Advertisers pulling ads or thinking about pulling ads off of Facebook

Source: Mozilla pulled its Facebook ads and others may follow
Update: The British group, ISBA, represents over 3000 brands, including those from Unilever and Proctor and Gamble. ISBA members are considering abandoning Facebook advertising over Facebook’s lack of data privacy.
FYI Mozilla Firefox provides a way to surf the net without Google logging every web site visit. Plus, by adding plug ins such as Ghostery, Cookie AutoDelete, Privacy Badger and AdBlock Plus, you can greatly reduce the data that is being collected from your web browser. This post is made using Firefox.

Why did I not see the Trump ads on Facebook?

We may never know why I only saw left wing propaganda on Facebook in 2016, since Facebook is so secretive about what they do with our data. But I now have a working hypothesis as to what happened.
In the 2nd half of 2016 and especially in the fall of 2016 prior to the election, my Facebook news feed was filled with political propaganda, essentially all of it “left wing” propaganda, especially propaganda posters from fake news services such as Occupy Democrats. I cannot remember seeing any pro-Trump ads or propaganda.
After the election, we were told by media reports that Trump won because his campaign had mastered digital media better than Clinton, and that conservative propaganda on Facebook overwhelmed progressive propaganda.
This assertion seemed bizarre as I had only seen left wing, often extreme left wing, propaganda that was specifically targeted at left wing sympathizers.
I may have spotted a clue as to why this occurred.
Twitter enables us to download all of the things they have deduced about us. These include assertions made by Twitter, assertions made by ad partners, and then a long list of assertions that seem to be tied to database “interest tags” to track interests in a database.
Depending on which group made the assertions, I was surprised to find that some of their assertions are that I was a political activist, left wing, and a registered Democrat. None of those are true (don’t belong to political parties). To be fair, another section of their dossier labeled me a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian, never mid the inconsistency in their assertions. However, Twitter had clearly marked me as left wing – why?
I suspect because I have posted a lot about the uses of social media propaganda, they marked me as a political activist, when in fact, my posts are more properly seen as anti-political activism. Once they made the incorrect conclusion that I was a left wing, Democrat, political activist, they – and their partners – steered more left wing content in my direction.
That, in turn, gave me more examples of propaganda messaging to use on this blog, nearly all of which was propaganda from the left wing. The more I posted, the more this seemed to confirm their incorrect assertions about my politics.
Because this blog is linked to Twitter and a Facebook page, which are linked to me, I suspect Facebook drew the same incorrect conclusion.  Facebook filtered what I saw so that only ads targeting the left appeared in my news feed.
Consequently, I was surprised to read that conservative posts were dominant over left wing posts. That certainly was not what I saw. But wwe now have a thesis of how Facebook was filtering the messages I saw to be almost exclusively left wing.
This small example illustrates how Facebook is polluting our minds into believing things that are not representative of reality. In this case, I am not talking about specific content of each poster – but about Facebook steering only left wing propaganda too me, almost all of which was specifically designed to hook the emotions of a left wing political activist. This made me think that most propaganda on FB was from the left and not the right – which as far as I can tell, was an invalid assumption. But it was caused by Facebook’s mind control algorithms.
Facebook’s filtering of the content we see is incredibly manipulative to the point that it renders Facebook useless for anyone wanting to be informed. This is another reason for me – and you – to stop using Facebook. Zuckerberg does not understand this – he has no clue and this week, has demonstrated no leadership skill. If Facebook wants to regain trust, it must install new leaders.

Zuckerberg admits that Artificial Intelligence is not a magic bullet

It still requires human intervention:

“There’s certainly a lot that A.I. can do, we can train classifiers to identify content, but most of what we do is identify things that people should look at.”

Source: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Speaks On Cambridge Analytica Scandal | Time
As pointed out on this blog, the capabilities of AI/machine learning have been significantly over stated. Adding more software is not going to solve these problems. Many problems need new business procedures, not software to automate ineffective business procedures.

NAS, NAE, NAM seek to counter "misinformation" on the Internet

March 20, 2018
Statement by NAS, NAE, and NAM Presidents on Effort to Counter Online Misinformation
We are pleased to announce that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are exploring ways to mobilize our expertise to counter misinformation on the web related to science, engineering, and health. Part of the mission of the National Academies has always been to help ensure that public discourse is informed by the best available evidence. To that end, we are convening Academy members to discuss ways by which we could help verify the integrity and accuracy of content in these fields in a manner that is consistent with our standards for objective, trustworthy, evidence-based information; this exploratory phase will be supported by a grant from Google. We are excited to pursue an effort that aligns with our fundamental principles and that we believe is critically important at a time when misinformation is a threat to sound decision-making and an informed citizenry.
Marcia McNutt
President, National Academy of Sciences
C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr.
President, National Academy of Engineering
Victor J. Dzau
President, National Academy of Medicine

Source: Statement by NAS, NAE, and NAM Presidents on Effort to Counter Online Misinformation
In theory, this sounds good. On the other hand, we have been led down the path of nutrition science malpractice in the 1980s leading to the obesity and diabetes crises of probably two generations – this could also end up causing harm.

For those not around in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. government established nutritional guidelines for all of America. They decided all fat was evil and we should strive to eliminate all fat from our diets. We should also eliminate eggs, and at various times, coffee and salt. Sugar, interestingly, was not a problem. The government launched a major propaganda operation to promote the guidelines. This propaganda effort used media, employers and food corporations to promote it.  Almost immediately, average weights in the U.S. began increasing, and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes began increasing.
This led to an ever expanding list of special-case hypotheses insuring us that the government’s guidelines were correct and something else was to blame.
In the early 1980s, my wife worked as a biochemist for a large pharmaceutical company. The company sponsored seminars to promote the new guidelines, and families were invited to attend. Here, professional nutritionists advised us we should get rid of as much fat as possible from our diets. The person behind me raised his hand and asked, “So what your saying is that fat is bad but sugar is okay?”. The response from the professional nutritionists was that we did not need to worry about sugar unless we were diabetic. Oh, and the majority of our diet should consist of grains, which for most people meant ground up wheat.
Face palm moment. Yet for decades, anyone who questioned the scientific establishment was considered a heretic. Today, we now know this advice was bunk. Read any number of books on the subject, or compare the DASH diet of the 1980s with the DASH diet of today – nearly a reversal of what they preached in the 1980s.
The question becomes: how do we avoid this scenario from repeating itself where experts are far too confident in their hypotheses and use their authority (“appeal to authority”) argument to shut down dissenting perspectives?