back to article Yes. Facebook will KNOW you've been browsing for smut

Facebook is pushing the idea that it is offering tighter ad controls to its users just as it prepares to start targeting the web and app browsing habits of netizens in the US. Judging by Facebook's campaign, its users are super-pumped about ads on the Mark Zuckerberg-run network, but would be even happier if all that …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does the picture look like a tapeworm in a colon?

    Because the place is full of shit

  2. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    " data tucked away in users' browsing history because 'many companies [read: rivals] already do this'. "

    Quite a lot of people burgle houses and nick cars, doesn't mean everyone should start doing it!

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Are we nearing peak Facebook?

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      "Are we nearing peak Facebook?"

      The guy in the video seems to be under the delusion that folks like adverts.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Everyone likes the Irn Bru adverts, but that's it.

      2. Cliff

        'Jake' looks like he works at Facebook, so he's high on the cool-aid.

        1. Truth4u

          Whatever he's high on it doesn't look fun. He seems to be having trouble showing naturalistic emotion.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      We are nearing peak advertising

      The immunity to advertisement disease has infected most of the internet and is spreadig to the TV and other legacy media.

      This is actually a development for the worse as it will mean more infomercials (including fraudulently disguised as real news ones), more placement, more endorsments and other sh*t. While we are becoming well trained to dealing with personalized ads (and ignoring them) the logical step further (personalized fraudulent product placing pseudonews) is likely to take quite a few by surprise.

      It is only a matter of time until browsing history, shopping history and internet surfing habits are combined to adjust your "news" to ones that are commercially viable. It is solely a matter who will do it first: MS NBC, Amazon Washington Post or whoever Google (as usually late to the party) will acquire next.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Giving me adverts for the most commonly used websites (like google does) is pointless. I already know about them and have probably bought their products already if I wanted them.

    1. Steven Raith

      Apparently some people are clicking them. But no-one I know.

      I've been asking pretty much everyone I work with (many SOHO/SMB and private customers young and old) if they have ever knowingly clicked on an internet advertisement.

      All have responded in the negative - and I'm pretty sure a larger survey base would come to the same conclusion.

      Wouldn't it be fun if someone did do that, comprehensively proved that no-one followed through on ads in any meaningful way, and the ad-supported revenue model comprehensively collapsed?

      Be interesting to see how much people would be prepared to pay for Facebook, et al, if the ad revenue disappeared.

      Ah, in my little dream world....*daydreams of a world without Twitter*

      Steven R

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "and the ad-supported revenue model comprehensively collapsed?"

        I don't see that would be a good thing. I can quite easily ignore ads I'm not interested in or even sites that have very annoying ads. However if I had to pay a subscription fee for every site that didn't have a product to sell then it would not be a better experience for me.

        1. Steven Raith

          "However if I had to pay a subscription fee for every site that didn't have a product to sell then it would not be a better experience for me."

          Some people just want to watch the world burn.

          *gets matches*

          ;-)

          1. Cliff

            Car stereo fascia

            For me, it's marquees. In their world, you can never have enough marquees, I guess. My friend is stalked by running machines, because another running machine is just what you need when you've bought a running machine.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Actually...

        I have on several dozen occasions. All of them via ads on Google pages (search, gmail, &c.). Then again I have my accounts highly segregated so the profile they are using (I check regularly) is relevant, therefore the ads are what I'm interested in. My other accounts (MS, Yahoo!), not even and their ads get the kill switch aside from being too "loud." Facebook is by far the worst offender, so far off to not even being in the same universe.

        I understand the privacy/utility trade-offs and if you're not rude, I'll even cooperate to help you make expenses, even a huge profit. The same is true business for any business [Reg, Ars], even the government. You just have to openly engage my cooperation. Sadly, the rape model of business and government seems to be the first choice selected. FB obviously has been paying attention to MBA's/Marketers again. Good-bye Facebook: It wasn't nice meeting you.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        people do click on ads

        these are the people who are paid to click on ads. Given the sweatshop payment they get, I heard, they neatly cover that 0.00000002% of clicks that are sufficient for the ads to "work" :D

        1. oolor

          Re: people do click on ads

          The point of advertising is usually less getting a sale right away and more preventing ones competitors from having a message reach consumers. That a company can advertise is more a subconscious trigger about them being around for the long run. Ad clicking is not required for the ads to 'work'.

