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Will smaller ad agencies end up ultimately trampled to death by yottabytes of Facebook and Google data? Behind the curtain: how Facebook and Google collect user data?   Facebook’s mechanisms of data devouring

Signing up to Facebook, you immediately lose the inviolability of your private information. Most of the users voluntarily hand plenty of data attributes like gender, age, place of work and study, interests, etc. to the network during their first day on the website.

But the most fun fact about Facebook is that it collects data even if you don’t have a Facebook account. The network uses two ways to retrieve data from non-registered users: browsing history and their friends. 

Google’s secrets of data richness

The primary source of Google’s data is search. Each time you type letters in the search line, Google is taking notes and later personalizes your search accordingly.

Google knows that you traveled to Cambodia last fall, that you like bacon and eggs for breakfast, and that you have already finished the latest episode of Stranger Things ahead of your partner. Your partner may never discover the truth, but this guilty pleasure can’t get past Google.

Drawbacks of duopoly’s data collection practices  

Kate O’Flaherty said it perfectly in her recent Forbes article published after another Facebook data breach that affected 50 million of its users. “Trust in large technology companies is at an all-time low” — writes Kate. Facebook and Google may not resell their data to other parties, but even they are not safe from the risk of the data breach.

That’s not the first data breach that occurred on Facebook. A year before, Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data of over 87 million Facebook users without their consent. In the same year, Google exposed private data of 500,000 users. Instead of alerting users about the incident right away, the company waited for seven months to disclose the breach to the audience.

This was not the last event that happened within a year. Later in 2023, Google revealed a Google+ bug that left the user’s age, occupation, and email address exposed for six days. Again, the representatives had been covering up the incident for one month.

The reason for that is obvious: Google is afraid of hurting its public image, and so should you be while working with their ad platforms.

What about ad agencies: Do they use a data-driven approach in their media-buying practices? 

Ad agencies primarily rely on ad tech companies in their media buying activities. Most of them utilize ad networks and self-serve DSPs, which create some challenges on the way to better data processing within a company. They gather some data about their clients, yet their hands are tied when it comes to third-party sources.

No enterprise will share their data for free with another business, even if it’s not their direct competition. Therefore, ad agencies that don’t have their ad technology in-house stack might collapse in the face of the Duopoly.

3 ways to strengthen ad agencies with smarter big data solutions

At the same time, ad agencies don’t need each user’s “mental health record” as such from Facebook’s file cabinet. Though, they could benefit from collecting better and more detailed third-party data by establishing a stable data source. This source may be their own ad tech platform that directly gathers third-party data and immediately brings it to the ad agency’s servers.

Welcome the three ad tech solutions that can serve as a lifeline for each of the drowning agencies. 

1. White-label demand-side platform 

First of all, self-serve DSP providers are intermediaries who charge you up to 50% of a hidden fee, which translates into a significant bid markup. This can be avoided by setting up your own platform based on white label DSP technology.

A self-serve DSP provider is just another company with its own interests. Even though it shares some data with you, you will never see all of it. For full transparency and control, ad agencies might opt for a white-label DSP solution, where they buy the technology and build up the platform based on it.

Some white-label DSPs offer a precious feature of bidstream data collection. Bidstream is data about the user who has just seen an ad on the publisher’s website and can contain up to 50 attributes per user. This is not personally identifiable information, and you don’t violate GDPR by its collection, but it can make a good use for user profiling, location identification, and ad spend optimization.

Summing up, an ad agency equipped with a white label DSP can utilize big data without infringing upon their privacy, as the person’s name and private details remain undisclosed. 

2. Data management platform

The data management platform (DMP) gathers and consolidates data retrieved from all sources. This data is anonymous, just like bidstream data explained above. Data collected by a DMP has an expiration date: it’s stored up to 90 days, which is the lifetime of a cookie. The platform can build temporary user profiles without specifying their names, but the connections between them remain probabilistic.

3. In-house business intelligence tools

Business intelligence (BI) tools specialize in collecting historical data about the company as well as data from external sources and transforming it into actionable insights. The primary purpose of BI is to streamline business operations and fuel the data-driven decisions of the company.

Data collection is not the only ability of BI, because if it was, it would be the same thing as a DMP. BI can either analyze, visualize, or report on the received information, and even suggest a change to the business strategy afterward.

The bottom line: small agencies offer much more than just data

Google and Facebook can boast of superior data solutions, but there is one thing they’ll lack forever: human resources which become luxury when everyone is striving for automation.

Facebook Ads Manager and Google Ads are soulless algorithms, using these means you’re left one-on-one with a shadow machine. You have an instruction manual, but no timely human help will ever be provided.

