In Update to Privacy Policy, Twitter Gives More Data to Advertisers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Twitter updated its privacy policy on Monday to reflect that more of your data will be shared with advertisers.

To help us understand if these ads are effective, we share device-level data, like IP address, with our advertising partners. We don’t share things like your name, email, phone number, or Twitter username.

To help mobile app advertisers understand if the ads they run on Twitter are effective, Twitter shares some device-level data, like which ads your device may have seen or clicked on, with them. We don’t share your name, email, phone number, or Twitter username.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t share details like your phone number if it gets leaked anyway.

Your Financial Transaction Data is the Holy Grail for Advertisers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Man holding a credit card

Over the past decade, our financial transaction data has become one of the most sought-after data sets. Credit card processors like American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are at the center of it.

All of this is happening under a veil of secrecy. Credit card companies may acknowledge that they make money from analyzing transactions, but they are vague about what data they actually share […] Even Apple, which prohibits Goldman Sachs from using its card data for marketing purposes, couldn’t get the same concessions out of Mastercard, its card network.

Here’s a link to the study mentioned in the article, where MIT researchers successfully de-anonymized financial data that these companies claim had privacy protections.

Apple Search Ads Now Available in Russia

· Andrew Orr · Product News

App Store logo

Apple announced today that Apple Search Ads are now available in Russia, with the ads going live on May 4.

Facebook Removes ‘Pseudoscience’ Category for Targeted Ads

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook is no longer allowing advertisers to use pseudoscience as a category with which to target people.

The company eliminated the pseudoscience category from its “detailed targeting” list on Wednesday, the spokeswoman said by phone, after tech news site The Markup showed that it could advertise a post targeting people interested in pseudoscience.

The Markup demonstrated that Facebook was allowing such ads after saying it would police COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. More than 78 million Facebook users were interested in “pseudoscience,” it said, citing Facebook’s ad portal.

Good to see Facebook doing this. Now we just need YouTube to stop recommending conspiracy videos.

Apple Uploads iPhone SE Commercial on YouTube

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Apple uploaded an iPhone SE commercial to its YouTube channel. Set to “Perusa” by NVDES, it’s an energetic video showing the main capabilities of the phone, like its camera with 4K recording, Portrait Lighting,  Touch ID, privacy, and more.

Black. White. Or red. In a small 4.7” design. With studio-quality portraits. Sharp 4K video. Long battery life. A13 Bionic — the fastest chip in a smartphone. And the security of Touch ID, with privacy built in. iPhone SE. Lots to love. And less to spend.

Twitter Took Away Your Ability to Stop Sharing Data With Advertisers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Twitter had a feature that users could enable that stopped the company from sharing certain data with advertisers. That feature is now gone.

An option in Twitter’s privacy settings called “Share your data with Twitter’s business partners” used to let you disable sharing of this information. That setting still exists, but Twitter now says it has removed your control over “mobile app advertising measurements.” Disabling the setting can still prevent sharing of other information, such as your interests. Other Twitter privacy settings, like disabling web tracking, are still available. Twitter will not share your name, email address, phone number, or username.

Should We Ban Targeted Advertising?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Gilad Edelman asks an important question at Wired: Why don’t we just ban targeted advertising?

The solution to our privacy problems, suggested Hansson, was actually quite simple. If companies couldn’t use our data to target ads, they would have no reason to gobble it up in the first place, and no opportunity to do mischief with it later. From that fact flowed a straightforward fix: “Ban the right of companies to use personal data for advertising targeting.”

Instead of, or in addition to, banning or restricting targeted advertising, I think we should go a step further and restrict data collection, which is what these companies use for these ads in the first place. When any startup without a track record can enter the business of collecting and selling our personal information, that’s a problem.

Google: “We Don’t Sell Your Data, We Just Monetize It”

· Andrew Orr · Link

Google logo

One way to avoid the California Consumer Privacy Act is to claim that you don’t sell data. This is what Google has seemingly done.

Google monetizes what it observes about people in two major ways: It uses data to build individual profiles with demographics and interests, then lets advertisers target groups of people based on those traits. It shares data with advertisers directly and asks them to bid on individual ads.

As I tweeted yesterday, there is no difference between selling “access” to data and selling data “directly.” In both scenarios, people are products for advertisers. Although I’m sure lawsuits have been won and lost on lesser technicalities.

Apple Shares Anime ‘Behind The Mac’ Video on YouTube

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Apple’s Japan channel on YouTube recently shared a “Behind The Mac” video in anime style artwork. It features music by Yoshiho Nakamura “I am the main character” as well as characters from various anime shows. Each character is shown in different situations and they all use MacBooks.

