Available now, size "Large" t-shirt for sale!
"I'm a proud dad living in Seattle who attended the University of Washington and once went on a trip to Central America for a while. I have a dog and like to read and occasionally complain about politics."
I'd buy this if I saw it, if just for the lulz and nihilistic outlook when it comes to privacy.
In fact... if I were a privacy-focused company, I'd 100% do this as a marketing stunt.
Edited: as my sibling comment mentioned, I too would buy one of these shirts.
Except this is Tshirt manufacturers coming up with generic slogans on Tshirt ads that correspond to your interests.
The exploit was that FB put your name in the public response from the Graph API. I remember discovering that, saying that might be abusable, and moved on with my life.
About a year later, I started getting oddly specific t-shirts like all <last names> do <x good>.
I so wish this was a thing but I doubt Facebook would allow using their graph for this kind of marketing.
"In the end, he generated about 700 variations of the phrase on t-shirts, and put them up on Amazon."
"You are seeing this shirt because [advertiser] wants to reach people who are friends with individuals who are [age], interested in [topic], located in or near [city], who wear [size] shirts.
My feeling is, communicating a compelling data collection story, even strictly positivist things like how much data is collected, let alone normative ones like we should collect less data or prohibit collecting it - you're not going to tell that story with some neat hack inside the system.
I'm probably not going to, but I do like the idea
Too bad they have to use text to make their point. It would essentially reach zero people due to rules (https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/lessons/how-to-adher...). Then there's personal attributes (https://m.facebook.com/policies/ads/prohibited_content/perso...). Then ads that do not sell products/services follow murky rules, and talking about Facebook itself is usually prohibited. (edited from: because the rule they're actually breaking is the "No Text" rule in Facebook ad creatives.)
Is there non-symbolic imagery that they could have used to say the same thing?
Perhaps they should have retained someone with this kind of creative experience.
Looking critically, the most narrow and serious obstacle to advocate for privacy is storytelling.
Where can this rule be found? That seems like a really odd rule, and https://www.facebook.com/business/help/388369961318508?id=12... says the opposite:
"Avoid too much text on the image itself. We've found that images with less than 20% text perform better, though there is no limit on the amount of text that can exist in your ad image."
With a screenshot of text, it's super easy to understand how our tech works and whether it is useful for a particular person. But FB wouldn't let us boost posts that had images of our product in use.
I'd be curious to hear from others how much FB penalizes advertisers in terms of cost/reach if they have lots of text.
But still their algo doesn't promote heavy text as much. It's a black box; ads aren't as simple as highest bidder, FB takes engagement on a per user basis into account and evidently heavy text lowers.
Which is ironic given they added those text only posts & the takeover of Memes which at least for me drove my personal browsing to IG only. And now that's starting to go the same way. maybe meme-ification is humanly inherent lol. I'm starting to unfollow friends who only post those inspirational memes and crap. I just want photos, inspiring content from creators/athletes that are relevant to me, and family updates.
They later converted text in ads into a penalty, so you pay more (as an advertiser) for it.
The recommended amount of text on the image is less than 20%. Their system also doesn't like text because of potential "circumventions of policy" with putting text in images. Weird fonts that are not machine-readable will likely get the account banned fast.
Especially because FB tells me why I am being shown an ad already.
One of those sites clearly had Facebook integration because now Facebook is sure that I'm an HIV-positive gay man, with ads that correspond. It is one thing to get the ads but it would be a bit more overt if there was a text ad declaring that I was an HIV positive gay man.
See also this Show HN from /new for purging your complete set of labels, and ask why Facebook doesn’t build this into the site UI. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27045374
(The link is broken, but apparently there's a page you can single-remove specific interests from, if you can find it.)
Sadly even the web archive's copy of the page has the empty version :(
maybe breaking the rule was intentional, to make this article work
But you can't see that in an article like this, and it's far more likely to reach the right people.
What I mean is that for your average consumer, they'll read this and be horrified that Facebook is using the information they voluntarily gave Facebook to make money. But someone who is buying ads will read this same thing, be impressed by just how tightly Facebook can target, and put $10K into an Ad Account to try it out.
As to me, I use Facebook, I am willing to see ads within Facebook using the information I share with Facebook but where I draw the line is Facebook "leaking" into my wider web browsing history (either tracking me, or using my non-Facebook browsing to advertise to me on Facebook). Therefore, I use Mozilla's Facebook Container extension and blacklist Facebook/Instagram's "Share" tracking buttons.
I also access Facebook from a mobile browser rather than app and use Signal instead of Facebook Messager, to limit Facebook's ability to track my location and other phone meta-data.
With that evident fact, we to face the reality, however uncomfortable, that manufacturing desire at this scale has become unambiguously unethical.