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Facebook Removes The 20% Text Limit On Ad Images

Media buyers in Facebook’s platform began to notice recently a big change: their images were no longer being disapproved for a lot of text.

When the Change Was Noticed

It’s been confirmed via a few sources the long-standing rule for Facebook Ad images being no more than 20% text has been sunset. Buyers started receiving direct communication from Facebook this week regarding this change:

Prior to this communication, media buyers were noticing the text overlay tool page was redirecting:

At that time, no Facebook documentation had been updated, but this appears to have been updated in the past few days.

While it still gives tips on reducing text proportions in ad images, it now stops short of saying to keep it at 20%. Instead it now cautions the 20% metric as a best practice:

This is different than the previous verbiage, which is now gone:

The “20% Rule” Historically

The purpose of the rule originally was to reduce the noisiness in a Facebook News Feed. Especially prior to the multiple ad units and media options that exist now, the Feed was largely text and images. Adding even more text had the potential to make a more cluttered and overwhelming experience.

However, over time, the platform evolved. Text in an image was no longer the distraction it might have been as Facebook continued to roll out new ad types that were far more flashy.

The 20% Text Overlay Tool

Previous Exceptions to the 20% Rule

There were instances where text in an ad did not count towards that 20% threshold. These included:

Infographics

Covers for things like books

A product image where it sports a text label

Event posters

Legal disclaimers

Screenshots for things like apps and software

Cartoons or comics

While no formal statement has been issued by Facebook, the updated page on text in ad imagery can be seen here.

Image 5 courtesy of Instapage

How The Juno Spacecraft Will Survive Jupiter’s Devastating Radiation

Jupiter’s huge magnetic field, whose layers are marked by blue lines in the illustration above, give it one of the harshest radiation environments in the solar system. NASA

Mighty Jupiter is incomprehensibly large. More massive than all the other planets and asteroids in the solar system combined, Jupiter is the size of 1,300 Earths. As if such a big guy needed any additional protection, Jupiter is also swathed in radiation that’s many thousands of times harsher than around Earth.

“Jupiter is by far the most severe radiation environment of any body in the solar system, other than the Sun,” says Kevin Rudolph, an engineer at Lockheed Martin who helped design and build the Juno spacecraft.

The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 and orbit it for two years. How will Juno survive such blistering radiation? “We’re basically an armored tank,” says Juno principle investigator Scott Bolton. “This mission is a first for NASA in many ways. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges they’ve attempted, to get this close to Jupiter.”

Where Does The Radiation Come From?

Jupiter’s large metal core gives it a magnetic field 20,000 times larger than Earth’s. And just like Earth’s magnetic field, the Jovian magnetosphere traps the electrically charged particles that stream out from the sun.

The particles in the magnetosphere build up over time, and many become more dangerous. As the planet spins, the Jovian magnetic field whips around, too, accelerating all those charged protons and electrons that got caught in the magnetic net. They also take on more energy as they crash into other.

“You end up with essentially BBs,” says Rudolph. But they’re sub-atomic, so they can pass through a spacecraft’s solid hull and spell trouble for a spacecraft’s electronics.

“Those BB-like particles will fly into an electronic circuit and knock the atoms off the chip, or knock the electrons in the circuitry out of position. If they knock enough out, it can destroy the circuit.”

An Armored Tank 1. Avoid the radiation

The first step to making sure Juno’s circuitry doesn’t get taken apart by radiation is to limit its exposure.

Jupiter’s worst radiation is concentrated around its equatorial regions, so Juno’s elliptical orbit will make sure it flies through those areas as little as possible.

Juno’s elliptical orbit will help it avoid Jupiter’s most intense radiation. NASA

“The orbits that we have go far away from Jupiter over most of the orbit,” says Rudolph, “and when they come in close, they dive quickly through the intense part, then fly below the radiation and go back out quickly.”

“We thread a needle,” says Bolton. “By going over the poles we’re able to drop down in a small gap between the atmosphere and these intense radiation belts.”

2. Radiation hardening

Lockheed Martin based Juno’s design on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. But radiation levels around Mars are much lower than at Jupiter, so the Juno team had to make some adaptations.

The engineers wrapped many of the components of Juno’s avionics systems in a thin layer of lead shielding, which is dense enough that the particles have trouble penetrating.

They also made some of the electronic parts larger, to lessen the impact of each radiation hit. For example, Rudolph says, if a transistor only has five atoms in it and radiation knocks away one of those atoms, then it would have lost 20 percent of its functionality. But if the transistor has 500 atoms in it, than a radiation hit only knocks out 0.2 percent of it.

