Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 07, 2017

Facebook Blames Russia To Deflect From Fraudulent Ad-Sales

A typically political and business strategy to lessen public attention of an evolving scandal is to launch a diversion campaign. A well designed counter campaign makes sensational claims about an unrelated issue. It is intended to take the media attention away from the real issue. Any decent public relation department will have several "canned" campaigns ready to launch on a moment's notice.

Yesterday a new report proved (again) that Facebook cheats with its advertisement reach data. This explains why advertisements booked on Facebook have much less impact than Facebook claims and the paying customers assume.

Only hours later the company launched a diversion campaign. Its purpose is to keep the media off the real scandal. The diversion claim, presented without evidence, is that a "Russian operation" bought influencing advertisements on Facebook aimed at the U.S. public.

Here is the real scandal that Facebook tries to cover up. Facebook advertisement sales are based on systematically falsified data:

Pivotal Research Group senior analyst Brian Wieser pointed out a large discrepancy between U.S. census data and the potential reach that the social network promises advertisers.

On Tuesday, Wieser issued a note pointing out that Facebook's Adverts Manager tool promises a potential reach of 41 million 18-24 year-olds in the U.S., while recent census data said there only 31 million people living in the U.S. within that age range.

Similar false claims are made by Facebook for other countries and categories:

For advertisers trying to target Facebook users in the U.K., the company promises it could potentially reach 5.8 million 20-24 year-olds, 6.4 million 25-29 year-olds, and 5.2 million 30-34 year olds. When the last census was conducted in 2011, the U.K. only had 4.3 million 20-24 year-olds, 4.3 million 25-29 year-olds, and 4.1 million 30-34 year olds.

The Fortune write up of the Pivotal/Wieser report notes other known "discrepancies" in Facebook metrics:

Last year [Facebook] had to apologize for artificially inflating the average amount of time it claimed users spent watching videos on its platform
...
[I]n May, it again admitted to a miscategorization of clicks that led to some advertisers paying more than they should have. This was its tenth such mistake in a year.

Facebook makes enormous profits by claiming to know the users who use its "free services" and by selling this information in form of advertisement space. But most of the data sniffed off its users is useless junk and Facebook's claims of advertising precision, reach and impact are false.

The Facebook diversion is designed to take away media attention from its fraudulent ad-sales by attaching to partisan strive:

Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it had found that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on thousands of U.S. ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May.
...
Another $50,000 was spent on 2,200 “potentially politically related” ads, likely by Russians, Facebook said.

The usual "Russia hacked and influenced the election" idiots on the Democratic side of the aisles jumped onto this statement:

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the Facebook report “deeply disturbing and yet fully consistent with the unclassified assessment of the intelligence community.”

How $100,000 of unspecific advertisement would influence an election in which more than $1 billion was spend on political ads is unexplained. Moreover - there is zero evidence in the Facebook statement of any influence intent or effect or even a connection with something Russian:

[W]e have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.
...
In this latest review, we also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort. This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads.

Unspecific, "potentially politically related", un-targeted ads bought by some people in the U.S. with a language setting of "Russian". I wonder how many of these ads were sexual service offers from "Natasha".

Reuters notes:

Facebook declined to release the ads themselves, ...

There is nothing to the Facebook Russia allegations. But the release of this nonsense nicely drowns out the real scandal:

Facebook fraudulently sells advertisement by falsely claiming precision,  reach and impact for those ads that they do not have, nor ever can have.

Posted by b on September 7, 2017 at 06:14 AM | Permalink

Comments

Reporting from the Hermitage: Early on, I found Facebook and twitter to be a very disturbing, if not dangerous, trend; I bailed on all social media. This was more than a decade past.
I attribute the decline of Usian's mental health, primarily, to the social media; among a number of other issues.
I only comment on 3 or 4 sites, this being one of the few I find valuable.
All incoming should be suspect and worthy of a very critical eye...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 7, 2017 6:59:29 AM | 2

I have a small company in Sweden. Almost once a week a got offers to promote my company to reach 73000 people in my town och 9000 people!

