The important thing about Facebook

It doesn’t actually sell data:

“If the goal of Cambridge Analtyica was to show personalized advertisements on Facebook, then what they did was stupid,” Kogan said, arguing that it is much more effective for any advertiser to use Facebook’s own advertising targeting tools.

They allow you to explore data so as to direct advertising programs. Entirely not the same thing at all.

No, really, there’s a difference between “Here’s some data for $” and “Here’s the tools which enable you to target ads, that’ll be $ for the ads please”

11 thoughts on “The important thing about Facebook”

  1. Off topic, but there’s an amusing quote used alongside the Graun’s begging bowl at the bottom of that article.

    “I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.
    Thomasine, Sweden ”

    Pretty well rejects the business model of the entire newspaper industry for a start, doesn’t it? And given that information is information, whatever the nature of the information, it’s hard to see how the papers could justify charging the advertisers for running the ads. Being information advertisers wish to impart to potential customers.

  2. Tim

    Coming to the end of the sale period on TRUK

    A classic post on Clean Energy where the comments suggest his blog (or at least the comment section of it) is being run by someone else with a line in humour:

    ‘Natasha says:
    June 19 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Reminder: not all nuclear is born equal. Why does the renewable lobby ‘always’ seems to lump the legacy WW2 plutonium extracting fetish of existing dirty gen 3 slow neutron water cooled uranium nuclear into the same pigeon hole as gen 4 fast neutron?

    Richard Murphy says:
    June 19 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Because it’s all enough to send us to oblivion
    Natasha says:
    June 19 2018 at 7:53 pm

    The whole point of gen 4 (which was, perverse as it seems, the original tech back in the 1940s) is that you can’t make bombs and the reaction cycles are designed to be self limiting !
    Richard Murphy says:
    June 19 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I’m not worried about bombs

    I am worried by half lives’

    A post on government debt which repeats old fallacies:

    ‘In principle a government with its own central bank does not need to issue gilts to cover its deficit: it can simply run an overdraft instead, and pay no interest. In practice there are good reasons why debt is issued.

    First, people need safe places to save.

    Second, those with pensions need locked in and guaranteed income streams.

    Third, the banking sector has, post 2008, needed government bonds as a mechanism to secure overnight deposits.

    For these reasons I am not opposed to bond issues at low or effectively no net interest cost. And that is possible right now.

    As the FT has noted today, 10 year government bonds have not paid more than 1.5% in the last few years. And the demand for 50 year bonds is so strong that they are paying lower interest rates than 30 year gilts.’

    And he has accepted there will be no place in the Lords under Corbin and Jimmy Mac

    ‘First of all, why is Labour maintaining an independent central bank? This feature, which is an absolute mark of right-wing neoliberal thinking, and which is a legacy of the Gordon Brown / Ed Balls era from which I would have thought John McDonnell was keen to disassociate himself, has three incredibly unfortunate consequences in that it removes economic policy from democratic control, puts bankers in charge, and makes monetary policy the focus of attention when fiscal policy has to be the future direction of all economic policy. The time for economic policy to come back solely under the control of elected politicians within the Treasury has arrived: it is deeply disappointing to see that Labour has not embraced this idea.’

    ‘First, it very obviously encourages the substitution of capital for labour. In other words, the target necessarily encourages increasing unemployment, particularly among those with low skills, where we have a major social problem already.

    Second, since the measure is eventually made in financial terms, there is also an obvious incentive to deliver low wage increases, which is (I would have thought) the last thing that Labour wants to encourage.

    Third, this goal does not take into consideration the distribution of the benefit of the increased productivity. We have seen decades of overall rising productivity in our economies, but with the vast majority of that gain going to capital. The result has been increasing inequality, rising corporate profits, and increasing relative poverty and there is nothing whatsoever in this new target that reverses that situation.’

    I think there’s some mileage in the third post in particular – will check and see if more pearls of wisdom are forthcoming later on….

  3. This is indirection. Cambridge Analtyica’s crime was working for Trump. Democrats, including the Hilldebeast, have been doing the same thing Cambridge Analtyica did.

  4. ““If the goal of Cambridge Analtyica was to show personalized advertisements on Facebook, then what they did was stupid,” Kogan said, arguing that it is much more effective for any advertiser to use Facebook’s own advertising targeting tools.”

