Over elmine

Making more impact on fewer people through storytelling.

Ad preferences

As part of my research on facebook, I wanted to know what they still have on record of me. Therefore I made a download request yesterday for my information (report still pending). In the mean time I also dived into my ad preferences. It took a while to find the page as it was not linked to on the settings page as suggested in this help file. Anyway, I found it.

As far as my ad preferences go, fb doesn’t have a lot of info to go on.

During the last period I used fb more regularly, I made it a sport to actively hide all ads they showed me.

I also removed all interests fb used to serve me ads.

It is interesting fb uses the word removed for this, as they clearly have just categorised my interests differently. From allowed to use for ads, to not allowed to use for ads. They have to keep this on record, otherwise they can’t make this distinction for me.

What I hadn’t seen before was this section:

You can now hide specific ad topics. All three of them: alcohol, parenting and pets. The first is probably to serve alcoholics who are trying to stay off it, the second probably introduced for those who are grieving a lost baby and are not interested in ads for the latest and cutest baby things, and there must be a hell of load of pet haters in the world (or grievers for lost pets). You can suggest other topics, but it is not in fb’s interest to make this a long list. (BTW, I would suggest all pregnant women hide parenting ads, as you’re value goes up for advertisers. You’re in need of a lot of stuff and only want the best for your baby. Advertisers know this and will convince you to buy more than you need. The best advice I got was from a friend who said to run all purchases through the Man first (but even he turned out not to be a rational decision maker all the time) ).

An interesting pattern I noticed. The first two days I logged into fb I didn’t receive any ads. A wonderful experience I can tell you! However, today my timeline was showing group suggestions and ads again. I guess it is a strategy to not bother you with ads the first time after a long absence. It could also be that it needs to recollect some data points (which posts I’m lingering on e.g.) before knowing what to serve me. I put my money on seduction, though. Anything to lure you back into the stream.

I’m curious to see what the fb files tell me about myself. I just checked, and the file is there to download. I didn’t receive the promised e-mail to tell when the file was ready, though. The file expires on July 5th. In other words, good that I checked for it myself. More on this later.

Door |2020-07-02T13:14:30+02:002 juli 2020|datadieet|0 Reacties

Music & Clowns (183)

I watched this short video today. It’s a conversation of a man with his parents about his brother who has Down’s. I love the way the creator chose to animate the audio recording and then mix it with other material. The things being said are wonderful too.

Door |2020-07-01T14:44:46+02:001 juli 2020|366, flow|1 Reactie

Are audio beacons still in use?

While I’m diving into the dark side of online advertising, I came across the upheaval three years ago about audio beacons being used to listen to people to, guess what, collect more personal data to, guess what, sell even more stuff to them. Here are some articles to read on that:

Does your phone listen to you for ads? (Or is it just coincidence?)

How Audio Beacons Monitor You Via Smartphone

And most importantly this paper published in 2017, in which the researchers found 234 Android applications that are constantly listening for ultrasonic beacons in the background without the user’s knowledge: Privacy Threats through Ultrasonic Side Channels on Mobile Devices (2017)

Obviously there was a lot of critique on this technique and therefore it seems to have disappeared from the advertiser’s radar. But I’m wondering whether how much of this nifty technique is currently still in use without us knowing. Just recently a friend of mine had one of those ‘they’re listening to my conversations’-moment. So far the information I can find on this are all from 2017 or still referring to the research paper I mentioned above. If you’re reading this and know more about recent use of ultrasonic or audio beacons, I’m interested!

Door |2020-06-30T16:51:13+02:0030 juni 2020|datadieet, flow|3 Reacties

A pinch hole in the black box called school (182)

The Man and I were able to speak to one of Daughter’s teachers today. Due to the corona rules in school (no parents inside the school), we’ve hardly had any contact with the teachers. Today they scheduled a ten minute update for us parents. Ten minutes is not long, but a lot can be exchanged within that time frame. I learned that Daughter is actively participating at school, not afraid of putting her finger up to try stuff first in gym class. I also learned her teacher has a bit of a gender bias. Based on Daughter’s looks (I guess she meant the combination of a delicate face, nordic eye/hair color and the dresses Daughter prefers to wear) the teacher was (pleasantly) surprised Daughter prefers building blocks over dolls to play with. She made a sturdy impression on the teacher. Yay for Daughter. Her mother is proud she fares so well in her new environment.

Door |2020-06-30T14:27:36+02:0030 juni 2020|366, flow|1 Reactie

I’m consumed by papers (181)

I’m a researcher at heart, so when I want to research something I want to do it properly. So in my quest to write about the social mechanisms at work around Facebook, I’m hoarding academic papers. Perhaps a little too much for what I need. I currently feel like I’m consumed by papers, instead of consuming them. The feeling reminds me a little of this short animation called The Final Knit.

Door |2020-06-29T15:26:17+02:0029 juni 2020|366, flow|0 Reacties
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