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


The results seem odd to me.

What’s wrong with being presented with adverts for stuff you might be interested in? Much better than adverts for irrelevant rubbish, surely?

It would be nicer not to have any adverts, but then you need a different business model for your media channel. Plenty of people in the UK moan and complain about the licence fee which supports the ad-free BBC.


In general I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with are the following two things:

  1. Giving my data to advertisers without my permission, such that these ads follow me from site to site.

  2. Going to a site about, say, the latest video game, and seeing ads for shoes, or scale models, or books on better writing, or other stuff I’ve searched for but have no relevance to the site I’m on.

I don’t think either should be allowed without the consumer agreeing. I think sites need to put it in the front of their sign up that “we’ll be selling your data to advertising companies,” so that consumers know what they are agreeing to. I am not a commodity, my information to be sold without my permission. So I’ve chosen to use an ad blocker and refuse to use sites that won’t let me engage in their content unless I turn it off. I think that’s fair. If I want what you have and you require I view your ads, I now have the choice whether or not I want to (and yes, sometimes I do, if it’s an article of particular interest, or a site I frequent often).


You mean real morality as ordained by God?
Or real morality as deduced from pure thought?
Or real morality as constructed by human beings?

Because I’m pretty sure a sizable morality of people thinking something is morally wrong is a pretty good place to start to figure out that it’s wrong.

There is a problem with the headline of the article summarizing the survey that @doctorow links to. It says 83% find it immoral. The actual survey said 17% find it ethical, but 68% found it unethical. 68-17 isn’t 83-17, but it’s still a very big spread. Note that leaves only 15% who didn’t have an opinion, making them the smallest minority.

But I think your example is distracting. I think it’s safe to generally classify things as moral or immoral while allowing that there are many different sets of facts that could change the meaning of an action. I don’t need to hem and haw if ask if sitting on a porch is ethical, and I’m not going to feel like someone got me if they later reveal that the circumstances made the persons actions heinous.

i don’t see that even as advertising. It’s more like stores putting related items on the shelves next to one another.


It surprises me that any regular internet user would expect morality.


I know, it’s like how people say they dislike being threatened with guns, but my experience is that they are willing to hand out all the cash the have on them for in exchange for just such a threat.

(In case this is not clear, I realize robbery is not analogous to advertisment. Their “puzzle” is analogous to stupidity)


When I started using FB I was actually in college and I was actually just keeping up with a handful of friends. Then it was more family and friends. Then it was the whole goddamned world and my feed was 24/7 full of news I wasn’t wanting to deal with at that moment and everybody I know fighting with each other. People I knew were really kind getting torn to bits by angry friends because some asshole posted something shitty on their wall and they didn’t get to looking at FB fast enough so people decided they must not really care and be fake justice warriors. It became such a cesspool and it was all manufactured too. Manufactured to make us as miserable as we could be so that we might buy more fucking bullshit that can’t make us happier in an endless downward spiral.

So yeah, it wasn’t so bad when it was just a list of the things my actual friends had posted and there was no motivation for professional level trolling. We all became public figures in a sense and no one had patience for our crazy drunk uncles or weird work schedules. We all became marks to be groomed to FB’s political and economic whims. It became impossible to actually keep up with real friends through the site unless you purposefully used it in a way they were rapidly trying to make impossible or too much trouble.

I think a lot of people might have been happy if they’d just let us scroll through chronologically and if they’d never ever fucking started hosting any “news.” And yeah whatever the fuck that was, it was bad for all the people who experienced it and continues to be bad for them… and I guess I could call that immoral. If ad tracking is at the root of that process, then let’s start there and make it harder to sprout the tentacles of evil later.


This is the kind of advertising that works for me. Something catching my eye in a conversation, sending me down a rabbit hole, and leading me to things I may want.

Targeted ads? Not so much.

This seemed odd about the article to me though. It’s an RSA survey, and then Cory points out:

RSA is a once-respected security firm whose reputation was permanently, fatally damaged in 2013 …

Sooooo… why do we care what surveys they are running? Why are they even around to run surveys if their reputation was fatally damaged? Can you come back from “fatal” (I suppose there was that one guy who they say did…)

And I see that @stinkinbadgers already brought up that point. I’m a bit late to this party. I still feel like a good question though.

Agreed. But does there have to be ads? What is the best way to monetize?

Ads allow the content to be openly available, leading to more eyes on it, and the creators need to get paid. But people generally hate ads, especially obtrusive ads.

Closing it behind a paywall eliminates the need for advertising, but also limits the audience. And if your paywall is circumvented, then your content is going to the eyes that aren’t paying, and your creators aren’t getting paid.

It’s quite a conundrum.

I just know that I was on my phone looking at a review of a TV on Techradar yesterday, and every couple of inches I would scroll, an ad would pop up, moving what I was trying to read, and forcing me to either wait for it to finish playing and disappear, or tap on the close button and hope I don’t accidentally tap on the ad. If I scrolled past it, then when it disappeared from the body of the text, what I was reading would rise up, and I would have to scroll back up again until the next ad is “served”.

On top of that, there was a banner ad at the bottom of the screen that I dismissed once, only to have it pop up again.

My screen real estate was constantly being cut in half to serve ads for shit I wasn’t even remotely interested in seeing. I was there to read a review, not buy something.

I finally copied the URL and pasted it in Brave, and was able to read it without the pain of being advertised at.

When I do use Facebook, which isn’t often… I like to see what’s newest first. I don’t want Facebook to decide something from days ago is what I want to know about. No, it isn’t, Facebook. The people I have in my feed are actually people I know. Not randos that I “friended” to make me seem popular. If I’m looking it’s because I want to see what they are up to now, not what they were up to in the past.

By your definition, I suppose I’m not in my right mind.

Although I do agree that the vast majority of Facebook is crap I don’t want to see.

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