That exists of course, but sole proprietors, small businesses, and medium businesses also purchase online ads in high volume and therefore people from other domains are commonly buying ads (or more importantly for this discussion: deciding where to spend limited ad dollars).
It turned out that if the message displayed was too specific, like "Upcoming meetup in your area: [New York meetup]" people got rather angry about the privacy invasion.
So instead the instructions for setting the messages had to tell the authors to instead say stuff like "Find out about upcoming meetups!" -- which of course was only displayed if there actually was an upcoming meetup near where you geolocated.
Of course, regardless of if any message is displayed the site could guess your geography based on your IP address. The exposure of private information was nearly identical-- actually arguably worse because someone might mention that they're currently seeing a notice without realizing that this fact leaked their geography... but the more generic messages didn't generate complaints.
(and WP policy effectively makes it impossible to edit via Tor, even for established users in good standing)
Sometimes it seems people care a lot more about enjoying the illusion of privacy than they care about actually having privacy.
Hiding the fact that you are spying on someone enough to make them stop openly complaining about it doesn't make them ok with you spying on them.
Genius! But it’s unclear to me if the examples in the blog were actual ads shown to users before their account was blocked, or the campaign never got off the ground at all. If it’s the latter, the blog should make it clearer otherwise it makes it look like those were real ads
Why would facebook green light ads that are detrimental to them?
I don't think this is the "slam dunk" the author intends it to be, but I'm sure it will resonate with the Woke™ hackernews crowd regardless.
I don't think this is the sound criticism you intend it to be.
After reading updates from both sides, I don't think Signal intended to deceive readers with this blog post, it just sounds like they jumped the gun. It seems like whoever authored the post doesn't understand Facebook's advertising tools all that well.
I'm not an FB user, but I might as well be, since I have an Instagram account that I mindlessly scroll from time to time.
Here are some examples: https://imgur.com/a/7YVH3ch
There are likely thousands more, that's just the browsing section.
The targeting is relatively specific. Think of a (general) category and it'll be available. I use it for bars and restaurants at a local level, and the granularity is quite nice vs other media (target people who like bars or restaurants, are into music, are into drinks, are into cocktails, are into concerts currently in the city or who are traveling to this city)
It really helps a small budget go a long a way, assuming the stats they give are correct.
And herein lies the rub.
In all seriousness, I wouldn't doubt that either - spend more, target more. But based on the screenshots someone else posted up a bit, it's pretty granular (I presume) by default.
"Facebook knows I'm a single teacher in Moscow who likes soccer? ... So what?
And that's before taking into account that the labels FB/etc. put on you are often incorrect, further diluting the perceived seriousness of this privacy leak.
Agree with you there that this isn't much of a privacy leak as the average user mostly knows what's going on. I'd guess the article wasn't really meant to point out a threat to privacy, maybe more on the lines of "FB doesn't want to share it's methods of using the information it gathers". Shocking...
Take for example the obesity epidemic. Obesity is a factor in 20% of all US deaths. People know it is killing them, their friends and their families and don't do anything.
What's trickier is when the ads make assumptions about your taste based on the Facebook groups you participate in, and the websites you visit outside Facebook. Those are still connected to you via the Facebook beacons (share widgets) embedded in practically every website.
What do I care if Facebook shows me ads for the things I browsed on Amazon or Etsy. I often discover fun stuff directly from those ads for websites I wasn't even familiar with. On the contrary (and I could be wrong to do so) but I trust some website when I have seen its ad on Facebook, as I know it has been vetted by Facebook to not be some fraud.
There’s a similar story about a guy who sets up an add targeted to his wife or fiancé or something.
Later Facebook apparently made it so whatever group your targeting has a minimum size.
That said, nothing about this is new. Whether Facebook, Google, or any of the other countless (yes, thousands) of players in the AdTech ecosystem, this kind of targeting can be done with ease and for pennies per user.
The deprecation of third-party data, cookies, and cross-domain tracking couldn't happen soon enough. It's not a perfect solution but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
Though I understand the point of this as marketing & article to educate on what data FB does have and the ads look really cool!
Whereas they definitely have access to a lot of (my) data, they are still unable to correctly know my gender.
And speaking of rules for ads. I recently noticed that most of the ads are pure spam and even fake products are offered.
It is extremely obvious what this is about.
Facebook has something similar  but much narrower. "Gender Identity" is among the categories though ("LGBTQ adoption" in the first ad), as are medical conditions ("pregnancy exercises" in the second ad).
And, wait, does that rule apply to marketing manly products for men? If they're using "gender identity" as a euphemism for "non-cis gender identity" that's kind of awful. It reminds me of the people that say they don't have pronouns.
It's far more likely to be the "no personal attributes"  rule.
(although Instagram could have different rules)
However, Signal has its own failings as well. From what I understand, it:
* Refuses to federate.
* Hostile to independent clients.