“If it’s bigger, it’s more robust against radiation,” says Rudolph.

Juno’s radiation vault–the white box beneath the high-gain antenna–protects most of the spacecraft’s electronics from radiation. Lockheed Martin

This kind of radiation hardening makes the spacecraft able to survive a radiation dose of 50,000 rems. But that’s still a far cry from the 20 million rems that Juno will be exposed to over its lifetime. To make it even hardier, they needed to build a special box.

3. A radiation-proof vault

Most of Juno’s electronics are secreted away inside a cube that measures about 3 feet on each side. The “vault” is made built from half-inch-thick titanium that will stop or slow down those fast-moving charged particles before they can smash into Juno’s delicate parts.

Of course, Juno’s solar panels and cameras won’t do much good if they’re locked inside a dark box. Those and other sensors are left outside the vault, with cables connecting them to the circuitry inside the vault.

Those external parts have added protections. For example, the camera that looks at the stars to help the spacecraft orient itself is wrapped in an inch-thick canister, with just one end open.

The solar panel arrays have a 12-millimeter-thick sheet of glass over the top. The glass lets in light so the solar panels can do their jobs, but it also provides a small amount of protection against radiation and damaging dust particles.

4. Overcompensating

To see how radiation would affect Juno’s solar panels, engineers put the cells in what Rudolph describes as a “hot dog”-shaped chamber that fires electrons at the cells.

Those experiments showed that the solar cells would lose 10 to 15 percent of their output over the life of the mission. So to compensate, the team just made the panels 10 to 15 percent bigger. That way, Juno will still have enough power to take photos and measurements even when its near the end of its mission.

Each of Juno’s three solar panels is 30 feet long. Engineers made them larger to compensate for the damage they’ll receive from Jupiter’s harsh radiation. Lockheed Martin

Overall, Juno is designed to take twice as much radiation than scientists expect it to have to deal with. Its total radiation tolerance of 40 million rems gives a little room for error, in case the radiation levels are higher than expected, and should also leave open the possibility for a mission extension beyond November 2023.

Paving The Way To Europa

Juno’s radiation-protected sensors show us Jupiter in greater detail than ever before. The mission could help to uncover how Jupiter formed, in turn shedding light on how the solar system, and maybe even life itself, came to be.

NASA is also seriously considering a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists consider to be one of the most likely spots to find alien life in our solar system. Because Europa orbits in Jupiter’s severe radiation belt, Juno’s design could help shape the spacecraft that eventually go there.

“Europa’s radiation dose is much worse than the dose that we’re getting from Jupiter,” says Rudolph. “They’re going to have to come up with some nifty stuff, and I’m sure NASA will take lessons from this mission.”

Facebook Update Will Target Specific Groups And Individuals

Facebook is taking new action to inhibit the spread of harmful content. The new restrictions begin by limiting the reach of groups and individuals, incrementally escalating to closing problematic groups and removing members who continue to violate Facebook’s rules and community standards.

These changes will roll out globally over the next few months.

Facebook Targeting Harmful Content

The overall focus of the new restrictions is to inhibit and ultimately stop the spread of harmful content. Harmful content is defined as hate speech and misinformation.

One of the focuses is to make it difficult for these groups to continue to grow, regardless if they are public or private, with restrictions leading up to the closing of those groups.

The other focus is on problematic individuals. Facebook groups that contain many members who tend to break the rules will see increasing restrictions because of those members that will limit the reach of the group content.

Facebook will also impose tough restrictions on problematic individuals who breake the rules that will limit their ability to spread harmful content.

What is Misinformation?

It’s interesting that Facebook is using the term “misinformation” and not “disinformation.”

Some definitions of misinformation and disinformation are the same.

But there is a difference between the two words. The definitions are evolving to have precise meanings that distinguish one from the other.

Misinformation is information that is in error, though not with an intent to deceive.

Disinformation is information that is erroneous and propagated with a willful intent to deceive.

Definitions:

Misinformation:

“Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is communicated regardless of an intention to deceive.”

Disinformation:

“Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately to deceive. This is a subset of misinformation.”

Targeting Group Recommendations

Facebook is limiting the spread of hate speech by no longer recommending groups that tend to spread harmful content. The intent is to discourage the proliferation of hateful groups by making them harder to find.

According to Facebook:

“That’s why we’ve taken action to curb the spread of harmful content, like hate speech and misinformation, and made it harder for certain groups to operate or be discovered, whether they’re Public or Private. When a group repeatedly breaks our rules, we take it down entirely.”

