blog: Don Marti


Fun with YouTube

20 September 2018

In case you missed it: One viral thread shows how quickly YouTube steers people to wacko conspiracy theories and false information (GOOG, GOOGL)

Turns out that fast-moving, hungry misinformation operations are better at YouTube than YouTube is. This is not too much of a surprise. Resting and vesting makes you stupid. It's like a resource curse for code. Sometimes I think I should start an imposter syndrome cure sanitorium. Main activity for patients will be watching the JavaScript console for all the errors and warnings on sites built by the so-called tech elite. (Look who's still typing = sometimes instead of == or ===.) Anyway, what do you do when you want to send someone a link to a YouTube video, but you don't want the engagement anti-features to kick in?

How about addressing the problem on the client side?

Here's an experimental Firefox extension that will remove the recommended videos sidebar and keep you on the same video even if the pwned engagement algorithm tries to auto-play a different one. So if I send a family member a link, I can have fewer worries that they'll end up in a rat hole.

Bug reports and pull requests welcome. (yes, I know that I should be using a MutationObserver instead of a timer. At some point I'll try to figure that out.)

German court orders deletion of customer lists in Facebook Custom Audiences

Using the “Custom Audiences from your Customer List” product specification, advertisers can upload certain customer lists to Facebook – based on e.g. emails, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs or mobile advertiser IDs – from their CRM database, which are first ‘hashed’, meaning they are transformed into checksums (hash values), and compared with other checksums generated from Facebook user data. If the checksums match, then existing and potential customers can be deliberately shown targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram and in apps and on mobile websites via Audience Network. Facebook also provides this feature for retailers, calling it “Offline Custom Audiences”.

This is going to be an interesting natural experiment. Will ad-supported media do better in jurisdictions where Facebook Custom Audiences are not available? If Facebook advertising represents an increase in marketing budgets, then probably not so much. If Facebook advertising squeezes out other items from the marketing budget, then this could be a win. (My best guess is that small companies are spending more on marketing because Facebook is easy and self-service, but Facebook is just one of many places that larger companies can spend. The ease of use of Facebook from the advertiser side makes Facebook ads a contender for small businesses that would have trouble dealing with a legit site.)

And it's hard to address the problem of creepy stuff on the Internet without talking about housing costs. If the California powers that be can drive up prices to the point where workers need a top-10-percent income for what would have been a basic middle-class lifestyle elsewhere, then it's easier to pressure them into more questionable practices.

North American vs Japanese zoning

Agglomeration effects (might) change the YIMBY calculus

Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism - Open Future

The Humanities Face a Crisis—of Confidence

Here's How America Uses Its Land

MeFi: Cities of ladies

How to Design a City for Women

How an Ambitious Minnesota Eco-Project Became a Density Battleground