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Facebook’s ‘transparency’ efforts hide key reasons for showing ads

Governments and advocates in the U.S. and Europe, as well as elsewhere around the globe, have been pushing Facebook to make the inner workings of its advertising system clearer to the public.

Will Netflix eventually monetize its user data?

Even in the wake of a recent mixed earning report and volatile stock prices, Netflix remains the media success story of the decade. The company, whose user base has grown rapidly, now boasts almost 150 million global subscribers.

Robots star in ads, but mislead viewers about technology

Nowhere is the advance of technology more evident than in the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. From smart devices to self-checkout lanes to Netflix recommendations, robots (the hardware) and AI (the software) are everywhere inside the technology of modern society. They’re increasingly common in ads, too: During the 2019 Super Bowl alone, seven ads aired featuring either robots or AI.

Facebook’s in-home Portal camera could use the data it collects about you to serve ads

Last week we were very skeptical about Facebook’s new bit of hardware, the Portal tracking camera and video calling system — mostly because Facebook hasn’t got the best track record of keeping user data safe. And we were pretty sure that the company plans to use the Portal to harvest even more data about its users to keep the gigantic advertising beast fed. Well… guess what...[Read More]

Facebook on track to start adding ads to WhatsApp – starting with iOS

There’s a lot going on over at the Facebook-owned outfits. Instagram’s founders have bounced, there’s been another (huge) data breach, and Facebook is starting to use phone numbers for advertising — let’s add another item to the pile, this one concerned with WhatsApp. Facebook’s WhatsApp is set to start getting advertising soon, starting with the iOS version of ...[Read More]

Netflix testing video promos between episodes of whatever you’re bingeing at the moment

Oh Netflix, and you were doing so well… Streaming service Netflix has been testing running promotional ads between episodes of whatever is being watched, something that has gotten right up the noses of those who have experienced the recent test. The test was spotted by various users around the world, who posted their annoyance at the ‘unskippable’ promos on Reddit and that other ...[Read More]

How Facebook could really fix itself

Facebook has a world of problems. Beyond charges of Russian manipulation and promoting fake news, the company’s signature social media platform is under fire for being addictive, causing anxiety and depression, and even instigating human rights abuses. Company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to win back users’ trust. But his company’s efforts so far have ignored the root causes of th...[Read More]

Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it

As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that’s friends’ holiday photos, or advertisements. This might appear i...[Read More]

Ads next to hate speech, overstating of views ravage YouTube, Facebook’s reputations

The only surprising thing about major brands pulling their YouTube advertising for appearing alongside extremism and hate speech was how long it took to happen. Google has been criticised for years about the problems with its YouTube advertising – which sees adverts appearing alongside undesirable, sometimes illegal content, including antisemitism or videos advocating violence – about which the la...[Read More]

How Facebook and Google changed the advertising game

Creativity and spectacle are becoming less important than the personal information used to target ads. The sponsored links on a Google search or in your Facebook feed are very effective, but for a completely different reason than your favourite television commercial. When you think about advertising what comes to mind is probably the art. Memorable ads are often creative, clever or emotional. Some...[Read More]

So it begins: Facebook to start showing ads mid-video

Facebook, as hard as it might be to believe, is far more interested in you as a potential advertising target than as a user. That’s how the company makes its money, after all — by serving advertisements up to neatly-catalogued eyeballs. So it should come as no surprise that Facebook is going to be introducing a whole lot more ads to videos posted to the social network. That’s the...[Read More]

Facebook isn’t having any of your Adblock nonsense (and other changes)

Some internet users deploy an adblocker as a form of self defence because there’s nothing like visiting a website and seeing nothing but wall-to-wall ads with pop-ups and pop-unders vying for your eye’s attention. The solution, besides an adblocker, would seem to be simple – less intrusive website advertising (of the sort that Stuff uses, yes?). Of, if you’re Facebook, you ...[Read More]

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