Facebook Alert Day

This is going to be quite the talking point for many Facebook users today…

“All users will receive a link at the top of their News Feed outlining which apps they use and what information each app uses, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said in a statement. Users whose data may have been improperly harvested by Cambridge Analytica can expect to receive an additional message like the one below:

“We have banned the website ‘This Is Your Digital Life,’ which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. We did this because the website may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica.”

Facebook to Begin Letting Users Know If Their Data Was Harvested By Cambridge Analytica – HuffPost

You should blog

Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.

We could say goodbye to the creepy targeted ads and the algorithms, to the Nazis and bots and propagandists, to the harassers and the people selling hate. We could stop being spied-on for profit…

Or we can make the moral choice of renewal, of planting new bulbs and helping this old tree, a little bigger now, flower again.

Our hearts may end up broken. Again.

So?

Source: inessential: weblog

RSS in 2018

There’s so much wrong with this post, but I’ll point out my biggest gripe here… RSS (like podcasting) doesn’t need the metrics of behavior tracking for it to be a success. It’s distributed. It’s not commercialized. It’s not tracked with clicks based on eCPM’s or eCPC’s or brand quality engagement views.

And that’s ok.

It serves a heck of an important purpose.

Let’s all start using RSS readers again, btw. The internet will be a much better space.

RSS’ true failings though are on the publisher side, with the most obvious issue being analytics. RSS doesn’t allow publishers to track user behavior. It’s nearly impossible to get a sense of how many RSS subscribers there are, due to the way that RSS readers cache feeds. No one knows how much time someone reads an article, or whether they opened an article at all. In this way, RSS shares a similar product design problem with podcasting, in that user behavior is essentially a black box.

Source: RSS is undead | TechCrunch

Twitter’s Developer Problem

While Facebook continues to stumble through its public relations crisis over how it has handled developer access to user data, Twitter has been having its own issues with its developer base … just in a self-inflicted manner.

Twitter’ developer problem goes back to its decision to pivot the service into an advertising mechanism back in 2010 as it faced questions about monetization and shareholder returns. It’s simply shocking to me that Twitter executives are still struggling with these same issues 8 years later.

What made Twitter exciting and compelling in 2007 and 2008 was the rapidly expanding developer base that became attracted to the platform because of its rather open API that encouraged a healthy ecosystem of apps that built off of the Twitter coral reef.

So, it’s disappointing to see this struggle continue:

It’s good news that Twitter is backing down, but there are still open questions about whether its new Account Activity API is robust enough for third party Twitter apps to provide the same streaming services they now offer. So far Twitter hasn’t allowed outside developers to participate in the beta testing of that API.

Source: Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps – The Verge

Don’t fall for lots of likes and retweets

Also good advice for churches and nonprofits doing social media marketing on a shoestring budget:

Bots manipulate credibility by influencing social signals like the number of aggregated likes or shares a post or user receives. People see a large number of retweets on a post and read it as a genuine signal of authentic traction in the marketplace of ideas. Do not fall for this. Trends are basically over—they’re too easy to manipulate. This goes for any information online that feeds off of public signals, including things like search autocomplete or content recommendation lists. Journalists can no longer rely on information sources reflecting some form of online “popularity.”

Source: The bots beat: How not to get punked by automation – Columbia Journalism Review

Facebook’s Growing PR Crisis

Facebook’s announcement Wednesday and others last week reflect a major shift in the company’s relationship with third-party apps. In the past, developers could get access to people’s relationship status, calendar events, private Facebook posts and much more data that was highly valuable to advertisers, including political campaigns. Now they will be required to go through a much stricter process.

Source: Facebook says most people on its vast social network may have had their public profile scraped by third parties – The Washington Post

Paying for everything you do

What about the users?

Advertising isn’t why Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook or, presumably, what gets him out of bed in the morning. Engineers and designers whose identities are invested in changing the world don’t want that work tarnished by association. But the decision to pay for everything Facebook does by selling advertising means–whether he likes it or not–Mark Zuckerberg is just as much the CEO of an advertising company as a social network. The sooner Facebook reconciles this for itself and its users, the less vulnerable it will be to stories like last week’s.

Source: Admit It, You Don’t Really Understand Facebook

Data Panic

I’ve been following Curran’s tweets and posts and press blitz the last couple of days, and I have to say that I’m not a fan of his scare tactics and frequent plugs for people to donate to his Patreon so that he can continue his “work”.

Yes, your data should be intensely personal and used wisely by yourself and companies you use to accomplish things in your day-to-day. However, this sort of shock posting intended to scare and react quickly to statements like “GOOGLE KNOWS YOUR WEIGHT!!” isn’t helpful.

This is absolutely nothing new, and yes… we’ve long known that Google can track your locations (if you opt-in and allow location services) and know your YouTube viewing history.

Let’s not tell Dylan to investigate what his internet service provider knows about him…

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look

Source: Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you | Dylan Curran | Opinion | The Guardian