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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , advertising, , , , ,   

    Twitter leaks phone numbers to advertisers 

    Twitter leaks phone numbers to advertisers

    We’ve mentioned two-factor authentication, or 2FA as it’s known, a few times lately. It’s the security protocol that has two or more layers of authentication that better secures your online accounts. The most common form of 2FA is through text messaging. For example, if you have 2FA enabled, when you sign in to an online account not only would you have to provide your password but you’d also have to provide a code that had been texted to you. While authentication sent through SMS texts isn’t the most secure form of 2FA it is better than nothing. However, thanks to so many platforms using SMS texting for 2FA it has led one platform to issue an apology recently.

    Twitter recently announced phone numbers that users had registered with them for two-factor authentication were used for targeted advertising. The numbers were used to match users to marketing lists provided by advertisers. In some people’s eyes, that goes against everything that 2FA is supposed to stand for. One security expert even compared Twitter’s practice to that of trying to secure a tent against bears by using raw meat.

    Like we said, While SMS text messages are the most common form of 2FA, they’re not the most secure. There are alternatives that you can use that are more secure. There are hardware keys that act as authenticators that can be used on both computers and mobile devices. There are also software alternatives that are free, that create something along the lines of a temporary secondary password that can be used for the second layer of authentication. This way, you won’t have to worry about even more robocalls from advertisers and other bad actors from plaguing your phone.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, eavesdropping, , ,   

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you? 

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you?

    Has this ever happened to you? You’re just innocently talking with your friends or family about something you normally don’t talk about. Then you see an ad on your phone for the very thing you were talking about. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to suggest that companies like Facebook and Google are eavesdropping on your private conversations so they can serve you more targeted ads. It’s compounded by the fact that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have admitted that human contractors listen in on conversations heard by digital assistants. However, at least one study says that the eavesdropping phone is largely a myth.

    A mobile security company called Wandera has said that they’ve conducted research which they say shows that tech companies are not listening to your conversations. They placed an iPhone and an Android phone in a chamber where pet food advertisements continuously played. Both phones were running Facebook, Instagram, Chrome, SnapChat, YouTube, and Amazon in the background. However, the researchers did not witness any related ads on the devices in question. The researchers also say that the data used by both devices indicate that conversations are not being sent to the major tech companies. That’s not to say that tech companies aren’t tracking us in other ways.

    Other things like location data and browsing histories are said to be more effective in serving us targeted ads. Also, if you use a loyalty card at any store, advertising companies buy that information from the store and can match it with your social media accounts. Supposedly, there are sett9ngs on your phone where you can limit such targeting, however, we’ve either not been able to find these settings or they’re buried so deep in the app’s settings that it makes it difficult to escape targeting.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, , , The Intercept   

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting 

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting

    why is it that Facebook can’t seem to go at least a week without having to apologize for something. If it’s not massive data breaches and hacks, it’s interference from foreign agitators. One has to wonder if there is a Facebook employee whose official title is Executive President In Charge of Public Apologies. Then again, the way Facebook has been going lately they may need an entire department for that. This week is no different as once again Facebook finds themselves having to apologize for something that had little to no oversight.

    Last week I posted about how news outlets VICE and Business Insider were able to buy phony Facebook ads claiming to be from US Senators and Cambridge Analytica. This week is no different as over the weekend Facebook apologized for yet another advertising faux pas. Another news outlet called The Intercept was able to purchase an ad on Facebook that could be targeted at people who have anti-Semitic views. By using the term anti-Semitic I’m being rather generous as the ads could be targeted using certain phrases that decorum dictates I won’t use here. Facebook blamed the ad category on Facebook’s advertising algorithm for creating the offensive category, however, The Intercept claims that the ad had to be approved by a human moderator. The Intercept placed this ad in order to show just how easy it is for hate groups to be able to promote their vile messages on the platform.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has been caught allegedly coddling extremist hate groups as Motherboard discovered back in September that ads for white supremacy are not allowed on Facebook while posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. These controversies are just symptoms of much larger and more disturbing problems. Either Facebook’s own platform is grown so large it’s out of their control or Facebook courts controversy in order to keep it’s shrinking userbase engaged. Neither problem is better than the other but both show that Facebook wields more power in our society than they’re capable of handling.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on March 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, , Rihanna, ,   

    Snapchat in hot water over insensitive ad 

    Snapchat in hot water over insensitive ad

    Since its public debut, photo sharing app Snapchat has been trying to drag teen users away from Facebook. Since many teens like to follow their favorite celebrities on social media, Snapchat’s business has relied heavily on the activity of celebrities whether Snapchat wants to admit it or not. Now, Snapchat is facing a public backlash after one of its celebrities was featured in a very insulting ad on its platform.