Global Rollout of Restrictions on Civic, Political and New Groups

Facebook announced in January 2023 that it would permanently stop recommending civic and political groups to members in the United States. The reason is to show less divisive content to members.

Facebook will now begin rolling this out worldwide:

“…we recently removed civic and political groups, as well as newly created groups, from recommendations in the US.

While people can still invite friends to these groups or search for them, we have now started to expand these restrictions globally.”

New Facebook Restrictions on Groups

Facebook is targeting groups that spread hate and misinformation with new tactics that seeks to stunt their popularity. The goal is to make it difficult to find groups that violate community standards.

Among the new measures targeting harmful Facebook groups:

Demote groups that violate rules within the recommendation system

Warn users of pattern of Community Standards violations when attempting to join problematic groups

Limit group invite notifications of problematic groups

Demote group content in member news feeds

New Facebook Restrictions on Individuals

Facebook is instituting a tiered level of restrictions against individuals who post harmful or misleading content. Members who fail to follow the rules will see their privileges revoked or limited. Failure to change will eventually lead to removal from Facebook.

Facebook explained:

Facebook also said that groups that engage in serious harmful activities will face immediate removal without going through the escalating series of punitive actions.

This is how it will happen:

“We believe that groups and members that violate our rules should have reduced privileges and reach, with restrictions getting more severe as they accrue more violations, until we remove them completely.

And when necessary in cases of severe harm, we will outright remove groups and people without these steps in between.”

Facebook Reassess Meaning of Engagement

Facebook has been facing scrutiny for the harmful behavior and divisiveness that some say Facebook’s own algorithms encouraged. Facebook’s algorithms previously encouraged engagement regardless of the reasons for that engagement, such as rage or hate.

This new approach seems to redefine what qualifies as quality engagement, seeking to discourage negative forms of engagement that can lead to harmful and even unlawful behavior.

Citation

Changes to Keep Facebook Groups Safe

In An Age Of Smart Speakers, Sometimes Bluetooth Is Still King

Zak Khan / Android Authority

There can be a natural gravity towards smart speakers if you’re shopping for home audio in 2023. Voice and casting controls are inherently useful — even Sonos has its own voice assistant, now — and companies like Amazon and Google offer low-cost speakers that punch above their weight to get you in the door of their smart home ecosystems. Yes, plenty of audiophile speakers still omit smart functions, but even prestige labels like Bang & Olufsen are implementing tech such as AirPlay and Google Cast.

There are, however, drawbacks to smart speakers, and sometimes, a straightforward Bluetooth speaker may be the better option. Here’s why.

Sound Guys’ picks: The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy

More control in social environments

Adam Molina / Android Authority

A frequently ignored truth, it seems, is that smart speakers are only great if you live solo or with people you can trust not to hijack your music. Since music services commonly limit you to streaming on one device at a time, it’s easy for a child, roommate, or anyone else in your home to interrupt your listening with a voice command — like the time my son accidentally stopped the gym soundtrack on my phone so he could hear Elmo back in bed. While you can sometimes assign separate music accounts to separate voice profiles, not everyone knows how to do that, and not everyone is willing or able to create extra accounts.

See: How to set up Amazon Alexa voice profiles

With or without voice safeguards in place, there’s the issue of someone casting to a speaker when you want to use it or keep it quiet. I’ve found casting to be less problematic — it requires deliberate intention, and a device on the same Wi-Fi network as the speaker — yet it’s still a concern.

Smart speakers are only great if you live solo or with people you can trust not to hijack your music.

All of these worries fade away with Bluetooth. There is of course the potential for abuse via re-pairing or multi-device connections (when speakers support them), but the barriers are high enough to make Bluetooth speakers better for limiting access.

Portability

While not all Bluetooth speakers are portable battery-powered models, many of them are. That tends to make them more flexible both inside and outside of the home. If you’ve got a typical smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Sonos One, you can only use it anywhere there’s Wi-Fi and an outlet. The Bluetooth-based JBL Charge, conversely, works as well at the beach as it does in a workshop or bathroom.

Crucially, “smart” functions nearly always vanish in the absence of Wi-Fi. Assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant won’t work well or at all without an internet connection. Sonos’ new voice tech gets around this limitation, but even then, you can only control music away from Wi-Fi if you’ve got the company’s Bluetooth-capable Move or Roam products connected to a phone or tablet. (Sonos won’t let you use Bluetooth unless you’ve previously set up a speaker via Wi-Fi, we should note.)

