,’ sponsored by DoubleClick.” I’d read in the headlines that DoubleClick was in trouble for using something called cookies. And something to do with “appending your identity” to your web-browsing history.
Facebook recently launched an ad campaign to defend personalized advertising against Apple’s new privacy measures. The campaign, called “Good Ideas Deserve to Be Found,” touts targeted ads as a boon for small businesses. Here’s one of the ads, which I found amusing, if perhaps not exactly in the way that Facebook intended.
The ad push comes ahead of a change in Apple’s policies that could dramatically affect Facebook and other app makers’ ability to track iOS users for advertising purposes. Starting this spring, iPhone users will see a pop-up when they open an app that tracks them, giving them the…
In a new piece for The New York Times, writers Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson detail—and not for the first time—how our smartphones feed a so-called “surveillance economy” that annihilates personal privacy in real and unexpected ways.
Warzel and Thompson obtained a file from an unnamed source containing location data tied to “thousands of Trump supporters, rioters, and passers-by in Washington, D.C.” on the date of the insurrection at the Capitol. …
Online, ads are everywhere.
They bombard you when you try to read the news. They pop up between your friends’ Facebook updates. They’re disguised to look like regular results on Google. And one, maybe two play before every video you watch on YouTube — with more peppered throughout.
From the perspective of an internet user who is desperately trying to ignore, avoid, or block this constant deluge of ads — ads that have to get more and more intrusive in order to force us to pay attention to them — the power of the online advertising industry might appear unstoppable…
In July, I performed an experiment to see how easy it was to run ads on Google that made false claims about Joe Biden.
First, in the Google Ads system, I bought the keyword “should I vote for Biden?” Then I told Google I wanted to run this ad:
By Aaron Sankin and Surya Mattu
Kara Zajac said SPART*A, a small nonprofit serving transgender military service members and veterans, helped her begin her transition while in the Navy. To give back, she volunteered to build the group’s website in her spare time after leaving the military — and kept her eye on a key value: privacy.
“I don’t track users,” Zajac said. “Not everyone in the military is wanting to be known for being trans. They might not be out yet. So any time we can protect privacy in that way, we try to do it.”
Welcome back to Pattern Matching, OneZero’s weekly newsletter that puts the week’s most compelling tech stories in context.
In the opening scenes of The Social Dilemma, the popular new Netflix docudrama about social media’s dark side, a series of nervous-looking interview subjects appear to stumble over a simple question: “What’s the problem?”
The film and its subjects — former employees of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants, along with a few outside critics such as the Harvard professor and The Age of Surveillance Capitalism author Shoshana Zuboff — spend the next 90 minutes throwing everything they have at that question…
If you’ve been following this series so far, you know that Google tracks the websites you visit. Then it passes the data to marketers like me so we can target you with ads based on where you’ve been on the internet.
Google lets us know whether you’ve browsed sites about certain topics recently or over a longer time frame. This is important, as it sculpts our strategy to “convert you” — that is, get you to buy a product or service with our ad.
For example, I would want to serve you a Porsche ad if you’ve been browsing prices…
On June 19, with the seemingly bold claim “We’re in,” outdoors brand The North Face lent powerful corporate backing to the Stop Hate for Profit movement.
Except there’s a problem. Instead of “We’re in!,” The North Face’s tweet perhaps should have read, “We’re in! Kinda!”
Stop Hate for Profit calls on advertisers to boycott Facebook, in response to the rampant “hate and misinformation across Facebook’s products, which are supported by paid advertisements.”
Although The North Face and hundreds of other brands are indeed pausing their Facebook advertising campaigns, they’re still handing Facebook millions of data points about their customers…