    2. PerlyKing Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Pointless adverts

      Almost as pointless as Amazon's insistence on bombarding me with ads for things I've just bought from them. Obviously I know that they stock whatever it is BECAUSE I'VE JUST BOUGHT ONE FROM THEM! And there are some consumables which one may buy at frequent intervals, but if I've just bought a car stereo fascia surround then I'm not likely to need another one in a hurry and I don't really appreciate half a dozen emails with "Amazing offers on car stereo fascia surrounds!"

      Sorry, rant over :-)

      1. RISC OS

        Re: Pointless adverts

        Yeah that is annoying... just bought a laptop for nearly 2000 euros... and amazon think I may want to buy another *slap_face* so now that is all I see.

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Pointless adverts

          Yeah that is annoying... just bought a laptop for nearly 2000 euros... and amazon think I may want to buy another *slap_face* so now that is all I see.

          And from a paying advertiser's point of view, this pointless Amazon ad is blocking the display of an ad from someone who wants to target consumers who have just bought a laptop. Perhaps there are none so Amazon is just filling the gap on the screen? Or maybe Amazon's ad system is really, really unsophisticated and not worth the money being charged? Perhaps we could interest one of the ad industry's trade magazines to run an expose so the people booking ads can see how they are being ripped off?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pointless adverts

        "but if I've just bought a car stereo fascia surround then I'm not likely to need another one in a hurry and I don't really appreciate half a dozen emails with "Amazing offers on car stereo fascia surrounds!""

        To be fair to Amazon they probably thought your IP address was from Liverpool and assumed that you were in the business of acquiring and fitting new stereos on a regular basis and need to cover up the "scuff marks" from removal.

        *This joke bought to you by the 1980s...Tips welcome...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Here's a tip for you.

          Get some new material. The 'all Scousers are thieves' trope is as tired, lame and unimaginative as 'all Irish are thick' or 'all mothers-in-law are battleaxes'.

      3. Mark Allen

        Re: Pointless adverts

        @PerlyKing - I also hate adverts, but to be fair to Amazon you can turn all of the email trash off. Go into your settings on Amazon and change the Communication Preferences. It can all be disabled so you only see info on transactions. Same with EBay\Papal.

        I am always amazed when I see other people's inboxes full of this kind of "spam". It is all opt-outable. You can get rid of the lot. Buy something from Tescos and forgot to opt-out? Then hit the unsubscribe link and say bye-bye to their trash.

        Some of my clients have mailboxes full of this kind of ham\spam. They must waste hours a month wading through it instead of hitting unsubscribe. Madness.

        On another similar thread, I never understand when you buy a new computer it has the home page set to the manufacturers website where they try and sell you a new computer....

        1. F0rdPrefect

          Re: Pointless adverts

          The trouble is that unless you check very carefully, hitting the unsubscribe button can be a VERY BAD THING because that email isn't from Amazon/Tesco/Ebay/whoever and you have just confirmed that they have a live email address to sell.

          Simpler/safer just to set up a rule to delete them without downloading.

          And people keep complaining about adverts on websites.

          Haven't they heard of adblock?

      4. Donn Bly

        Re: Pointless adverts

        Almost as pointless as all of the advertisements I got the the Mule ESB Summit here on The Register -- AFTER I had already signed up for the conference.

    3. Charles Manning

      Not pointless

      It keeps the ads in your face. This is particularly true for the interwebs where people have short attention spans and only stay on a single site for a short while.

      I was recently looking for a hunting torch and ended up on dx.com. For a while I just got served lots of different dx.com ads for various torches. After I bought one (from dx.com), they stopped with the torch ads and started with other dx.com tat.

      These people know how to use their data to their best advantage.

  5. Suricou Raven

    So...

    How do we go about feeding it bad data? Some sort of browser plugin?

    I don't trust them to respect an opt-out.

    1. adnim

      Re: So...

      Don't feed it any data... except perhaps your IP address and that can be hidden via proxy.

      Coookie Monster, RefControl, Adblock, NoScript, User agent control.

      I really don't care if those not informed enough don't employ such measures. There are enough of them to make it uneconomical for websites to counter people like me. So I thank the clueless, long may they continue to take the flak.