Even if there’s Wi-Fi where you’re going, Bluetooth speakers can be more convenient for travel. Products dependent on Wi-Fi have to be manually connected to each new router, which can be more trouble than it’s worth. You might use your phone as a hotspot at the risk of running into tethered data caps.

The pitfalls of Bluetooth

Before pulling the trigger on a Bluetooth speaker, it’s worth remembering the downsides. The biggest, obviously, is that you may miss those smart functions. Even if you don’t care about voice commands, stereo and multi-room groups are a lot easier to create and control with smart tech. Any grouping functions with Bluetooth speakers tend to be brand-exclusive, where they exist at all. And no smarts means no integration into smart home automations, and probably no way of linking to a media streamer without introducing lag.

The simple audio output of Bluetooth speakers means that you hear everything coming out of your phone or tablet. That includes interface sounds and the sounds of any app you switch to, so you can’t load things like games or YouTube without disrupting music in the background. Phone calls will halt audio entirely until you hang up or mute them.

In some cases, you can get better audio quality out of smart speakers, since Wi-Fi offers more bandwidth for formats like lossless audio and Dolby Atmos. If you’re an especially discerning audiophile, smart speakers may be the way to go for home listening. Recent Bluetooth codecs do provide surprisingly good sound, mind you, and you need to spend big to hear the nuances of lossless formats.

Do you prefer smart speakers, Bluetooth speakers, or a mix of both?

497 votes

What are the future prospects for Bluetooth speakers?

Bose

Despite the gravitational pull of smart tech, it seems like Bluetooth speakers are here to stay. They serve specific interests, primarily simplicity and portability, and upgrades to Bluetooth itself are keeping them relevant. It doesn’t hurt that Bluetooth is sometimes cheaper, although large batteries can inflate the cost of portable options.

Expect both speaker types to live side-by-side until a fundamental shift puts their features on par. It’s not hard to imagine Sonos-style offline assistants spreading to more brands, or a day when voice and casting access are more refined. For the moment, you can feel safe picking whichever format best suits your needs.

Up next: This is the first setting I change on any Google smart speaker

Facebook And Apple Still Have Problems In Field Of Cloud Gaming

Currently, Facebook has only launched 5 such games. These games can be accessed through the Facebook App and Facebook Gaming App on Android and the Facebook website on PC. However, Facebook does not provide these games on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. The company claims that it ‘is not clear whether it is feasible to publish these games on Apple’s app store’.

Earlier this year, the two US technology giants, Facebook and Apple, clashed in the gaming sector. At that time, Facebook wanted to provide users with more ‘mini games’ through its iOS version of the game application. However, it was blocked by Apple on the grounds that it violated the rules of its app store.

Also Read: Amazon Luna Cloud Gaming Service Begins Testing: Supports Apple Devices

Regarding the cloud games launched by Facebook, Apple also clarified that it can provide cloud games through the Safari browser on Apple’s smartphones. However, Facebook said that this approach has limitations, and made it clear that it is dissatisfied with the current developments.

Facebook Cloud Gaming Platform Gizchina News of the week

Join GizChina on Telegram

For a long time, Facebook has provided games through its platform. The most famous of them include ‘Farmville’, ‘Candy Crush Saga’ and ‘Clash of Clans’. But so far, these games are based on Flash or HMTL5 technology and run locally on the user’s device.

But currently, this cloud game product line is limited to five free games: ‘Asphalt 9’, ‘Endless Showdown: Adventure; PGA Tour’, ‘Card Game: King Arthur’s Legend, and ‘WWE Superstar Card’. Facebook currently restricts its cloud gaming to these free games, possibly to avoid criticism from competitors. But the company also plans to gradually transform other more popular games into cloud game products in the future.

Facebook believes that by focusing on games designed for smartphones rather than game consoles or PCs, users do not need to purchase additional game controllers or other special hardware at this stage. One consequence of this is that some early cloud gamers did not even realize that they were using cloud game services.

A Facebook spokesperson said that the company intends to extend the cloud gaming service to the UK and other countries, but declined to disclose a specific date.

The Bottom Line

In terms of the current game landscape, it makes sense for Facebook to enter the cloud gaming field. Many industry observers believe that game streaming is the future development trend of the game field. But for now, game streaming is not a technology that can be used in prime time. We mean the technology is often plagued by connectivity or performance issues, which often frustrate players.

Therefore, Facebook currently only pays attention to smartphone streaming games, because such mobile games are not limited by performance issues.

Finally, whether Facebook with social media tags can be regarded as a serious gaming platform is a big question mark. However, with Amazon, Microsoft, and Google and other big companies all betting on cloud games, Facebook must also want to attract the attention of gamers.

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