When You Download Facebook Data, it Doesn’t Show Everything

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook isn’t being completely truthful about the data available in its “Download Your Information” feature. Some information is left out.

Privacy International recently tested the feature to download all ‘Ads and Business’ related information (You can accessed it by Clicking on Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information). This is meant to tell users which advertisers have been targeting them with ads and under which circumstances. We found that information provided is less than accurate. To put it simply, this tool is not what Facebook claims. The list of advertisers is incomplete and changes over time.

As Privacy International points out, this is in violation of GDPR because Facebook doesn’t let you see all of the advertisers that have your data.

Apple Leverages iOS for Advertising You Can’t Block

· Andrew Orr · Link

Tumblr software engineer Steve Streza makes the case that iOS is adware for all of Apple’s services.

iOS 13 has an abundance of ads from Apple marketing Apple services, from the moment you set it up and all throughout the experience. These ads cannot be hidden through the iOS content blocker extension system. Some can be dismissed or hidden, but most cannot, and are purposefully designed into core apps like Music and the App Store. There’s a term to describe software that has lots of unremovable ads: adware, which what iOS has sadly become.

This particularly annoys me with Apple News, where roughly half the space is dedicated to showing me News+ content, even though I don’t subscribe. On iOS you can swipe to “See Less Often” but you can’t do this on iPad.

Location is One of The Big Factors in Advertising

· Andrew Orr · Link

Location symbol on a map.

Jennifer Jolly wrote an article wondering if Siri was spying on her because she began to see ads in Spanish after her husband began speaking Spanish at home, within “earshot” of her iPad. The answer is, of course, no. In her buried lede she tells us that she had just moved to a predominantly Spanish-speaking part of Oakland California. It seems reasonable to me that you would see Spanish ads in a Spanish area. Although I’m sure the device’s language is a factor. We did have news last year that contractors listened to some snippets of Siri recordings, but that was to improve the service and not sell ads. Meanwhile, if you turn on Limit Ad Tracking in Settings, your advertising identifier is zeroed. After that, location becomes one of the big factors in advertising.

And Apple says it engineers its devices to protect user privacy. When it comes to Siri, which is integrated in nearly every Apple device, the assistant is designed to activate only after the wake word (“Hey, Siri”) or a waking action is completed, Apple says.

New Apple Arcade Ad ‘A New World to Play In’

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Apple uploaded a new video ad for Apple Arcade on YouTube. Set to “Welcome to My World” by Dean Martin, it’s a fun video that highlights the universal nature of the gaming service: Play on any (Apple) device, at any time, in any place, and at your own pace. Here are the games shown in the video:

[0:05] Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, by Cornfox and Bros. [0:13] Skate City, by Snowman [0:20] Little Orpheus, by Sumo Digital [0:29] WHAT THE GOLF, by Fun Plus | Triband [0:35] LEGO Brawls, by LEGO | Red Games Co. [0:45] Shinsekai: Into the Depths, by Capcom [0:50] Ultimate Rivals™: The Rink, by Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc.

Facebook Deeply Committed to Keep Lying Political Ads

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook remains committed to keep lying political ads on its platform, saying that private companies shouldn’t make decisions about them.

Instead of banning such ads across the platform, Facebook has opted to introduce new tools for users to limit the way they interact with political ads. The company has expanded its Ad Library tool, an archive which shows all the political ads running on Facebook or Instagram, by adding information on approximately how many people ads reach.

Why would Facebook ban its source of income?

Safari Users are Less Valuable to Advertisers

· Andrew Orr · News

A report suggests that Safari users are less valuable to advertisers due to the browser’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology.

Apple’s Newest Holiday Video Will Make You Cry

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Apple’s newest holiday video is a real tearjerker. A family goes to grandpa’s house for the holidays, and during the trip the parents give the kids an iPad as a way to keep them occupied. When they get to grandpa’s house, it’s a somber atmosphere. We learn that grandma is no longer with them, but the two girls make something special with the iPad as a present. The song is Married Life by Michael Giacchino, from the Up movie.

Facebook is Fine With Political Lies But Bans Pro-Vaccination Ads

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook is happy to let politicians lie in advertisements on the platform, but it bans pro-vaccination ads that are rooted in science.

The study, published today in the journal Vaccine…found that a small group of “well-connected, powerful people” promoting broad anti-vaccination messages had successfully leveraged the platform’s targeted advertising service to reach select audiences…Meanwhile, those behind pro-vaccine messages well far less well funded and centralised, with their advertising often focusing on inoculating against specific conditions.