Posted by: OldWolf | Sep 7, 2017 7:03:12 AM | 3

People who pay attention to news and ads posted on Facebook all but deserve to be deceived or defrauded. SOrry, guys, FB is a social media channel, it is for finding out what your friends are up to, what events are taking place nearby and for posting kid/pet/vacation/food pics.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 7, 2017 7:16:20 AM | 4

Honest to God, folks. Ever since I was, like, 15 years old I just assumed that the "ads" on TV were fake. I have never bought one single damn thing because of some stupid ad. Ever. And then the idiots tell me that the ads actually work because of some unconscious hoodoo voodoo. Oh yeah right!

All "three" of the "networks" were just CIA fronts, not supported by any stupid ads ever! They were all supported by CIA drug money from Mena, Arkansas. All the lies had to start somewhere.

Posted by: blues | Sep 7, 2017 7:29:50 AM | 5

OldWolf | Sep 7, 2017 7:03:12 AM | 3

That is hilarious; and furthers my admonitions...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 7, 2017 7:29:56 AM | 6

Does Facebook have ads? Since I only ever used Facebook for a free pass behind the WSJ's paywall, I never paid much attention to Facebook but now that WSJ has withdrawn free access from social media to its website, I'm out of there.

As for those "Russian Ads", "until we see the pictures, there's nothing" as some commentator on a Syrian war website one said. Although he seemed pro-terrorist, it was good advice. And given how Facebook have inflated their viewing figures, perhaps the people who bought those "Russian Ads" should launch a class action against Facebook. Once you add in the lawyer's feed, it could cost Facebook more than $100,000 to buy their way out.

BTW, has Bellingcat become irrelevant? Eliot Higgins posted an article on his site about chemical warfare in Syria and almost twenty four hours later there is only one comment (from me) and none of the usual fans are to be seen defending the usual junk in Mr Higgins' post. Perhaps MI6/whoever should withdraw their funding with such a small audience. So, GCHQ would you pass that suggestion along if you're watching. But then again given the predictability of the fans' comments perhaps someone switched the commentbot off by mistake.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 7, 2017 7:49:29 AM | 7

@7 The Facebook app has sponsored content between stories in the feed. Their site either doesn't, or they're filtered out by ad blockers.

As for the story: Over 125% of a population segment all use our product is funny. It's especially funny since many people in that age group don't use Facebook.

Posted by: Jesrad | Sep 7, 2017 8:58:55 AM | 8

You have to count all the fake users and those with multiple accounts, and those who lie about their age. How is Facebook supposed to know which ones are real? The Russia thing is kinda funny though. They are a very convenient distraction these days.

Posted by: just me | Sep 7, 2017 9:45:24 AM | 9

Additionally, The New York Times reported that none of the ads favored one candidate or another, meaning it does not fit into the so far phony narrative that Russia somehow influenced the election for Trump.

Posted by: Joe Lauria | Sep 7, 2017 9:47:53 AM | 10

I assume Facebook uses the same data used to fill the polling boxes.

As for: "A typically political and business strategy to lessen public attention of an evolving scandal is to launch a diversion campaign."
Good catch. After all, it's been what Trump has been doing most of the time for the last 6 months, and it has kind of worked for him so far.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 7, 2017 10:17:56 AM | 11

Internet ads and shopping in general has always been about big corporate sales and image. If you search for 'water heater' or 'washer', you get back global stuff, and then have to narrow it down to local. Except then, the local you get back is limited to reps of the global brand, and inventory and prices are nearly always wrong.

I had to buy two tires for our farm truck. I searched 'tires', then the size (315/75R16) and then went looking. I got back Firestone, Discount Tire, NTB, TireRack, etc. I checked their online prices and brands with the local reps by telephone. In every case the inventories were wrong and the prices wrong. Prices were often wrong by 20%, and inventories were nearly always zero when listed as 4-8 or more online.

