Facebook has taken out a full-page “Tips for Spotting False News” ad in British newspapers, telling people how to spot and avoid fake news ahead of the UK general election. Facebook has also been deleting tens of thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were created solely to spew false news stories, particularly ahead of elections. In fact, Facebook has said that ahead of this week’s election in France, they removed more than 30,000 accounts that were spreading fake news stories that could have (and were likely intended to) influence that election.
Facebook announced yesterday that in response to a report that Facebook commissioned, which found that 70 million Americans (and almost 200 million people worldwide) use adblockers, Facebook advertising code is now being designed to get around advertising blockers. So far these changes only affect the desktop version (i.e. what you see with your web browser), and not the mobile version of Facebook.
If you are on Facebook you can’t avoid them. The “She’s gone” ads, suggesting that celebrities like Sally Fields, Betty White, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon, and Kris Jenner, have died (they haven’t), with the weird domain names, are everywhere. Click on them, and each and every one of them leads not to news that they have died (surprise, surprise) but a website selling Beauty and Truth (oh, the irony) brand youth serum.
If they are to be believed, Tumbledown Trails golf course was trying to do the right thing when they offered a special 9/11 discount to their golf course in Verona, Wisconsin. But, they clearly went about it in the wrong way, and the wrath they incurred has apparenty led to their taking their Facebook page down.
While this year’s Superbowl ads did not disappoint, one of the clear winners was the Dodge Ram truck commercial which pays homage to farmers. Perhaps the most poignant part of the ad was the recording of Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech called, “So God Made a Farmer.” It got some wondering as to where to listen to all of Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story shows online? Well the good news is that, even though Paul Harvey died in 2009, his voice and stories do indeed live on.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in deep financial trouble, in large part due to the advent of email, and online bill paying and other services. Now, in what can only be described as the Post Office taking a page from election year partisan smear campaigns, the USPS is attacking the Internet as dangerous and unreliable, and touting postal mail as safe and good for business. “A refrigerator has never been hacked,” starts the television advertisement, which is primarily aimed at businesses.
Amazon has announced a new, cheaper, reduced-price Amazon Kindle. The new ad-supported Kindle with Special Offers, as it is known, is identical in hardware to the wifi Kindle – in fact it is a wi-fi Kindle, only it displays advertising along the bottom of the home screen, along with “sponsored screensavers” (which users get to help pick using Amazon’s ‘Hot or Not’ style Admash. In exchange for letting Amazon have your eyeballs in this distinctly Google-esque manner, you get your wireless Kindle with ads for $25.00 less – $114.00 instead of $139.00. Worth it?
At this point in your Internet life, it should hopefully come as no great shock that Google watches just about everything you do on the Internet, and one way that they do that is with the cookies that they’ve planted in your browser (in fact if you use both Google and Facebook, it’s a good bet that very little that you do online isn’t being tracked by one or the other, if not both). This includes a tracking cookie that Google has ‘helpfully’ given you for Google ads (that advertising by Google that is known as Adsense to website visitors and publishers, and Adwords to the advertisers who advertise in those ads by Google). based on what they perceive to be your preferences. Interestingly, Google also gives you a way to modify the information in that cookie, so that Google can show you more advertising that you ‘want’ (for some value of want).