    Recently, Snapchat users were served an ad for a mobile game that asked if you would rather slap R&B singer Rihanna or punch her former boyfriend Chris Brown. If you’ll recall, Rihanna was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Brown. The Grammy award-winning songstress took to Instagram to voice her displeasure over the ad.

    “Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!” Rihanna wrote. “But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke out of it!!! This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them … but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet … you let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

    Snapchat apologized for the ad, but it was too little too late as their stock took a tumble after the debacle. According to tech blog Recode, this just one in a long line of questionable ads on Snapchat as they are said to run ads for cryptocurrency miners and the infamous Ashley Madison website which supposedly helps people carry on affairs. While those ads may be tasteless, domestic violence is no laughing matter and should not be joked about in such a flippant manner. If this is the attitude Snapchat takes in supposedly curating their ads then it’s no wonder Instagram is beating them at every turn.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising,   

    Facebook to place ads in its ads 

    Facebook to place ads in its ads

    It should go without saying that Facebook loves advertising. It’s no secret the social network tries to cram as much advertising into its products as possible. Sometimes it can be as subtle as a post in your news feed, and others can be as blatant as the ads in the sidebar of the site. They’ve even started recently placing ads within their stand alone messenger. However, Facebook is still not content with its advertisement saturation. They still want to place even more ads within their platform, so they’ve decided to place ads within other ads.

    Facebook has now rolled out a pilot program where they’re testing ads within Facebook Marketplace, the service where users already post ads for items they want to sell. So far, these new sponsored ads are only on the mobile version of Marketplace and advertisers are not being charged during the test program period.

    While advertising pays for much of the internet and allows us to have free services like Facebook, how much advertising is too much? Some say we’ve already reached a tipping point with the proliferation of ad-blockers and the like. If platforms become too reliant on advertising, could we see a return to the days of pop-up and pop-under ads, or will services that were once free start going behind a paywall? It’s up to the platform themselves to balance the fine line between profit and user experience. If you lean too heavily on profit it could drive users away, however, paywalls are notorious for driving users away as many people using the internet feel they shouldn’t have to pay for many of the platforms they use.

    Then again, it is Facebook. It’s not like they’re about to lose a ton of users to Google Plus.

  • Geebo 8:58 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising,   

    YouTube now says channels need 10,000 views to make money 

    YouTube now says channels need 10,000 views to make money

    In the wake of ads from major advertisers being shown alongside videos from hate groups and terrorists, YouTube has decided to revamp the way their creators make money. In a peculiar move, YouTube now says that in order for their content creators to be able to monetize their videos, a channel would need at least 10,000 views before being considered for YouTube’s Partnership Program.

    After a channel reaches the required views, YouTube then reviews the content of the channel to make sure it fits their community guidelines. YouTube is saying that this will help keep major advertisers off of channels that consist of stolen content. However, one can safely assume that the hate speech that collects on the video sharing platform has to have had a major influence on YouTube making this decision.

    While this new policy will more than likely please advertisers it doesn’t do much to stop the problems of hate speech and stolen content. Those channels will continue to persist whether or not there’s advertising on their videos due to the fact that they’re based more on a philosophy than a money-making strategy.

    Who this will really hurt are new creators. It’s already difficult for creators to make a name for themselves in a space that’s already crowded with personalities that are pulling in millions of views. Someone who may have a unique perspective, or talent, or voice that could benefit from YouTube, may quit out of frustration if they don’t meet the required number of views to even be considered for payment. When it comes to advertising, it’s usually the consumer that gets hurt worst, but then again there is the modern adage that if you’re using a platform that’s free, you’re not the customer, but the product.

  • Geebo 10:01 am on March 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, , , ,   

    Google loses major advertisers amid hate speech controversy 

    Google loses major advertisers amid hate speech controversy

    Whether you want to admit it or not, the internet runs on advertising. Most of the sites we use that we consider free are actually built on advertising revenue from Facebook all the way down to your local news site. That’s why even an internet mammoth like Google stands up and takes notice when it loses major advertisers. In the wake of YouTube’s recent hate speech controversy where advertisers complained about their ads showing up on or near hate speech videos, both Verizon and AT&T have pulled their advertising dollars away from Google.

    While this move will cost Google hundreds of millions of dollars, AT&T and Verizon’s decision to withdraw their advertising dollars may have less to do with hate speech and may have more to do with business. Many tech insiders have speculated that this move may mean that Verizon and AT&T are looking to launch their own YouTube competitors. One could also assume that each company would give traffic priority to their own respective platforms over YouTube.