I wound up driving to a local tire shop in a former 60's era gas station, where they used the lifts to change tires quickly. I got the exact tires I wanted delivered the next day. The price, without haggling, was $50 per tire lower than the national chains for the same tire brand. This INCLUDED mounting and balancing, so the actual price per tire difference was nearly 30% over the big chain brands.

I was in and out in under 30 minutes. For the big brand guys, you must "make an appointment", and if you make an appointment online, then it is often 'lost in the system'...?? Expect to drop your car off for the morning or afternoon, or else wait an hour or two.

The entire internet ad thing does nothing to support your local businesses - it is all Amazon and international mega-corps who are driving you to their brands by denying any online room to locals. They do this via daily SEO and funneling through social media. The ads are often fraudulent or outright fake (as in wrong, lies) and the inventory levels guarantee that we would call it "bait and switch" in the old days.

I don't use Facebook or such, so I don't know how they funnel people specifically, but preference for the big brands and chains is pretty obvious when you do serious shopping. Trying to find anything that IS NOT global or mega-corp brands is extremely difficult due to daily SEO operations.

There is a huge market space waiting out there for local internet search engines, but since everything is based on clicks, the greed would likely corrupt those quickly, or they would simply be bought and their owners 'cash-out', since that is the MBA business plan always.

So even if the numbers and clicks and all the rest were real and true, the inventories and pricing are not - making much of this a colossal waste of time and money. Using the internet to find exactly what you want to buy, then calling around locally on your phone will likely deliver you some pleasant surprises.

Posted by: Oilman2 | Sep 7, 2017 10:18:57 AM | 12

I read that headline, "Russia spends $100,000...," and didn't read the article because my mind immediately calculated the impact of $100,000 on $2 billion. I should have read the article, because I was off on the triviality. The $100,000 was spent over a two year period, for God's sake, and the first year certainly had no impact whatever. Not to mention that it was only "possibly connected to Russia" as usual. God, the Democrats are such suckers.

Posted by: Bill H | Sep 7, 2017 10:36:04 AM | 13

I have to say that I'm amused by the comments regarding the effectiveness of advertising (amused in a nice way). Something tells me the demographic that not only reads b's articles but regularly posts in the comments section, they aren't in any targeted demographic! LOL

Unless perhaps some of you are interested in a 'sock slider'? Look up the ad, google 'sock slider as seen on tv', these are the people targeted by advertising...

Posted by: WG | Sep 7, 2017 10:45:57 AM | 14

"Unthinkable" to thinking set that places greater value on social acceptance than reason is the fact that "ads" were the mechanism to funnel money to intelligence fronts of Google and Facebook.

There are 2 perennial reasons that are always trotted out to explain the inexplicable narrative of the past 2 decades:

1 - The Incompetence Theory: this track is usually trotted out to account for inexplicable failings of the "people's" govermental structures and institutions. (Review 9/11)

2 - Advertising: this track is used to explain the social engineering by old and new media.

Why is Google reading your mail? "Because advertising".

Why is TV pushing absolute garbage to our children? "Because advertising".

--

I suggest that a post evil Human civilization will deem any nation that maintains "intelligence services" to be anti-social, uncivilized, and subject to shunning by the civilized Human world.

Posted by: nobody | Sep 7, 2017 10:51:43 AM | 15

More on the propaganda front. Bell Pottinger of Iraq psyop notoriety is in the news for running a psyop in South Africa on behalf of corporate clients.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/us-government-pentagon-fake-al-qaeda-propganda-videos-a7348371.html

Posted by: Les | Sep 7, 2017 10:56:16 AM | 16

To amplify, consider the tremendous advantage in terms of knowledge, comprehension, material and mental methodology, and of course technology that the European colonists had over say Africans.

Your children, heck even most of you in your young adulthood, have been dumbed down for a very specific reason. It makes you more susceptible to domestication.

It is a simple matter of balance of power.

