When You're Living in an Immaterial World, What's for Sale?

When You're Living in an Immaterial World, What's for Sale?

I like a get-rich-quick scheme—what American doesn’t?—and not too long ago I alighted on drop-shipping.

A Better Path to Tech Reform? Felony Charges

A Better Path to Tech Reform? Felony Charges

On March 25, the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter will once again testify before a committee of the House of Representatives, this time about the spread of disinformation on their platforms.

A Case Against the Peeping Tom Theory of Privacy

A Case Against the Peeping Tom Theory of Privacy

The data they gather is aggregated, fed to machine learning algorithms, and used to target advertisements to us based on our behavior.Conspiratorial garbage-peddlers like the Gateway Pundit would struggle to exist without an automated, user-targeting-based ad system that doesn’t require advertisers to consciously choose to spend money there.

Chrome’s Cookie Update Is Bad for Advertisers but Good for Google

Chrome’s Cookie Update Is Bad for Advertisers but Good for Google

For most people, the change will be invisible, but behind the scenes, Google is planning to put Chrome in control of some of the advertising process.Google’s plan to replace third-party cookies comes from its Privacy Sandbox, a set of proposals for improving online ads without obliterating the ad industry.

Ad Tech Could Be the Next Internet Bubble

Ad Tech Could Be the Next Internet Bubble

Hwang draws an extended analogy between the pre-2007 housing bubble and today’s market for digital advertising.Just as housing played an outsized role in pre-crash financial markets, so does advertising in the digital economy.

Facebook's ‘Kill Switch’ Solves the Wrong Problem

Facebook's ‘Kill Switch’ Solves the Wrong Problem

The company was underlining how critical it is to provide trustworthy information during an election period, while simultaneously defending its ambivalent political ads policy, which allows politicians and parties to deliver misleading statements using Facebook’s powerful microtargeting tools.

The Sly Psychology Behind Magicians' Card Tricks

The Sly Psychology Behind Magicians' Card Tricks

Brown uses mental priming and forcing techniques (among other tools) involving verbal and visual cues in his performances—prompting someone, for instance, to think of the three of diamonds card.

How To Stop Instagram From Tracking Everything You Do

How To Stop Instagram From Tracking Everything You Do

Other than deleting the app completely there’s very little you can do to stop Instagram from tracking your behavior on its platform, but there are things you can do to limit some of the data that’s collected and the types of ads you see online.

Over 500 Chrome Extensions Secretly Uploaded Private Data

Over 500 Chrome Extensions Secretly Uploaded Private Data

The plugins then redirected browsers to one of a handful of hard-coded control servers to receive additional instructions, locations to upload data, advertisement feed lists, and domains for future redirects.

Why Mark Zuckerberg’s Oversight Board May Kill His Political Ad Policy

Why Mark Zuckerberg’s Oversight Board May Kill His Political Ad Policy

After nearly two years, Facebook is almost done setting up its Oversight Board, an independent panel with the power to override Facebook’s most contentious decisions on controversial content.

Paid Political Ads Are Not the Problem. Our Perceptions Are

Paid Political Ads Are Not the Problem. Our Perceptions Are

Moreover, very little of the IRA’s spending was on traditional political advertising: The Senate report notes that only about 5 percent of the Russian ads users saw prior to the presidential election actually referenced Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump directly.

A Simple Way to Make It Harder for Mobile Ads to Track You

A Simple Way to Make It Harder for Mobile Ads to Track You

Both Android and iOS force apps to use a special "ad ID" for tracking smartphones, which gets linked to whatever data marketers collect from you.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars in a New Ad Plugging Electric Cars

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars in a New Ad Plugging Electric Cars

A Ford spokesperson says running ads during NFL games may work for high-volume pickup trucks, but “EV customers are less likely to consume as much TV so we have to approach them differently.” Toyota notes that mass media doesn’t make sense for models that (at least for now) sell in such small volumes.

Are Facebook Ads Discriminatory? It’s Complicated

Are Facebook Ads Discriminatory? It’s Complicated

The Facebook optimization team could come up with a best guess as to the gender, race, and ethnicity of every user, and make sure that the delivery of ads within certain categories like housing and employment are unbiased.

The Brave Browser Will Pay You to Surf the Web

The Brave Browser Will Pay You to Surf the Web

Today, ad networks pay sites like for ad space and web browsers like Brave and Chrome deliver content from those publishers to users. Eventually, the company plans to offer a service that will replace any blocked ads on a publisher's site with ads placed by Brave and give those publishers a cut of the ad revenue.

Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

A new study from researchers at Northeastern University, University of Southern California, and the nonprofit Upturn finds ad delivery —the Facebook algorithms that decide exactly which users see those ads—may be just as important.

Facebook Changes Its Ad Tech to Stop Discrimination

Facebook Changes Its Ad Tech to Stop Discrimination

Facebook Changes Its Ad Tech to Stop Discrimination Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images On Tuesday, Facebook reached a historic settlement with civil rights groups that had accused the company of allowing advertisers to unlawfully discriminate against minorities, women, and older people by using the platform’s ad-targeting technology to exclude them from seeing ads for housing, jobs, and credit—three areas with legal protections for groups that have historically been disenfranchised.

Space Billboards Are Just the Latest Orbital Stunt

Space Billboards Are Just the Latest Orbital Stunt

To pursue the idea, Sitnikov founded StartRocket, which plans to use a hundreds-strong constellation of CubeSats, each equipped with a reflective sail, to display ads, and perhaps emergency and event-based messages.

Gillette's Ad Proves the Definition of a Good Man Has Changed

Gillette's Ad Proves the Definition of a Good Man Has Changed

Titled “We Believe,” the nearly two-minute video features a diverse cast of boys getting bullied, of teens watching media representatives of macho guys objectifying women, and of men looking into the mirror while news reports of #MeToo and toxic masculinity play in the background.

Pandora's Podcast Genome Project Wants to Find Your Next Favorite Show

Pandora's Podcast Genome Project Wants to Find Your Next Favorite Show

“Machines can actually determine content, determine intent, there’s many more things they can determine about a podcast than they can about a song.”As with the Music Genome Project, humans provide both guidance and a backstop for algorithmic choices.

Why California's Privacy Law Won't Hurt Facebook or Google

Why California's Privacy Law Won't Hurt Facebook or Google

Don’t sweat the details; the net of all this hackery is a table with your personal data plus a browser cookie or mobile device ID, which allows, say, a pharmacy chain that knows your phone number (which you entered at checkout to save 5 percent) to link all your purchases to your online presence.Facebook lives in a walled garden where no data leaves and very little enters.Together, these relatively small players provide an alternative targeting ecosystem that competes with Facebook’s one-stop-shop.