😈😈A database of horrors and escaping advertising

This week looks at privacy, identity and a database of popular culture most would like to ignore. Overall though it highlights the flux we are in generally online and how everyone is struggling to stay above water right now.

Remove advertising with.. advertising.

The internet is powered by advertising.

There is no escaping it, despite everyone saying they do not click on the ads. I’ve covered ad blockers recently so I am not going to dive much into them again, but one of the big ones, Ghostery made a move which is mind boggling.

Historically this free tool to block ads, did so by selling data back to companies, ostensibly performance information but many viewed it as selling user data.

Now they are becoming open source so anyone can view and use the code and then creating two new versions to generate revenue.

A paid for premium version to track the technologies used by companies on their websites. Ostensibly for journalists, researchers and marketers, this is a competitive space, with plenty of free alternatives. This may be a challenge approach unless the others also change model.

The second is to provide a free consumer version which shows offers to its userbase as they browse the internet. So they are going to block ads and then replace them with… ads.

Another major ad blocker, Ad Block Plus has also started to whitelist ads in exchange for revenue from the advertisers.

At this rate, we end up exchanging one set of ads for another.

We will all be verified on Twitter 🙂

For a long time, Twitter has provided a badge of verification on any person it deemed worthy of needing one.

Fake accounts have inverted the situation. 

Twitter is looking at allowing anyone to be verified. The blue check mark will therefore stop implying status and instead creating suspicion if an account does not have one.

Twitter though suggests it is not going to stop anonymity so questions remain around what exactly will be verified. If it is someone’s identity behind the scenes that remains invisible publicly, does the account holder feel safe to speak out anonymously still?

Twitter suggested on their live periscope stream last week that this process may take years to resolve. It will certainly alter the dynamic of the platform.

Looking under the covers at meme culture

Memes continue to pervade the internet, propelled further into people’s lives through social media, despite being increasingly cut off by Google. 

Caring little for fact and more for impact, these were the precursor to fake news and continue unabated.

Know your meme has logged and tracked these memes for a decade now.  Anyone tracking popular cultures would love to analyse this data. The Verge has shone a light on this treasure trove, how it came to be and today’s curators. Worth a read here.