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Thread: This is starting to irritate me.........

  1. #1
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    This is starting to irritate me.........

    I just realized that a recipe from somewhere online that my DD sent me through my Facebook messenger is now on my Google home page. That's just wrong. I know lots of this goes on constantly, but I don't like it.
    Talk about Big Brother...........
    Is there some setting I can change to stop this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyA View Post
    Is there some setting I can change to stop this?
    "Off".

  3. #3
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    I hate to quote Nancy Reagan, but "Just say no."

    Easier said than done, I know. I've always been wary of FB--and Google--but I did start an account with the former at the urging of friends, and I haven't cancelled it yet, although I seldom look at it. And Google's ability to reach into just about every aspect of your online life makes me increasingly uncomfortable.

    You have to wonder if it's even possible any longer for someone to start an online service that would offer the good features of FB--like to ability to stay in touch with old friends--without all the invasions of your privacy. I would gladly pay for such a service. I'd happily pay for a search engine, too, if it were ad-free.

    It's turning out to be one of the great ironies of history that the avalanche of "free" internet stuff that appeared to be in the offing 20 years ago has turned out to be a huge bait-and-switch. The price of a "free" service that allows you to re-establish contact with your old college roommate and share pictures of what you had for breakfast has turned out to be surrendering your privacy. The price of "free" news and classified ads online has resulted in the gutting of local newspapers.

    I'm thinking of starting a movement called "Paper, Not Pixels." It will be devoted to resurrecting hand-written letters, preserving paper books and magazines, and returning to dumb phones and desktop computers with green screen monitors that only allow sending text-based emails using a dial-up modem!

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    It is very frustrating that so much on the internet now exists solely to make money for some corporate entity. I used to enjoy surfing for info but now it seems like sources are pretty narrow or they are restricted to subscription only. I like to poke around City-Data but just noted that the kitchen cabinets I looked up the day before had made their way into the forum I was looking into. It's as if "they" think our only priority is buying stuff.

  5. #5
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    Agree, and as been noted here before, it seems the advertisers haven't figured out that because we bought one item once, that we don't need to be bombarded with ads for the same item every week thereafter.
    I'm thinking of things like furniture - how many sofas does one person buy in a decade? Yet the ads keep coming. Has made me hit "un-subscribe" for a number of places that I'd otherwise continue to shop at. But my online shopping is minimal anyway, which I think is the main thing that keeps the ads to a minimum as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldhat View Post
    I would gladly pay for such a service. I'd happily pay for a search engine, too, if it were ad-free.
    No need to pay for one; it already exists. I've been using DuckDuckGo for years now. No tracking. Period. Ever. They don't even keep the history for anyone to mine. It's their thing. Even their helper apps are designed to keep your privacy from being sold. For example, searching for an address results in an OpenStreetMap map, not Google or Bing or Apple Map.

    There are unobtrusive ads at the top of some search results, clearly labeled "AD" and tied to a search keyword that someone bought from DDG. Clicking on that link remunerates DDG and keeps it going, but there is no record of DDG being the referring Web site; nothing that identifies you.

    Give it a try. I make nothing from this referral but introducing someone to a search engine that won't come back to haunt them a few sites from now.

    You might also consider running an ad-blocker or privacy software. I use the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Privacy Badger (free, truly) and a cookie/script blocker called NoScript on my browser (Firefox). Those let me run only those scripts that get me what I want from the site I'm visiting. And not shopping at sites like Amazon that lets lots of other sites use their cookies -- Amazon knows who you are (see next paragraph).

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhat View Post
    The price of a "free" service that allows you to re-establish contact with your old college roommate and share pictures of what you had for breakfast has turned out to be surrendering your privacy. The price of "free" news and classified ads online has resulted in the gutting of local newspapers.
    The "old" saying is that if you don't pay for the product, you are the product. There's big money in targeted advertising. This is not tons different from going to, say, a conference, and trading your business card for swag and getting a sales call from them later or from filing a change-of-address form with the Post Office and finding out they sold your new address and the fact that you're (apparently) moving to companies like Lowe's and U-Haul and State Farm. It just has a much faster, more pervasive reach.

    Oh, and "free" news and classified ads online? Who do you want to blame for that? The local paper that charged $35 for a three-liner classified, no pictures, running over one weekend? Or TV stations, which have offered "free" news for decades, subsidized by the ads you had to sit through? The New York Times has a paywall; almost 2.5 million people pay money every month to get past that paywall. That's more people than take the paper nationwide. The Wall Street Journal also has a successful digital side. Or people who clicked on all kinds of carp on Facebook (political candidate running a pr0n ring out of a pizzeria? Seems plausible to me...)