Posted by: nobody | Sep 7, 2017 10:58:01 AM | 17

fb is horrible... not surprised they are out and out liars too..

@2 v arnold.. i agree.

@16 les... debsisdead was discussing that on a previous thread..

Posted by: james | Sep 7, 2017 11:14:15 AM | 18

Ralphie @ 4: I agree, anyone who uses facebook for relevant info deserves to be deceived.

It's a gossip site IMO, and nothing more..

Posted by: ben | Sep 7, 2017 11:24:01 AM | 19

It's not just the ad fraud being diverted; it's Facebook's censorship too. Nor can you get it to cease dunning you with enrollment come-ons, so I added it to my spam filter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 7, 2017 11:48:21 AM | 20

I've managed social media campaigns for clients on Facebook and run some test advertising to suss out their system. Aside from Facebook's built-in censorship where they won't send posts to your followers (people who have opted-in to receive your messages) unless you pay for ads, a huge portion of the users are fakes. You can get around this somewhat by targeting US users, of whom a smaller percentage are fake than those that claim to originate from foreign countries, but the whole thing smacks of chicanery. If Facebook was interested in providing good value to advertisers, they could easily eliminate the fake accounts, but they like them because they inflate their numbers. Thus advertisers pay to reach fake accounts.

The overt censorship of Facebook on certain news sites on top of their covert censorship that prevents you from reaching your interested customers unless you pay for the privilege makes it a very troubling business environment, let alone a place to frequent for one's social enjoyment.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Sep 7, 2017 11:52:13 AM | 21

If my limited experience with online ads means anything (I ad block everything, and never do social media these days) it was an overwhelming barrage of ads for something I had already purchased/made a decision upon. I rather suspect if any political ads effected anything it was - preaching to choirs who had made their decision on which way to vote.

As the old saying goes - If you aren't paying them, you are the product. I doubt the chicken knows it's on ice at my local butcher.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Sep 7, 2017 11:56:35 AM | 22

This matter is lesser bullshit so to speak. What do you think about the latest Israeli actions targeting Masjaf using the UN fake news from yesterday B?

Posted by: Pnyx | Sep 7, 2017 11:57:00 AM | 23

ben @19:

FB is a fine source for information about social and family events, or cultural events in the vicinity of note, or for pics and videos of cute kids and silly pets, but the fact that people rely on it to form opinions about politics and world events really shows that they are too lazy to take the time to inform themselves from reliable sources.

I have given up even bothering to refute claims that the Barrier Reef is dead (20% damaged but still alive), that Irma is a Category 6 storm (there is no such thing) or that Obama had the White House illuminated in purple to honor Prince's death (the White House does not commemorate the passing of individuals with illumination)...I just unfriend or block the people who post such crap.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 7, 2017 12:45:56 PM | 24

FB was good for one thing until the game got boring.

MOUSEHUNT!

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Sep 7, 2017 12:46:53 PM | 25

If anyone wants to block ads on their home network for mobile devices. You can pick up a raspberry Pi and install PiHole. It lets you run a local DNS server on it that will remove almost everything (YouTube ads currently not blocked) but for webpages and most apps it blocks everything unless you whitelist it.

Posted by: WG | Sep 7, 2017 2:15:55 PM | 26

@7 ghostship

OT I know (warning as to graphic language on former thread), but having suffered a rather slanderous attack by ghostship on a previous thread I feel a certain need to respond... If only to answer the one question he asked after his rant. Usually it pays to ask/listen first.

So I quote his one question "Also, a few days ago, that fuckwit Netanyahu was blathering on about how Israel's actions were so important to defeating ISIS, so perhaps you, Les7, would care to explain how attacking Syria like this advances Trump's only obvious objective of destroying ISIS one iota?"

