Note — Dec 02, 2018

Facebook and Google’s Targeted Advertising Is Ruining the Internet and Breaking the World

If you’ve been paying attention to these kinds of developments and line of thinking, you won’t be hugely surprised by most of it but worth a read as it attaches a few things together in a telling portrait of our current surveillance capitalism situation.

Zuboff predicts that if left unchecked, surveillance capitalism will be just as destructive as previous variants of capitalism have been, though in wholly new ways. “We are talking about the unilateral claiming of private human experience as raw material for product development and market exchange,” she said. “Industrial capitalism claimed nature for itself, and only now are we faced with the consequences of that undertaking. In this new phase of capitalism’s development, it’s the raw material of human nature that drives a new market dynamic, in which predictions of our behavior are told and then sold. The economic imperatives of this new capitalism produce extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues from that knowledge. This is unprecedented territory with profound consequences for 21st century society.” […]

Targeted advertising causes us to experience the internet, and therefore the world, in different ways based on what the surveillance capitalism assemblage thinks it knows about us. This not a recipe for fairness, equality, or a just society. […]

Targeted advertising provides tools for political advertisers and propagandists to micro-segment audiences in ways that inhibit a common understanding of reality.

Palate cleanser: Digital Authoritarianism Is Rising. Here’s What That Means. After the state of the tech world, the state of the world it enables.

This is the eighth year in a row that global digital freedom has declined, according to think tank Freedom House’s annual Freedom on the Net report. The report covered 65 countries that represent 87 percent of the world’s internet users; while the study found improvements in 19 countries, it also found that 26 countries took a step backwards. […]

Researchers found that at least 17 countries approved or proposed laws to fight fake news and manipulation of social media. While these are both serious problems, the report notes that the regulation to fight these ills has been used by authoritarian governments to undermine legitimate criticism.