    I'm not saying the digital world is perfect. Far from it. But it's not accurate to pin so much on digital when many of the drivers have existed for much longer than everyone had computers in their pockets and so much of it is basic human laziness and naivete.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    I'm familiar with Duck Duck Go; in fact, I have it on my bookmarks bar but can't seem to get into the habit of using it. And it does have ads and isn't as good a search engine as Google. But overall your point is well taken. I could also make more of an effort to install popup blockers.

    What you say about advertising being nothing new is also true enough, but there are a couple of important differences between the ad culture of decades past and what we see now. In the past print ads were static and easily bypassed. You could read them if they provided useful info and ignore them if they didn't. Online ads are constantly shoved in your face unless you want to spend time and energy figuring out how to shield yourself from them. While broadcast ads demanded a chunk of your time, there were far fewer of them. Broadcast TV (and most cable) now consist of one-third (or more) advertising. I don't know how anybody can stand to sit through all that stuff, no matter how interesting the program. (Yes, I know--DVRs--yet another "convenience" you have to buy.)

    Furthermore, there's a qualitative difference between receiving your news and entertainment via the printed word or radio and television and online. There have been reams of studies done on this so I won't belabor the point.

    I guess overall my concern is similar to that so many people expressed when TV started making serious inroads into people's lives. Print culture is an active medium that makes certain demands on the recipient; TV is a medium that just washes over you, which encourages a passive attitude toward reality. I see online as something that started as an active medium but has now become a passive one. The important difference is that online strives to create the illusion of interactivity. It presents the world as a kind of multiple choice test, with Facebook, Google etc. determining what the permissible answers are.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    One of the "imperfections" of the digital world I mentioned in my post is the aspect you mention of in-your-face advertising -- annoying pop-ups/pop-unders, pre-roll ads on video, blobs that hide out the content you came to see (always with an inventively-disguised X or Close button). Yes, that aspect of life on-line is a big price to pay for "free" content.

    The use of ad-blockers and privacy managers, however, is increasing -- and, increasingly, they are built into the Web browser and switched on by default. Lately we've seen backlash from advertisers who are unhappy that their product is being advertised before YouTube shows some disturbing video or Breitbart spews more nonsense or that ad for their petroleum company is what readers have to clear to read about a pipeline spill. Indiscriminate advertising, at least, will wither and die in the not-too-distant future because it costs a fair amount to produce (not disseminate) and more and more people are ignoring it or actually retaliating by avoiding or bad-mouthing the company.

    I see broadcast ads as part of a larger effort by advertisers to make everything an advertising moment. When I was growing up, men's rooms did not have posters in front of the urinals providing "reading material" while you were taking care of business; shopping carts did not more advertising than the name of the market; gas pumps didn't have little TVs to "entertain" us while we waited for the pump to finish; sports teams did not make millions from stadium naming rights. I don't like it, either, but I won't lay that at the feet of the digital world, either. I do agree with you on the pervasiveness of advertising being a bad thing. But its presence seems to be the result of a lot of people either wanting it or not minding it happening -- until it reached a level that was Just.Too.Much.

    I'm not sure I yet agree with the idea that the popular on-line worlds have turned us into passive consumers of content. In a way, the millions (billions?) who log on to Facebook and twitter and Instagram are creating that content -- far more people than ever participated in salons, bulletin-board systems (BBSes), Usenet forums, or photo contests/exhibits.

    Not to lean too strongly on the apocryphal "nothing-but-cat-videos-and-what-people-had-for-lunch" (what was enlightening or even participatory about fluff pieces on newsreels or in many comic books and cartoons so many of us consumed voraciously 50 years ago?). We don't have to think the content is useful or educational for it to exist.

    I would argue that the a concurrent development (or atrophy, to be more accurate) would be that people increasingly are no longer taught to think critically -- not about history, not about current events, not about what others say, or even what their religion tells them. Doesn't matter if they're seeing it on-line or on a billboard or hearing it on TV or at an event or even reading it in a periodical -- if there is no will and/or ability to reason things out and question statements versus experiences, it really doesn't matter what the medium is. The result is the same -- an audience predisposed to just "taking it", whatever "it" is.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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