My post cited the attack on Tartous one hour south of the Russian main air base on the Syrian coast and asked the question as to how the Russians (addition - who have a united air command with Syria) could let that happen. The Russians already demonstrated they can down US cruise missiles. How did this one get in flying literally right over the top of the main Soviet-era naval base? This is like the Russians when they buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea couple years back. Israel is obviously making a point with Russians.

Now I did not recommend retaliation as Ghostship rants about. And shooting down one cruise missile would not initiate a war, any more than 39 downed US missile was a cause for war. I asked a legitimate question about the vaunted Russian (S400) control of the airspace west of the Euphrates. Some of my own unvoiced thoughts went to advances in electronic warfare in the last 1-2 years, but I thought some of the others on this thread could add intelligent and reasoned thoughts, so I kept my thoughts to myself. Instead what I got was ghostship on one of his not so good days

So before jumping in with your mouth, try asking a few questions
because I am not a Neocon
because I am not pro-zionist
because I detest all war
because I do not cheer for Trump (or any other politiciam)

because I am not American

Posted by: les7 | Sep 7, 2017 3:06:59 PM | 27

Jesus, does this ever stop? Another spin blaming Russia and like always (ALWAYS!) NO evidence is presented, the hatred against russian people are disgraceful.
Did Facebook look into more nations concering ads or just Russia? And ads are dangerous now? Jesus, these people,..they are full of hate now. Talk about psyops campaign!

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 7, 2017 3:37:12 PM | 28

PUTIN ATE MY HOMEWORK!

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 7, 2017 4:31:08 PM | 29

Cui bono: What's the plausible alternative?
For those who are familiar with the facebook / ad revenue model, given what facebook revealed, 'fake accounts with Russian language setting, posting news stories' and 'Russian company buying ads' presumably posted on these links or facebook page itself, is there a logical, non-conspiratorial explanation?

If this was just a ploy for someone to make money, and let's say they were Russian, Russians like to make money, how would someone use fake accounts in this context. Can someone walk me through a scenario?

I would assume that these 'fake accounts' would still have to friend someone in order to be effective. So they post stories that they hope their fake friends will read and click on ad links? Okay, but how does the Russian company that paid Facebook benefit. Are they hosting the website that is featuring stories being posted by these fake accounts?

Sorry for all of the questions, just trying to understand the scam ...

I mAke $120 Hr WRking for gOOgle U CAN 2 !!@

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 7, 2017 4:50:08 PM | 30

@30 Cui Bono

When I see some kind of flap like this I start looking elsewhere to see what is not being reported. I agree with b regarding FB using this as a distraction. But for a company like FB... this is minuscule. So who got the cyber-army to joint the bandwagon?

IMO I would look to the US to start off-the-record (via Israel) offensive weapon shipments to Ukraine(mainly because Putin refused Israeli pleading to dump Iran). In the last round of conflict the fighters within Donbass were rumoured on multiple occasions to have used Russian EW (electronic warfare) to halt attacks that threatened significant breakthroughs. In part this EW, together with a greater sense of purpose & training, enabled the Donbass fighters to prevail despite being out-manned and out-gunned.

If Israel just flew a cruise missile through the fog of Russian EW... this opens up possibilities in Donbass for Western elites - a way to get back at Russia.

A Nato missile "sheild" installation in the Donbass would only be about a 3-4 minute missile flight from most of Russia's western military infrastructure. We have no idea how long the Israeli cruise missile flight was. I would guess between 5-7 minutes, with the target critical path only that magical 3-4 minutes.

Posted by: les7 | Sep 7, 2017 6:22:57 PM | 31

blues @5

Fifteen, you had it already figured out by then?? Amazing, you were one smart youngster. And then you figured it out that it all came from Mena, Arkansas.

You were wondering about how much stupidity this board can stand? Looks like you have taken to the next level and decided to test it yourself. Bravo.

Posted by: peter | Sep 7, 2017 6:42:59 PM | 32

Hats off to MOA> this is why I keep coming back to see you, you are a sharpie fersure.