    While there are many video streaming sites and apps out there, none have captured the global imagination more than YouTube. They were the first and have remained the king of the mountain since. However, not every king stays king forever and while YouTube has shown some major flaws in recent days are Verizon and AT&T big enough names to take on YouTube as they’re basically two Davids against YouTube’s Goliath? Probably not, so even with all their flaws expect YouTube to continue to thrive.

  • Geebo 12:03 pm on January 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, , Meitu   

    Be careful what permissions your apps want on your phone 

    Be careful what permissions your apps want on your phone

    I’m sure when most of us download the latest fad app to our smart phones we just bypass the permissions screen and grant the app whatever permissions it might need to work properly. A new app is now causing concern for asking for too much permission.

    Meitu is an app that can take a photo of you, or anything else you want, and allows you to change the subject into an Anime inspired character. The problem is that Meitu is supposedly asking for way more permission than it needs. If you download the app from the Google Play store it will ask for such permissions as your location and your phone number. On the iPhone it also checks to see who your mobile carrier is.

    So why would a harmless app ask for such detailed information? According to CNET it’s so that the app’s creators can sell your information to advertisers. Meitu isn’t the only culprit here though. Many apps ask for almost total access to your phone in order to harvest your information to be sold to the highest bidder which can lead to even more obtrusive advertising than mobile devices already have to contend with.

    So the next time that screen pops up asking for your permission, maybe we should all check to make sure what permissions the app is asking for and if it’s too many maybe forego that app.

  • Geebo 9:43 am on August 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ad blockers, advertising,   

    Facebook attempts to block ad blockers 

    Facebook attempts to block ad blockers

    Desktop ad blockers were born out of necessity during a time when not everyone had broadband internet at home. Some websites would be so laden with ads that they would load at a snail’s pace. It didn’t help that often times the ads were obtrusive and irrelevant. To make matters even worse some advertisers would have their ads inject malware into unprotected systems, so the use of ad blockers has had some justification. The problem with them is they’re akin to killing a fly with a shotgun. Most websites use advertising as a way to make money so they can continue to stay in business. Due to a number of abusers all advertisers have been painted as the enemy by some. However, if users continue to block ads, your favorite website could lose revenue forcing them to shut down.

    Within recent years, many websites have been fighting back against ad blockers. Some websites will ask you to disable your ad blocker if you enjoy their content. Others will try to get you to sign up for a paid version of their website that is ad free. Another way websites are fighting back is to disable some of their functionality while an ad blocker is enabled. Now, a major player in the web space has brought the ad blocker wars to a brand new level.

    Facebook recently announced that their new ads will start bypassing ad blockers. While this may be met with controversy by some users, Facebook says it will be offering tools to their users to make the experience more pleasant.

    Facebook is debuting a new ad preferences tool that will make it easier to see how you’re being targeted. You’ll be able to specify your interests, opt out of those Facebook has incorrectly associated you with, and see which advertisers have your details on a customer list.

    Unfortunately when Facebook usually sets out new tools for its users, they have a history of being overly complicated and confusing, such as their privacy tools. However this battle may just be one of attrition since most users access Facebook through their mobile app where the ads can not be blocked. Mobile is where Facebook makes most of its money. With the number of desktop users dwindling, is it worth it to go through all this trouble to get a few more dollars out of a dying breed? Facebook seems to think so.

  • Geebo 9:52 am on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertising, Tumblr, ,   

    Tumblr tries to straddle a fine line when it comes to ads 

    Tumblr tries to straddle a fine line when it comes to ads

    After being classified as ‘worthless’ in the Yahoo-Verizon deal, micro-blogging site Tumblr will be rolling out ads on its users’ blogs today. The problem is that Tumblr has the unenviable task of trying to be profitable without alienating their core user base.

    Tumblr’s main demographic tends to skew much younger than most comparable services like Twitter or Facebook. Due to their users’ naiveté, Tumblr’s users tend to not only be resistant to change but they tend to resent any kind of corporate influence into what they perceive as a fragile ecosystem. When Yahoo first purchased Tumblr in 2013, many of its users took to their keyboards to voice their displeasure (NSFW language), to say the least.

    What their young minds may not understand is that not a lot of people run a free service on the internet purely out of the goodness of their hearts, and in no uncertain terms, advertising is the currency of the internet. Tumblr needs to make money in order for it to survive and Tumblr users are already raging against the advertising machine. If Tumblr continues to be valued as basically worthless, then new parent company Verizon, may decide to shutter Tumblr altogether. If Tumblr’s users want to keep their favorite platform, then it might be time for their user base to do some growing up.

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