“Facebook might have won already, which would mean the end of democracy in this century,” [Jaron] Lanier said. “It’s possible that we can’t quite get out of this system of paranoia and tribalism for profit—it’s just too powerful and it’ll tear everything apart, leaving us with a world of oligarchs and autocrats who aren’t able to deal with real problems like pandemics and climate change and whatnot and that we fall apart, you know, we lose it. That is a real possibility for this century.”
As reported by none other than Michael Wolff, Mark Zuckerberg long ago admitted that, when all the cover stories are dropped, Facebook is a corporate marketing tool.
“Our business is advertising,” said Mark Zuckerberg who, although he was the penultimate speaker at the eG8 conference in a stultifying hot hall, managed to fill the room.
“This trend of people being empowered to share things that they want will be the trend for the next five or ten years. . . .” Zuckerberg probably means to share what they want to share. But it may just mean to share desires in general—impulses, hankerings, things. “If you think about advertising, what’s going to be more effective than any advertising you show is something your friend says they like,” says Zuckerberg.
As TCT has always contended, totalitarian spying is part and parcel of corporate capitalism, which literally requires its constant expansion and refinement.
Not that this kind of boilerplate-but-unmentionable social fact ever quite sinks in. Even the reporter of the above survey of what Facebook does on behalf of its other corporate clients concludes that we “did it ourselves.”
According to ProPublica, Facebook now provides its clients (read: corporate marketers) with the capacity to target 55,235 different interest groups, on which FB also collects heaps of outside reconnaissance via so-called data brokers. Per ProPublica:
For decades, corporate marketers have been working toward real-time linking of purchase and media-use data in the planning of their behavior-engineering campaigns.
The future is now arriving, friends:
Twitter ad targeting just got more broad … and specific. Today the company announced that it’s giving advertisers the ability to take aim at more than 1,000 audiences defined by big data partners Acxiom and Datalogix.
Called “partner audiences,” the new ad feature means advertisers can now serve Promoted Tweets to Twitter users who have signaled purchase intent in specific categories off Twitter. Acxiom and Datalogix are dominant players in the big data industry, tracking and analyzing consumer behavior across brick and mortar and online businesses. [Source]
In honest usage, “signaled,” of course, means an intended communication. What it means in marketing-speak, however, has nothing to do with any respect for the intentions of the target populations, whose “signals” in this case are merely their ordinary procurements of life’s necessities, a.k.a. naive purchases of goods and services.
The fact that overclass agents arrogate unto their masters the right to treat such acts as “signals” from their victims speaks volumes about how illegitimate the planet-wrecking reign of corporate investors really is, even as it remains so deniable and seemingly benign.
In an ecstatic essay at Advertising Age today, marketing creep Ben Elowitz can barely restrain his orgasm over how great the new powers of manipulation will be, once Facebook finishes releasing its latest spying tools to the owners of “the brands who spend $540 billion a year on advertising.”
As part of his report, Elowitz includes this rather remarkable little cartoon, which fairly speaks for itself:
We TCTers are aware that, having long since replaced price competition as the main vehicle of business competition, the practice of behavioral engineering known as “marketing” grows larger, more sophisticated, and more expensive over time, with almost no pauses. In the TCT book, I called this process “the marketing race.” In this post, we review some of the latest evidence of its existence.
First, Ad Age reports the results of its survey of marketing practitioners regarding their firms’ usage of the newest marketing frontier, the internet. The results are as predictable as the rotation of Earth:
Last June, in the weeks following Facebook’s botched IPO, Ad Age and CITI surveyed marketers about their views on the social network. The big takeaway? While the majority (85%) felt they needed to be on Facebook, only about half felt they needed to be advertising there.
Fast-forward to January 2013: We asked a new crop of 701 marketers and media execs their views. You’d expect sentiment to have risen a little, and it has: More marketers on Facebook say they’re also advertising — 61%, compared with 55% seven months earlier. We also found a slightly higher percentage that said their Facebook ad budget would “modestly” or “significantly” increase, 58%, compared with 56% in our earlier survey.
As you might expect, Facebook’s mobile ads are on the minds of marketers: 69% now say mobile advertising on Facebook is “somewhat” or “very” important compared with 63% seven months ago.
79 percent of those marketers who’ve used them report being satisfied with their ROI from deployment of Facebook’s newest product, “Sponsored Stories.” To see how those work, take a gander at these eager beavers rhapsodizing them:
In a one-time concession for this maneuver, Facebook just settled a class-action lawsuit against it, btw. The financial cost? 0.4% of its 2012 revenue.
Finally, Google reads your Gmails in order to scrape marketing data, and there’s nothing you can do about it, other than dropping Gmail (on the very questionable assumption other “hosts” aren’t or won’t soon be doing exactly the same thing).