Both FB and google ads and adwords etc. are a huge scam. I knew this for as early as 2009. At that time I ran some ads on fb and all of the sudden there was huge activity on my fb page. This went on for a few months. Then I paused the campaign. Overnight, all my fb "friends" and "followers" died. No more comments, no more likes. Years later it was revealed that fb and the rest of them have thousands of trolls in the phillipines, India, Bang, etc. who pass their days liking this and following that. Now of course, they have bots do do it.

As for goog adwords, its also a scam. If youre not on the first page, forget it. The whole "millions of impressions" and "clicks" bullshit always struck me as an advertising space seller's con because unlike an ad in a paper rag like the NYT, the client can never be sure he gets what he is really paying for...


Now, fb, goog and youtube are censoring or demonitizing truthstream media, wearechange, etc.

Folks need to head over to dtube, a peer to peer analog to youtube that is alt media friendly and is connected to steemit.

and check out www.hpub.org every hour for breaking news.

Posted by: Daniel Bruno | Sep 7, 2017 7:50:29 PM | 33

By the way, fb (which owns instagram, whatsapp and more) and goog (ownsyoutube and more) and linkedin (fb for professional and ambitious people) all have owners and founders that have something in common. I'll let you guess what that something might be.

Posted by: Daniel Bruno | Sep 7, 2017 7:57:10 PM | 34

This is the problem with monopoly or at least oligopoly. Some friends of mine in advertising talk about it as common knowledge, both google and facebook manipulating statistics, but if you want to sell products online, not advertising on google is a great way to lose 70% of your business. There's nowhere else to dock that boat.

Posted by: Pespi | Sep 7, 2017 9:19:51 PM | 35

I predicted this months ago Disqus Working With Google's Jigsaw On 'Toxic' Comment Filter

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 7, 2017 11:34:57 PM | 36

OT - OT ...but

Please note what is happening in the current attempted evac in Florida. This is the same scenario we had in Houston for earlier hurricanes. Evac only works if there is pre-positioned gas, food and restroom facilities along the route, and I mean 4-5 times as much as normal. Think of it as a horde of locusts, because that is what it looks like afterward.

I hope those trying to evac get out. It's a shame that the National Guard or other federal and state agencies cannot spare the gas to assist with the evac - I never understood why they couldn't with the reserves they carry. People stranded on the highway are not in a good position to weather this storm.

No American metropolis is ready for evac - none.

Posted by: Oilman2 | Sep 7, 2017 11:51:27 PM | 37

OT, but relevant to the battle against forces of evil.
Those who appreciate and take a bow to Craig Murray for his courageous stance against the powers may want to take a look at his piece titles Save Craig Murray. He is fighting off a massive libel action brought against him by a yellow press Daily Mail editor and one of the UK's top libel lawyers, who is self-professedly on a mission to root out "anti-Semitism" [sic] from the British left. Both the plaintiff and the lawyer are of a certain bent.

For those interested in the "libel", it is apparently here (difficult to spot, though):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzC6QSylETc
If anything, it looks like CM is the one being libelled. To my mind, this has entrapment written all over it.


Posted by: Petra | Sep 8, 2017 8:26:54 AM | 38

Facebook is headed for a lot of legal - and business - trouble with fake accounts.

How to create a fake facebook profile

Pedophile created 40 fake facebook accounts

fake facebook profiles and blackmail

Police use fake facebook accounts to spy on people

And of course, fake facebook accounts are used to spread fake news - you don't have to pay for doing this.

Same applies to twitter.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8, 2017 10:29:39 AM | 39

Just to circle back, the numbers that facebook is reporting are so small, that if someone looked at the details, I bet it would end up being nothing more than a run of the mill money making scheme for a single person.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 8, 2017 10:33:58 AM | 40

Looking forward to the day the revolutionaries knock over Zuckerberg's statue in downtown Silicon Valley.

otoh, I have seen communities of interest form on Facebook related to animal cruelty and pharmaceutical industry corruption, a good place to catch up on gossip. Unfortunately, not much of a target audience for advertisers, for obvious reasons.