      I do try to educate but all to often I am met with blank stares. I never see an advert on a website more than once. I do visit Facebook, I use it to promote my business. I have put nothing on there that I do not wish to be made public. Facebook is the only place where Facebook scripts are allowed to run. As for doubleclick and googleadservices they are blocked at the router.

      So I am a leech, like I give a fuck, my life, my eyes, my mind, my computer. That said I will pay subs to a site with something more than advertising to offer. Cue the down votes yay, like I give a fuck about that either. if you down vote me you must be one of the leeches that uses advertising and privacy invasion to make a living... Shame on you... The Golgafrincham B Ark is waiting for ya.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: So...

        They can still gather plenty of data bassively. Every time you see a like button, it's being served from Facebook - they know where you are. Even if you disable cookies, they probably use a combination of IP and browser fingerprint.

  6. sabroni Silver badge

    will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

    and chrome, firefox and opera. BUT DON'T LET THAT GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR ANTI-MS AGENDA!!!!

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

      How is that anti-MS? If anything the phrasing of the sentence implies sympathy with Microsoft against facebook's blatant ignoring of the do-not-track feature.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese
      Thumb Down

      Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

      "BUT DON'T LET THAT GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR ANTI-MS AGENDA!!!!"

      Ah but you chopped the beginning of of that sentence and all of the following one. Here it is again in full:

      "Meanwhile, in what appeared to be a clear snub to Microsoft, Facebook confirmed it will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer, AdAge reported. However, it will apparently respond favourably to ad-tracking limitation settings on Google's Android and Apple's iOS"

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

        >>ad-tracking limitation settings on Google's Android and Apple's iOS<<

        But what does that mean? The first sentence is about browsers, the second is about OSs. It doesn't sound like that means "We respect Do Not Track on Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS but not IE", it sounds like "When you run our proprietary apps on Android and iOS we respect the built in privacy settings".

        None of which addresses my point, directed at the Register, and clearly not facetious enough, that to single out IE in this case is misleading. Facebook seem to be saying "we ignore the Do-not-track header on browsers but respect our app settings". As IE is nowhere near the most popular browser, why mention it? See! Clear anti-ms agenda! AGAIN!!!!

        1. Alan Edwards

          Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

          > As IE is nowhere near the most popular browser, why mention it?

          IE has the Do Not Track turned on by default. The ad industry spit their dummy because it meant the sheep didn't have to engage a brain cell and turn it on (which they knew none of them would do), so decided to ignore it.

          AFAIK the other browsers have Do Not Track off by default. The ad industry is happy to respect anything that makes no difference to what they do.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

            Does anyone maintain a useful list of ad-related url's that I add to my hosts.txt file to null0 them?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

              I use this one:

              http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt

            2. Suricou Raven

              Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

              Host.txt is old - this house has six laptops, three tablets, four phones and a desktop, so using a hosts file on them all would be impractical. I just have a transparent proxy on the router computer which handles the blocking.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon

                Re: will ignore the do-not-track mechanism in browsers including Internet Explorer

                "Host.txt is old"

                Fair point, but I still needed the list :)

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Targeted ads

    Are ads for things I've already looked at and either bought or decided I didn't want...

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: Targeted ads

      Precisely. I bought that printer / monitor / whatever for some combination of size, functionality, quality and price.

      If I am happy with my purchase I probably don't need another one.

      If I am unhappy with it I won't be buying that model again.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Targeted ads

        If you do need another one, why not just buy from the same place as the first one...

  8. eddystone82

    All targeted advertising is probably fairly pointless, a scattergun approach may be more useful!

    Case in point, I generally ignore all adverts and use Adblock but I saw an ad for the Magnum ice cream with Marc de Champagne on TV, that sounds nice, I thought, so bought one. There is no way that could have been targeted at me through my browsing habits, I buy ice cream maybe three times a year!

    1. Steve Knox
      Big Brother

      Smart Targeting

      Exactly. Ice cream is delicious. No sane person would buy it less often than once a month, so clearly you needed to be reminded.

      The fact that you didn't cotton on to their devious logic shows just how well it's working.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I saw an ad for the Magnum ice cream with Marc de Champagne on TV, that sounds nice, I thought, so bought one."

      I know it isn't the same, but you really should have bought a bottle of champers instead!

  9. RISC OS

    Adverts...

    ...what are they then?

    Until they start obeying do no track I shall keep using adblock... tried reading the guardian without adblock just for a laugh... gave up after 2 minutes... there is more adverts than content.

