Vast majority of Americans and Europeans believe ad-targeting and feed customization are immoral



Yeah, that’s exactly why I’ve never bought one (although I’ve referred to many). The visuals are pretty, but the content is superficial.

Edit: and that’s my point. I know I don’t want any of the Ospreys. I’ve told Amazon I don’t want any Ospreys, many many times. But they keep trying to push the damn things on me, at the expense of other things, perhaps serendipitous things, I might actually want. OTOH, I don’t shop much at Amazon anymore - I get most books through Book Depository now (and yes, I know that Amazon owns BD. Despite that BD still ships for free, BD only deals in books, and their ad "targeting seems primitive-to-non-existent.)


I prefer targeted ads. I wish they were more precise, TBH.


Part of my confusion comes from advancing ageing…I’ve noticed the older I get the faster I get older. That pisses me off but I’m selling that shit to myself so it doesn’t count. This counts though…people get their nuggets twisted when they think business is being immoral? Where in the hell have you people been since we climbed out of trees and moved into caves? I got some shit to sell. Maybe it’s really good shit but it’s still shit you probably don’t need. I want your money and I’m gonna tell you anything you look dumb enough to believe because a bunch of you want to believe it. It’s an open season as I see it and business is in business. I suspect a competent linguist could trace back the origin of the word business and find it means “fuck your buddy and run”. Am I suggesting there is no such thing as a moral business…not exactly…not in so many words…still if you take a shower with business people soap on a rope might be your best friend.


I prefer ad writers develop leprosy and their little nasty intrusive digits and ideas rot off. Living here in the jungles of Peru has done precious little to improve my attitude toward the business community. Vulture economies like China Chile Columbia and a shit load of others that buy out the mom and pop places and stick chain stores in their place. Prices go up, media tells folks how goddam advanced they’re becoming cause they’re getting the weenie like the rest of the world. The trickle down sends illegal gold mining and logging in virgen territory, oil companies destroy anything the other assholes don’t and people on tv ads look a fuck of a lot more Sammy and Suzie Suburbia than the real kids who hustle any way they can to eat. I’m developing an attitude issue again so I’ll shut up now…for the moment.


I’m honestly a little confused by this. So why are you pointing everyone to their survey? Kinda undermining your own post.

“I read an article the other day about some new research into how global warming is worse than we thought. It was in the Flat Earth Society monthly newsletter”.

This strikes me as a strange way to frame the topic. The question isn’t whether it’s moral, it’s whether it is immoral. I just can’t see how morality would enter into it absent any other info, such as how they gather and use your data. Is it moral to sit on your porch on a nice day? I dunno, I’d never think about it unless someone in the house is choking on a cherry pit or if you had to murder and steal to get the chair. I think of the limiter on actions being don’t do what is immoral, rather than only do what is moral.

I could see this being something where you’d possibly get different results if you ask:
“do you think ad targeting is moral”
“do you think ad targeting is immoral”

I would answer no to both.


Well, that’s my preferred outcome, too. But if there has to be ads, they might as well be about things I’d be interested in buying.



Why yes, yes it does.


teddy kenyon
camels have always been my favorite


I am. Businesses are an amoral concept.

Only people are moral or immoral. At best a business can be run in an ethical way, but the whole construct is unable to tell right from wrong when the only goal is to increase value for stakeholders.

It’s like trying to categorize moral and immoral crocodiles.


Oh, Amazon. They are so bad at recommendations. “Customers who bought this also bought these other things” is useful for non-fiction, much less so for fiction, but other than that I just wish they’d stop.

Sure, I could make them more useful if I marked which items are gifts and which items I already own and all that, but why the fuck would I spend the time doing that?

I’ve cut severely down on Amazon purchases now, though. They’re increasingly becoming more trouble than they’re worth.




I’m not sure I understand the complaint about feed customizations. Are there many different meanings to this term?

My understanding is that this is what Facebook does when it tries to order your posts by relevance to you, rather than strict chronology. I barely Facebook anymore, but my understanding is that no one in their right mind would ever want pure chronological posts when scrolling in Facebook, because the vast majority of it will be crap you don’t want to see.

It would be like Google ordering their results chronologically rather than by worth.

Now, we may sit and say Facebook is prima facie evil, so people ought to be turned off by all the crap instead of continuously scrolling, but regardless of that, I strongly doubt this 76% majority would actually want this feature turned off.

And if that’s not the only meaning of “feed customizations,” then this poll is pointless.

This is a very good point.

People keep trying this, and it keeps failing, because it turns out no one actually wants to pay money to read blogs.


Honest question: is the story order on the homepage an example of feed customization? I almost always go to /blog to see chronological order, cuz I have no idea what the editors are sorting by on the homepage.


News results usually are chronological. Google does include recency in the weighting of results, always for news, but also for non-news searches.
Facebook’s chronological ordering of “news” being such a cesspool is simply a reflection on how low the quality of Facebook’s content really is.


This is interesting… I wonder if the current targeted ad technology/ecosystem/political economy is just really inept at present and occupying an Uncanny Valley-like position. Like, if ad targeting actually worked as though a trusted very-personal confidante were directing your attention in a value-added fashion, would people like me—rabidly anti-ad, although not at Stallman-level separatism—flip? Would people like you start arguing the moral imperative of ad targeting?

I doubt it, since there is a structural collision of interests—some of us live in the Arctic circle, and some of us sell delicate slightly-compacted frozen water flakes for a living—but food for thought.


Want to know more…?



Are your disappointment standards dropping? I’m disapp…


no one in their right mind would ever want pure chronological posts when scrolling in Facebook

You would be wrong. Anecdotally, most people I know complain about the feed NOT being chronological, because on Facebook most of us are following friends and family. We want to know what’s latest in their lives, not what Facebook thinks we most want to know (which is usually reposts of bullshit from big “news” pages and blog posters we are NOT interested in). This is one of the many factors that led me to delete my Facebook account. That and their clearly IMMORAL use of our data, for all kinds of spurious and pathetic things. Even today, though, with so many of my friends and family still on Facebook, I know they have some of my information and it pisses me off.

Online privacy needs to be codified in law. Opt IN needs to be the standard, not opt OUT, which is hidden under layers of security “choices.”