Using census data against reach figures is a novel idea for crowd-sourced intel. Take voter fraud, http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/mark-obenshain-column-more-voters-than-residents-mcauliffe-doesn-t/article_09476dc7-21ca-5626-ba04-385ccd349976.html

Posted by: Stumpy | Sep 9, 2017 2:02:56 AM | 41

I have always wondered about the effectiveness of ‘internet’ ads. I suspect it is incredibly low, and that the payments to the likes of FB (google etc.) for ‘ads’ represent payments for belonging to a top dog, controlling club, e.g. such as giving money to the Clinton foundation. So, it is about information control rather than selling Hello-Kitty Backpacks.

Natch, one has to distinguish between several different kinds of ‘ads’ or better ‘prominent showing of information’ such as the ‘ad’ links one gets at the top of a google page when searching for practically anything at all. This kind of ‘ad’ is the reason why Goog became so \geographically/ localised, and that it forced users to choose localisation/language etc. Because ads for typical services - movers, real estate agents, cleaners, private schools, veggies, state elections, even global commercial outlets, etc. - have to be local. For material objects, from yachts to yaks, yurts, video cams down to diamond rings, the ‘local’ characteristics or elements do persist, it gets complicated. Language has to be adjusted to the ordinary human.

Gloming the wider vista, one must expect that the likes of Amazon (a middle-man retail-seller who becomes indispensable, and has rapidly branched out into symbolic content as a ‘publisher’, from the ‘content as a product’ end) will marry, or secretly join up, with the likes of Goog, who controls information, be it the encyclopedic or news / events kind globally in the W, and FB, aka ‘social networks.’ (Russia China others left out.)

The perfecto alliance for the ultimate dystopia, as information and therefore thought, analysis + the material world production, consumption, financial matters + distance interaction between ppl (social media) are controlled. Look at all the censorship and control going on now, by private cos…youtube, yahoo, FB, etc.

Fanciful? Maybe! but a vision one might keep in mind. I can see Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and the head of Goog, Pinchai, joining forces, as they are not in competition, and actually eventually displacing or controlling some Gvmts.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 9, 2017 10:48:21 AM | 42

Zuck even got Congress to propose sanctions on Russia's 'illegal' ad buys. Pay-for-Play, alive and well in the Trump regime, that early-on inked a $4B hotel:casino deal with China's Xi, from inside the WH, now using 'China Sanctions' (and DPRK) psyop as cover. It's the Time of Great Shaytan, the Liar. A glacially-increasing mega-snowball of lies. Just look at Modi. Poor Hindu buggers!

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 9, 2017 12:29:22 PM | 43

Facebook is like the most ridiculous Borg thing ever.

And yet so many use it trustingly.

That's the thing.

That's the thing that's hard to get over.

That, like private control of banking,

This monstrosity is the greatest Stasi ever.

But, yes.

A much more seductive Stasi.

Techniques have improved.

Comparing notes, no doubt.

Posted by: Timmy | Sep 9, 2017 10:52:59 PM | 44

One more thing - WTF with all that crazy push to store everything "in the cloud" ?!

Obviously it turns out that the less your private data is in "the cloud", that is on some outside servers, the better for you. Breaches to those servers are becoming commonality:

The Equifax Hack Is The Most Disastrous Data Breach In History Because Now Hackers Have The Credit Information Of 143 Million Americans

There are absolutely NO GUARANTEES that your data stored outside your home can be protected from hacking, or stealing.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 17, 2017 10:37:04 PM | 45

Are Facebook and Google the New Colonial Powers?


As you've no doubt noticed, the dominance of Facebook and Google in online advertising is now "in the news" for a variety of reasons: the possibility that agents of other governments influenced U.S. elections with media buys on Facebook; anti-trust concerns; the potential for these advert-tech giants to effectively silence legitimate online voices under the guise of limiting "fake news", and of course, the ongoing issues of click fraud and the underperformance of digital ads.