* Run as a one-man show.
That's not Facebook-bad, but it's sad that Signal is consistently exhibiting this attitude, meaning that it can't be a good basis for personal instant messaging going into the future.
If you don't, use something else. But using Signal is for sure a lot better than using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
* Facebook refuses to federate.
* Facebook is hostile to independent clients.
* Facebook is run as a one-man show.
And everyone agrees Facebook is Bad(TM).
With no explanation as to why those points are bad, is it not the same as just saying, "Facebook and Signal both have websites, host a mobile app, and use the colour blue in their branding, and since everyone agrees Facebook is bad then Signal must be, too"?
I mean sure they'll know things like relationship status that I directly input, but the inferences are often very incorrect.
For example, if you selecting "wealthy" it would just open up a bunch of urls to expensive brands, luxury items, private charter jets. I am not entirely sure if it actually worked or not.
Probably not well. At least usually not well. Depends on the day and the audience of course.
My hypothetical Apple or Google App Store pirates could have a surveillance issue claim as well. Would that really change how angry many people would be with the behavior and the difference in response vs ad blocking?
1 - using this setup means considerably less info is exiting my systems to feed the beast
and 2 - exactly because I don't see them they're wasting their time on me
I'd say mission accomplished. Wanna guess in how many months the current state of ads/ad R&D would drop to 0 if everyone would do the same like me?
Here is a funny story, from this year. crackwatch dot com (the site, not the reddit) went down. why? because pirates that flocked there with thousands, all had this setup and they got exactly zero ad revenue from their users. Of course they went with a nice corporate BS "we could use more aggressive ads to raise revenue for servers but we respect you guys too much for something like that bla bla..." - translation: we know is not going to work so we just going to cut our losses.
Now you’re admitting your set up is awful for creators and would screw things up for genuine people if everyone did it. Just because whatever creator example may not be a good site or person doesn’t mean that’s how everyone is.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want everyone taking whatever service or product your livelihood depends on.
Action may have left much more and did actually leave early enough. Especially proportionally. However, the WhatsApp deal may have been possible without his saying yes being needed.
Both have gotten good publicity for being “good” people and for the people with their anti FB rhetoric. Even though Kuom has not done much. Even being for Trump’s authoritarian tendencies into 2017, if I’m not mistaken.
At best Acton had some naivety. I still find it hard to believe the biggest reason was naivety versus getting paid huge amounts of money then when that has settled, get back to caring about things like privacy.
It’s pretty easy to care about privacy or this issue or that issue when you could lose 99% of your money and still never work a day in your life. It also does not in my opinion, deserve much praise, nor assumptions in their favor. The general status quo and all its issues were likely not a priority for either founder until they were filthy rich. Again just my opinion and assumptions.
If you truly believe in free market then surely you must agree advertisement is a mass manipulation technique that should be illegal as anti-competitive technique (reinforces dominant positions).
If you're an anarchist/socialist then surely you've read or seen some talks by Noam Chomsky about "Manufacturing consent" and by now you want to burn down every TV station, bank and police station you can think of.
Even if you don't mind printed ads, if you're just a little bit concerned about privacy, you must be out of your mind that certain data obtained about you may be used against you and your loved ones
Who's left to defend that kind of degrading practice? How can we put enough social pressure on these people so they stop and develop healthier activities than to hijack our brains remotely?
There are a lot of methods allowed in advertising that are basically fraud, and a lot of methods to deliver advertising that are basically stalking. That doesn't mean that people shouldn't be allowed to post what they have for sale.
Well the thing is the amount of resources spent on advertisement is usually inversely proportional to the amount of resources spent on "goods and services i may desire or need".
I'm not saying it should be illegal to post about what you do. But advertisement is paying people to relay your message they couldn't care less about. It's not the same as people recommending products/services, although the frontier has become blurrier now with all those "sponsored" articles/videos.
The simple act of making a spectacle of their products announcements are advertisements. Not clickable ads in a website but an ad regardless. They could quietly release products every year by updating their website but that wouldn't sell nearly as much...
Will then everybody think "Oh, I really didn't see this coming..."?
I may be critical of industrial farming, large corporate environmental policies and/or Facebook, but I still might buy corn, own a Toyota and use Facebook to keep up with friends overseas.
I think it can be super hard to take an ideological position at the expense of functionality (obviously depends on how strongly you hold your views, and what the cost of forgoing engagement with that company/person is).
This could just another example of inconsistency of thought, or frivolousness of opinion.
the future is decentralized
""State-of-the-art end-to-end encryption (powered by the open source Signal Protocol) keeps your conversations secure. We can't read your messages or listen to your calls, and no one else can either. Privacy isn’t an optional mode — it’s just the way that Signal works. Every message, every call, every time.""
Have you observed them get sued for records and be unable to deliver?