Corporate Social Networking Platforms As Cognitive Factories (networks cultures )

“The day comes to an end. Tired of abiding to the rules of productivity you sit back, relax and prepare yourself for some hours of dolce fare niente on your social network of choice – you log into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and are now ready to catch up with your friends, acquaintances, family et al. An advertisement for something vaguely familiar steals your attention. And then another one. You install AdBlock but still are bombarded with friendly requests to vote on some contest which requires you to like some company’s page in order to proceed, or with delicious instafood from the fast food chain down your street. Oh wait, what is this? ‘23 surprising ways M&M’s make your sex life better’? What fresh hell is this? Why do you find yourself unable to relax, exhausted from all the stimulus, feeling pushed from one hyperlink to the other as if a sudden gush of digital wind unearthed you from the comfort of your sofa?

Welcome back to working hours – or at least that is what Dallas Smythe, a political activist from the 1970’s would say. According to Smythe’s 1977 essay ‘Communication: Blindspot of Western Marxism’ our services, as audiences, are sold by mass media of communications to advertisement companies. We are fed for slaughter, that is to say, manufactured and produced by these corporate social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the present case, so that our increasingly predictable behavior can generate ever more targeted ads. What this means, in practical terms, is that all the content you are being subjected to has been parsed by an algorithm which determines what reaches you and what doesn’t. This is done either by means of algorithm learning – e.g. if you comment on a friend’s status you are more likely to have her pop up on your news feed in the future – but also through more invasive, rather unsavory tactics, which we will explore further later on.”

Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers (bloomberg)

“More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far.”

Scary New Ways the Internet Profiles You  ( thedailybeast )

“Facebook, Google, and the other Internet titans have ever more sophisticated and intrusive methods of mining your data, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The success of the consumer Internet can be attributed to a simple grand bargain. We’ve been encouraged to search the Web, share our lives with friends, and take advantage of all sorts of other free services. In exchange, the Internet titans that provide these services, as well as hundreds of other lesser-known firms, have meticulously tracked our every move in order to bombard us with targeted advertising. Now, this grand bargain is being tested by new attitudes and technologies.

Consumers who were not long ago blithely dismissive of privacy issues are increasingly feeling that they’ve lost control over their personal information. Meanwhile, Internet companies, adtech firms, and data brokers continue to roll out new technologies to build ever more granular profiles of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of consumers. And with next generation of artificial intelligence poised to exploit our data in ways we can’t even imagine, the simple terms of the old agreement seem woefully inadequate.”

US Millennial Ad-Blocking (e-strategy blog)

“Ad blocking has been around for a long time, but digital advertisers and publishers are seeing it as an increasing problem. Research suggests that a solid majority of internet users ages 18 to 34 are now blocking ads when they view digital content.

That’s what Moz and Fractl found in a July 2015 survey.

Q2 2015 data from GlobalWebIndex put the share much lower on a worldwide basis. It found that 34% of those ages 16 to 24 and 31% of 25- to 35-year-old internet users blocked ads. Ad blocking was significantly more common among these ages groups than among older users.

In February 2015, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford found that 41% of US internet users used ad-blocking software on their desktop or laptop PCs, vs. 34% of internet users in the UK. Read the rest at eMarketer”

Google Reverses Its Decision To Ban Ad Blocking Apps From The Google Play Store (techcrunch)

“Google appears to have reversed its earlier decision to ban ad blockers from the Google Play store – a move which had seen the company pulling apps like Adblock Fast and stalling the updates for others, like Crystal’s ad blocker. Now, following an appeal from Rocketship, the developers behind Adblock Fast, Google has re-approved and republished its app to Google Play.

The decision represents a change in course for Google, regarding its position on what sort of apps the company will allow in its app store for Android devices.”

Facebook’s Instant Articles Advertising Fixes Win Over Publishers (wjs)

“Publishers are still testing and evaluating Instant Articles, and the ability to generate meaningful revenue from it may prompt them to post more of their content to the social network.

Facebook in December relaxed rules dictating the volume and type of advertising that could appear in Instant Articles after publishers said they were finding it difficult to generate revenue from the program.

“A lot has changed,” said Joe Speiser, co-founder of, which publishes stories and videos optimized for social sharing. “The biggest stumbling block with Instant Articles was that we were making less there than with visits to our own site. We are now seeing parity with our mobile Web version,” he said.”

You can now use AdBlock on your iPhone (wired)

“If you just heard a sound like a thousand digital advertising executives crying out as one and being suddenly silenced, we think we know why; Adblock has launched on iPhone.

The app, which originally started as a simple browser extension, makes it possible to browse the web without any pesky, or financially critical, adverts loading on a given page.”

Ad Blocking Threat Is Real, But Publishers Aren’t Panicking (wsj)

“Ad blocking is certainly a daunting issue for Web publishers, but it may not be the end of the world as many had feared, particularly on mobile devices.”

Samsung’s default mobile browser now supports ad blocking (nakedesecurity)

“Samsung, the largest manufacturer of Android devices, has just announced that its default browser will support third-party applications that block ads.

Samsung’s pre-installed browser, called Samsung Internet, will support ad blocking in version 4.0 and above.

The update for the Samsung Internet browser will be rolled out soon to Galaxy devices running Android Marshmallow (6.0), and to Lollipop (5.0) devices sometime in the next few months.

Samsung’s Content Blocking API pulls filtering data from pre-approved, third-party apps like Adblock Fast, to keep unwanted ads and content from cluttering up users’ screens.”

What Does The New Year Hold for Ad Blocking & Marketing Trends? We Asked Patrick Dolan, COO of the IAB (oracle)

“Automation will continue to be top of mind for marketers as data and programmatic buying become increasingly important to communicating brand messages digitally. The rapid growth in the consumption of video, especially on mobile devices, is making these audiences more and more meaningful to marketers. In 2016, the industry will continue to confront and address issues that we already are facing. So, IAB in 2016 will redouble its efforts to minimize fraud and reduce the effect of ad blockers in the ecosystem. The industry has made good progress addressing these problems, and IAB will continue working to address these problems with our industry partners, the ANA and the 4A’s. As just one example of something we’ve done together this year, the IAB joined with the ANA and the 4A’s to promote a trustworthy supply chain by launching the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), whose goal is to establish a trusted digital marketplace for publishers, marketers, and agencies.”

Apple’s mobile ad blocking will hasten the death of online advertising (the converstaion)

“Apple is about to open a new front in the ongoing war against online advertising. The new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9, will support ad blocking by Safari, its mobile web browser.

A study by Adobe and pro-advertising company PageFair finds that the popularity of ad blocking extensions in desktop web browsers is responsible for US$22 billion in lost revenue to the websites that host ads.

They estimate that there are now 198 million users worldwide actively blocking ads. Amongst 400 users surveyed by the report’s authors, the main reasons cited for using ad blocking software were avoiding privacy abuse by targeted advertising as well as the number of ads encountered when browsing.”

The war on online advertising is intensifying, and the ads are losing (the conversation)

“A new front in the war against online advertising has opened up with the official release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9. The most contentious feature was the ability for the mobile version of Safari to allow extensions to block ads.

Not only was there ad blocking software ready for installation on the day of the launch, but one application, Peace, became the top downloaded paid app on the iTunes App Store. The developer, Marco Arment, justified the need for ad blocking because online ads were engaging in excessive tracking and taking up space, data allowance and generally making the mobile browser experience worse for everyone.”

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