    What they did was to do a deal with an academic who had offered a “test your personality” app to Facebook users, on which the terms and conditions promised ‘academic use only’, and which also grabbed data on each user’s network of friends and correspondants. They then used this academic’s data for providing personality-tailored Trump-supporting political ads. Facebook were not directly involved with providing data to Cambridge Analytica.

    You can’t use Facebook’s tools to do that, because the data collected violated the terms and conditions, it wasn’t actually Facebook collecting the personality data, but a third-party running an app on their platform, so they didn’t actually have it themselves, and Facebook has rules against targeting based on private data. It’s a breach of data protection law.

    Supporters of Cambridge Analytica basically indicated (this being paraphrased, according to rumour, gossip, and unattributed hearsay) “Yes, of course it’s dodgy, but everyone is doing it. The fact it was even possible, that the apps doing this are out there, and the fact that Facebook themselves would never have detected it themselves tells you that. We just got targeted for enforcement because of our politics.” It turns out that a bunch of their employees were strong liberals and objected to their Trump-supporting client list, so they quit the company and then shopped their employers to Facebook, telling them what they were doing. After Facebook told them ‘delete the data and we’ll say no more’, and they said they had, they got shopped again and Facebook were told they still had the data. They’d just put it in a hidden/password-protected part of their system. That’s when it hit the fan.

    I think it’s clear they were doing things they shouldn’t and couldn’t do with Facebook’s own tools and rules, that were a lot more sophisticated than the legal methods. The only interesting question left is whether they were right about lots of other people doing it too, only not getting dobbed in to the authorities because they’re all working for Hillary. I don’t know – I’ve seen no non-circumstantial evidence.

    But the distinction is far more than just selling data versus selling targeted adverts.

  5. The impending CO2 shortage is what I’d like to see an analysis of. Maybe we could put in requests – e.g. I’ll donate £2 to Contins if Tim analyses a suspiciously alarmist shortage of molecules story of my choosing

  6. Obama did exactly the same thing in 2008 (his campaign was hoovering up so much data on FB users it was setting alarm bells ringing across the entire FB system, which of course the management ignored entirely), and everyone (ie all the Obama supporting media) said how wonderful it was to see a politician interacting with the people directly using social media.

    Trump does something similar and its the very devil’s work……..

  7. @Jim

    Futthermore, Obama did it again in 2014 and Facebook and Zuck publicly boasted about how they were helping him.

    SNP in 2010 used a database of every Scottish voter complied from various sources including allegedly Scottish Gov’t.

  8. Pcar, and Obama set up the Mexican screening program that has all the anti Trumpers hyperventilating. Go figure

  9. NiV,

    I still think the upset is all because Trump won (and I just slightly preferred Hilary for the record).

    Personally, I really don’t care about privacy unless it’s someone with a real duty of care like my bank, email company, doctor. I’m not going to tell a pollster if I’m into furrydom.i might tell them I like dark over milk chocolate. Something I really don’t care if it’s in the public domain.

  10. @Diogenes, June 21, 2018 at 12:37 am


    Obama officials rushed to explain photos from 2014 that went viral showing locked-up immigrant children

    MSM busted again:

    “…In this June 18, 2014 photo, two female detainees sleep in a holding cell, as the children are separated by age group and gender, at a US Customs and Border Protection center in Nogales, Arizona.

    Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children were being processed and held at the CBP Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014.

    Young boys sleep in a holding cell at the Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014….”

    Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama´s term showing children from the Border in steel cages

    Obama did it, that’s OK

    Trump continues Obama policy, Trump’s evil.

    Even though they’ve been called out, MSM continue with the anti-Trump rhetoric.

  11. Build the Border Wall and To Stop Separation of Children from Illegal Alien Parents

    “For all the manufactured hysteria about separated children why no outrage from Democrats about parents sending their children to cross the border illegally?

    Consider this from Newsweek:
    NEWSWEEK:In fiscal year 2013, under the Barack Obama administration, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) had as many as 25,000 unaccompanied children in its care across 80 shelters

    If Democrats really cared about children they would put a stop to the illegal immigration that is separating families…”

    Another anti-Trump fake news

    Gutfeld on the media’s take on border separations

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