Category Archives: advertising

Virtual Competition – The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy

Shoppers with Internet access and a bargain-hunting impulse can find a universe of products at their fingertips. In this thought-provoking exposé, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stuckeinvite us to take a harder look at today’s app-assisted paradise of digital shopping. While consumers reap many benefits from online purchasing, the sophisticated algorithms and data-crunching that make browsing so convenient are also changing the nature of market competition, and not always for the better.

Computers colluding is one danger. Although long-standing laws prevent companies from fixing prices, data-driven algorithms can now quickly monitor competitors’ prices and adjust their own prices accordingly. So what is seemingly beneficial—increased price transparency—ironically can end up harming consumers. A second danger is behavioral discrimination. Here, companies track and profile consumers to get them to buy goods at the highest price they are willing to pay. The rise of super-platforms and their “frenemy” relationship with independent app developers raises a third danger. By controlling key platforms (such as the operating system of smartphones), data-driven monopolies dictate the flow of personal data and determine who gets to exploit potential buyers.

Virtual Competition raises timely questions. To what extent does the “invisible hand” still hold sway? In markets continually manipulated by bots and algorithms, is competitive pricing an illusion? Can our current laws protect consumers? The changing market reality is already shifting power into the hands of the few. Ezrachi and Stucke explore the resulting risks to competition, our democratic ideals, and our economic and overall well-being.

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Scout | The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright.Albright, an assistant professor and data scientist at Elon University, started digging into fake news sites after Donald Trump was elected president. Through extensive research and interviews with Albright and other k

Source: Scout | The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election – Startup Grind – Medium

Trump’s presidential election victory is the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history. The secret weapons in Trump’s digital arsenal were Project Alamo, his database of 220 million people in the United States, and the Facebook Advertising Platform. By leveraging Facebook’s sophisticated advertising tools, including Facebook Dark Posts, Facebook Audience-Targeting, and Facebook Custom Audiences from Customer Lists, the Trump campaign was able to secretly target Hillary Clinton’

Source: How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election – Startup Grind – Medium

Yahoo Patents Smart Billboard That Would Deliver Targeted Ads To Passersby or Motorists – Slashdot

Yahoo has filed a patent for advertising billboards outfitted with a wide array of sensors — including drone-based cameras — which would use facial and vehicle recognition, data brokers, cell-tower information and social network information to attempt to identify worthwhile advertising targets and aim personalized ads at them as they pass on foot or in cars. The scheme, which wassubmitted on October 6th, anticipates using the same kind of micro-auction processes that currently determine which ads users see in webpages and mobile apps. The implementation of public ad-targeting brings up some fascinating and chilling prospects, as users find that the ads which “bloom” around them betray much about their private lives.Yahoo provides an example via its patent application: “According to one example, a digital billboard adjacent a busy freeway might be instrumented with or located near traffic sensors that detect information about the context of the vehicles approaching the billboard, e.g., the number and average speed of the vehicles. Such information might be used in conjunction with information about the time of day and/or the day of the week (e.g., Monday morning rush hour) to select advertisements for display that would appeal to an expected demographic and to display the advertisements for durations that are commensurate with the level of traffic congestion.” The patent application also mentions how it will gather required information from individuals: “Various types of data (e.g., cell tower data, mobile app location data, image data, etc.) can be used to identify specific individuals in an audience in position to view advertising content. Similarly, vehicle navigation/tracking data from vehicles equipped with such systems could be used to identify specific vehicles and/or vehicle owners. Demographic data (e.g., as obtained from a marketing or user database) for the audience can thus be determined for the purpose of, for example, determining whether and/or the degree to which the demographic profile of the audience corresponds to a target demographic.”

 

Source: Yahoo Patents Smart Billboard That Would Deliver Targeted Ads To Passersby or Motorists – Slashdot

Frederik quoted in article on ad blocking

Saying publishers’ anti-adblock tactics are illegal, a European privacy advocate plans his attack

Frederik Borgesius, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam’s IViR Institute for Information Law, said that “detecting whether a website visitor has an adblocker by storing a script on that visitor’s computer seems to require the visitor’s prior consent.” But he stopped short of saying whether Hanff had a slam dunk case.

Source: Saying publishers’ anti-adblock tactics are illegal, a European privacy advocate plans his attack » Nieman Journalism Lab

German publishers are pooling data to compete with Google and Facebook

German publishers have put aside traditional rivalry and gone all-in on a major data-pooling initiative.

Axel Springer, Gruner + Jahr, RTL owner Bertelsmann Group, and Der Speigel owner are among eight of the 10 biggest publishing groups in Germany to be pooling masses of reader data, from just under 1,000 websites including tabloid Bild, and other major titles.

The raw data goes into a single platform called Emetriq, a subsidiary owned by Deutsche Telekom, which sifts through and cleans it up, to create highly targeted, quality audience segments that publishers can use to boost their advertising packages.

Source: German publishers are pooling data to compete with Google and Facebook – Digiday

After Facebook and Twitter, Instagram will also personalize feed

You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most. To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most. The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order. If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it. We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.

Source: See the Moments You Care About First