The phrase that captures this broad narrative is: When an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product.

In other words, if you're not paying for the service or content, then your information (harvested by Google, Facebook, et al.), your time online (i.e. your attention, a.k.a. eyeballs) and the content you create and post for free (videos of your cute cat, etc.) are the products being sold to advertisers at a premium.

The characterization of the two dominant digital-advert giants as new colonial powers is interesting on a number of fronts. To get a handle on a few of the issues, I recommend reading these two essays:

A Serf on Google’s Farm

Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here?

And watching this video on the archiving of digital information on individuals--including meta-data, that is, data about your behaviors, transactions, posts, etc. that have been scrubbed of your identity markers (name, account numbers, etc.)

Haunted by Data - Maciej Ceglowski (via GFB)

The key dynamics of colonialism for the residents are 1) a lack of choice and 2) a lack of power: the colonial power imposes a regime, either formally or informally, that limits the choices enjoyed by residents and limits their power to bypass or replace the colonial regime.

In the classic Plantation Economy of overt colonialism--a topic I've discussed numerous times here--residents are stripped of any options other than working on the plantation and buying their goods at the plantation store. This coercion need not be direct; the colonial regime can strip residents of choice and power by making it impossible to live without cash, for example, and then providing one source of paid work: the plantation.

Once cash is necessary to live, then credit is introduced--but only if you buy at the company store.

I've also written extensively about the Neo-Colonial Model in which corporations and banks bring the colonial model of exploitation to the home country, stripmining the domestic populace via dependence on credit.

Welcome to Neocolonialism, Exploited Peasants! (October 21, 2016)

Greece and the Endgame of the Neocolonial Model of Exploitation (February 19, 2015)

The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012)

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 17, 2017 10:45:27 PM | 46

Another important piece of the scheme Is Google Coming For Your Cryptos ?


I don’t trust either Apple or Google at all. The news from Coindesk about Apple and Google developing a payment API on the heels of multiple avenues of officialdom cracking down on cryptocurrencies is enough to give you whiplash.

[...]

Announced on Thursday, the API is currently being implemented in browsers including Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Apple’s Webkit, Mozilla’s Firefox, the Samsung Internet Browser and Facebook’s in-app browser. When activated, the Payment Request API will allow new payment types, including bitcoin, ether any any other available cryptocurrency (as well as more traditional online payment methods) to be stored directly in the browser.

The last thing anyone should want is for their cryptos to be held in their browser knowing that all code developed in the U.S. is subject to government intelligence oversight.
Trust Big Google

This is absolutely a Trojan Horse designed to look like it legitimizes cryptos like Bitcoin but immediately puts them at risk of seizure by anyone with malicious intent.

First, it’s not like any code developed by these people is exploit-proof. Let’s get serious, security on Android, iOS and Windows is a joke. Google took Linux and made it worse than Windows. It’s actually an astounding feat of bad engineering.

Microsoft, Apple and Google are all very tight with the U.S. government.

It’s part of the reason why Russia continues to crack-down on use of their software. Putin knows it’s all spyware.

Second, if your cryptos are stored in your browser then they can be stolen from you. Forget petty thieves. I’m thinking much bigger than that. Do you really think any of these companies would not comply with an IRS decree to seize your assets directly off of your computer?

If you do, then I have a nice piece of water-spanning real estate to sell you connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Moreover, let’s see how this “standard” develops.

Will it support third-party hardware wallets like a Trezor or Ledger?

Will it accept any crypto in payment, including the anonymous ones like Monero and Dash?

If the answers to these questions in no, then that’s your sign that this API isn’t simply another backdoor way to maintain control over everything.
Cause I’m the Tax Man

This announcement makes me believe that the recent bill introduced by House Reps Jared Polis (D-CO) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) will likely sail through Congress. The bill would exempt cryptocurrency transactions under $600 from capital gains taxes.


Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 18, 2017 7:01:30 PM | 47

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