back to article Facebook, Instagram now mine web links you visit to fuel targeted ads

We gather everyone's still easing themselves into the New Year. Deleting screens of unread emails, putting on a brave face in meetings, and slowly getting up to speed. While you're recovering from the Christmas break, Meta has been busy introducing fresh ways to monetize your web surfing habits while dressing it up as a user …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Nothing more annoying

    ... than untargeted advertisements.

    If I pick up a magazine about, say, canoeing then I expect it to have advertisements for canoes, paddles and the like. I don't want to see advertisements for bleach, lawnmowers or dog food.

    Does it bother me that some computer in a far away country stores information about me? No! If it did, I wouldn't use the services its owner provides.

    1. The Central Scrutinizer

      Re: Nothing more annoying

      That rather misses the point that the bastards using surveillance capitalism as a business model are desperately trying to normalize it.

      1. Tron Silver badge

        Re: Nothing more annoying

        I'm a big fan of surveillance capitalism if it means I get services for free and don't have to pay subs. Subs would disconnect the poorest 30% of the planet from most internet services, creating a two-tier internet. I don't care if they monitor what I click on, and I'd prefer to get targeted ads over random ones. Your government are going to be spying on you 24/7 anyway. You might as well get some benefit out of it.

        Before you moan about something, consider what the alternative would be, and the consequences of it.

        1. nightflier

          Re: Nothing more annoying

          You have a point, and I used to put up with ads for that very reason. On my favorite sites I would click on the ads as a way of supporting them. I ran without ad blocker, just relying on flashblock to stop autoplay audio and video, which I can not stand.

          Things changed. Ads got more and more intrusive, loud and obnoxious, covering the content I wanted to access. The worst ones have flashing, moving boxes saying "your computer has been infected, call Microsoft support..".

          The same mechanisms used to serve ads are also used to infect your computer with malware.

          So I gave up, installed security extensions and subscribed to my favorite news outlets. Surfing is now quiet and enjoyable. The computer does not stop responding and kick all cooling fans to max when I go to read my news feeds. Saves electricity too.

          I guess we do have a two-tier Internet, where you can either put up with the hassle, or buy yourself a better experience. Capitalism indeed.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Nothing more annoying

            Agreed, though my approach has been to stop using sites that have annoying ads. Also, I use a Javascript blocker, and only enable ad-related scripts for sites I really, really want to support, and where the risk of malicious scripts is small.

            I'm happy to participate in advertising-based revenue streams for content I want, as long as the advertising is approximately no more intrusive than it is in print, or was back in the days of broadcast commercial television (which I dimly remember, though I haven't watched any in quite a few years now).

        2. The Central Scrutinizer

          Re: Nothing more annoying

          So you are happy to be spied ón everywhere you go on the Internet. How incredibly naive of you.

          I'll complain again and again and again about surveillance capitalism, because it's immoral, unethical and possibly illegal. So, you know, there is that.

          Just because you're so flippant about your own online privacy and security, don't expect anyone else to be.

          You might want to think of the consequences of that.

          1. Pete 2 Silver badge

            Re: Nothing more annoying

            > So you are happy to be spied on everywhere you go on the Internet.

            I doubt that anyone is happy to be spied on.

            However, let's keep this in perspective. The information most sites (leaving aside banking and medical information) can collect is negligible. You searched for chicken recipes, or bought a pair of shoes of a certain size ... so what?

            Plus, few people are so paranoid that they won't pass on their credit card details to those exact same sites or their payment systems. And for those who are, do they bother dodging all the surveillance cameras that are everywhere? Or deal only in cash? There are much worse things than having some irrelevant personal data agglomerated.

            Calm down!

            1. The Central Scrutinizer

              Re: Nothing more annoying

              You need to relax there pal. Get a grip.

              Study after study has shown that there is no such thing as anonymised data.

              But, hey, if you want to surrender your privacy and security to the corporations, good on you!

              The excuse that it's too hard, not worth it blah blah will come back to bite you in the arse one day.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Nothing more annoying

                Well, there's differential privacy. But computing information leakage is complicated and expensive, and de-anonymization is indeed easier than many people think.

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Nothing more annoying

      Does it bother me that some computer in a far away country stores information about me? No! If it did, I wouldn't use the services its owner provides.

      Well, it bothers me.

    3. Mast1

      Re: Nothing more annoying

      The first time I met "targetted" adverts was with a friend who was in the early stages of pregnancy, and searching for the usual preparations.

      She commented how, months later, she was still receiving adverts for baby products.

      Fortunately she carried it to term, but others are less fortunate, and the results are very distressing.

      Does one really want to receive regular reminders of a distressing incident ?

    4. iron Silver badge

      Re: Nothing more annoying

      I have never used any service provided by Facebook but that doesn't stop them persuading web devs to include their spyware in sites I visit.

  2. Claverhouse Silver badge

    More Yank Sentencing

    Facing eight counts, the Nigerian could do up to 20 years for each of five wire fraud charges, five years for unauthorized access to a protected computer, and two years each for two counts of identity theft

    So, 109 years in chokey. Obviously there may be parole after 80 years. And before people point it out, these are maximums etc. etc., yet why do these buffoons have such ludicrous sentencing ?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: these are maximums

      Yeah, and the suspect is black and he robbed charities. Somehow I don't have the impression that either judge or jury are going to be lenient.

      As for the sentencing, you need to understand that law enforcement throw everything they can in hope that something, anything, will stick and remain after the tireless efforts of the attorney to remove charges on whatever basis he can conjure from the rulebook and from prior sentencing. That explains their tendancy to go somewhat overboard with the charges, it's likely most will be dismissed (maybe not in this case, though).

      That is also how the police press innocent people into admitting a crime they never committed. Stick someone in a windowless room for 24 hours, subject them to endless questioning and impress them with all the maximum sentences the police can try to dream up (carefully avoiding the sentence "I want my lawyer"), and many people fold just to get rid of the pressure.

      Don't forget : it's the best justice money can buy.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: these are maximums

        Well the alternative in the UK is to be sentenced to a 109 years in total, but to be served concurrently and then released after 6 months.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Yank Sentencing

      Sentences to run concurrently, therefore his maximum time behind bars would be 20 years, with time off for good behavior.

      What I don't understand is how the two charities are linked? As it was described in the article, it sounded like money laundering to me.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I'm OK with this

    I didn't need any more reasons to avoid facebook like the plague it is.

  4. carolinemax

    It improves personalized marketing experiences

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FP app is spyware

    all you have to do is read the ULA and you would know. It Requires access to your phonebook if you install it, your phone book.... and that's just getting started.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: FP app is spyware

      Indeed. I was struck by this bit from TFA: "the webpages you've visited using the browser built into Meta's apps". The what, now?

      "If you don't want to be hit with adverts tailored to your browsing habits, see the above links to opt out." Er, how about 1) not using "the browser built into Meta's apps", and 2) not fucking using Meta's apps in the first place? That seems like an excellent way to opt out. It works for me.

      (I actually apply stage 3: Not using Meta's anything, at all, in any way, for anything.)

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