  10. Camilla Smythe

    http://www.kbmg.com/about/executive-team/brooks-dobbs/

    Nice CV.. No Comment.. DYOR.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      chief privacy officer at...

      Phorm, rotfl!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: chief privacy officer at...

        I suppose in the world in which he circulates advertising yourself a top scumbag is a plus.

  11. Sporkinum

    been on facebook 2 weeks

    I got laid off at work after 11 years at the same job. I figured I needed to establish a "social presence", so I created a facebook and linkedin account the same day I lost my job. I don't think I have seen any ads anywhere since being on those sites. I have been blocking for years though.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grown man?

    That guys earring looks ridiculous.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't use Facebook - simple

    The very idea of so-called "social networking" leaves me absolutely stone cold. The very thought of exposing every minute detail of one's life to others on a whim or airing dirty linen in public seems to me to be so much dross and triteness in the extreme. Mind you, judging from the odd clips I have seen elsewhere made by the ever-nimble fingers of what appears to be a collection of mindless apes, I would imagine that the types that frequent Facebook, Twitter and the like probably get what they deserve.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DAA Site May Be Down :)

    I just followed the FB "Visit the DAA to Learn More" link (http://www.aboutads.info/choices/) and I am getting:

    Connection refused: www.aboutads.info:80

    It seems not everyone likes ads.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha

    Looked at this piece earlier. Didn't really notice the title. Coincidence that I'm now listening to Hotel California?

    1. Allan George Dyer
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Ha ha

      Or you were influenced to play the song by the subconscious effect of the title.

      The Reg is part of a secret Illuminati viral advertising campaign to promote the Eagles!!! (see icon)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha ha

        Hence why the title has been changed? Or did I imagine it?

        I almost started watching 'Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind' about an hour ago...

  16. Gannettt

    For a long time I naively assumed 'targeted ads' meant fewer ads.

    It's not being fed ads per se that annoys me (with at least AdBlock installed you hardly see any), it's the deviousness and obfuscation on the part of ad slingers that has got my goat. If people like ads so much, why can't these organisations be open about their policies (more open than they think they are, that is)?

  17. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Pity...

    It's a real pity that we can't opt out of ads and marketing with a shotgun... Too damn many marketing droids in the world before the 'Net and since then, they're like flies at a full garbage pail. Too many to swat and new ones replace the ones you swat.

  18. Geoff Campbell
    Mushroom

    "more relevant to their interests"

    Absolutely. And I'm insterested in a future fantasy world in which I never have to see another advert. Be a dear and make it so, would you, Facebook?

    GJC

  19. Paratrooping Parrot
    Happy

    I wonder what's UKIP stance on this

    So, UKIP wants the UK to be out of the European Union who have been trying to do a lot to protect human rights from abuse by governments and companies. I wonder what is their position on this.

    1. Alan Edwards

      Re: I wonder what's UKIP stance on this

      > I wonder what is their position on this.

      The same as any other political party - they do what their corporate bosses tell them to.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is Diaspora?

    Or other viable alternative.... We've been waiting forever....

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Where is Diaspora?

      Even if it was working and perfect in every way, it wouldn't work. Social networking operates on positive feedback - people use a network because they have friends there.

  21. RMycroft
    Trollface

    Facebook, what's that?

    I don't use Facebook, so I block facebook.com at the router. That way no tracking information goes back to them when I surf pages that have hooks back to Facebook. And the Facebook app on my phone that I don't use and can't remove can't connect back to them every night. (Use the Android development tools logging to verify that.)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't know

    Article doesn't explain how FB would know about smut. Do smut sites have facebook Like+1 beacons on them now?

    EDIT: Ok read the adage article again, facebook ad exchange could mean many different advertising systems can linkup with facebook and find you on facebook's ad network.

    Another reason to block -all- networks not just the ones you don't like.

  23. Truth4u

    Surprised they weren't doing it already tbh.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuts!

    Only idiots habituate services like facebook or twitter. Mark Zuckerberg is an evil, evil little man.

    http://youtu.be/1cqXBk91ZgM

  25. Andyf

    Facebook adverts - I just spend a couple of minutes each time I go on marking every advert as pornography. I know it's hardly 'Stickin it to da man' and doesn't stop them, but hopefully goes some way to messing with their statistics.

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