Digital Daily Dozen: 11/14/16

Facebook Removes Ethnic Ad-Targeting Option From Housing, Employment and Credit Ads   

In response to a ProPublica report last month about Facebook’s use of “ethnic affinity” ad-targeting, the social network is making its ad-buying practices more transparent. ProPublica’s piece looked at how Facebook allowed advertisers to purchase ads that would be served to someone based on their ethnicity.



Yahoo says it was hacked much earlier than previously reported — and it is being sued 23 times so far

Earlier this week on Election Day — a day absolutely guaranteed to take focus off it — Yahoo said in a regulatory filing that it had knowledge for two years that a “state-sponsored actor” was hacking into its system. The details lifted by hackers from Yahoo servers included a wide variety of personal details.



Fake iPhone Apps Are Another Sign of Apple’s Slipping Standards  (Commentary)

This holiday season, be careful which shopping app you install on your iPhone. A host of fake retail apps have appeared in Apple’s App Store recently, an indicator of Apple’s inability to closely monitor software in the way it once did.



Liberty Media’s Malone sees Disney possibly spinning off ESPN

Content distribution giant Disney is being held back from its full potential by ESPN and may consider spinning off the sports broadcast network, Liberty Media Chair John Malone said. “If I had to guess, what you will see is a split of Disney with ESPN spun off and, probably, ESPN could be owned and protected by a distributor in the U.S.”



Targeting race in ads is nothing new, but the stakes are high   (Commentary) 

Facebook, after great criticism, said it will stop a controversial practice that allowed advertisers to exclude audiences by race from housing and employment ads on the platform. But such racism in advertising is nothing new, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of the power of social media, all of which are advertising sites in disguise.




Tom Wheeler’s time as chair of the FCC is nearing an end now that Republican Donald Trump has won the presidency. You can expect Wheeler to step down on or before January 20, when President-elect Trump is inaugurated. It’s customary for the chair to step down when the White House shifts to the opposing party.




Internet freedom has declined for the sixth consecutive year, with more governments than ever before targeting social media and communication apps as a means of halting the rapid dissemination of information, particularly during anti-government protests.



WRAL Says It Will ‘Review’ Obscenity Policy In Wake of ‘SNL’ Censorship

The North Carolina TV station that cut the audio nine different times during last night’s broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” is reconsidering its policies on obscenity and decency. Sunday afternoon, the general manager of the NBC affiliate said the station would review its policies and procedures, and seek viewer input as it did so.



High-tech heists highlight growing digital challenge banks face

Bank robbers in 2016 are more likely to be armed with malware and botnets than machine guns and sawn-off shotguns. However, this hardly makes them any less frightening for banks or their customers. Just ask Tesco Bank.

The financial offshoot of Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has been scrambling to defend its reputation.



Microsoft Debuts Machine Learning To Optimize Content, Ads, Ecommerce 

Microsoft Research has been working on building technology that analyzes site visitor’s behaviors to optimizes content, pricing and ad serving in real-time. It learns from the actions that visitors take on the Web site to personalize recommendations and news.



412 million FriendFinder Network accounts said to be exposed in hack

Over 412 million accounts on dating and entertainment network FriendFinder Networks have been exposed, the second time that the network has been breached in two years. The websites that have been breached include, described as the “world’s largest sex and swinger community.”



Election Data Models Lesson for Cybersecurity  (Commentary)

Every database jockey recognizes the old maxim of garbage in/garbage out.  In other words, killer algorithms and all the processing power in the world are rather useless if your model is built on the back of crappy data.  Obviously, all the brainiacs building these models made a critical mistake.



Now, More Than Ever, Designers Must Transform America  (Commentary)

Thoughtful design, whether it’s a logo, an object, or a well-organized protest, has always had the ability to effect political change. And yet, in days following the election, the power of design felt—at least momentarily— diminished. Graphic design didn’t affect the outcome. Neither did data visualization.





The Digital Daily Dozen is distributed weekdays (usually) by Dom Caristi as a service of the BSU Digital Policy Institute. The articles are culled from various e-newsletters. The content is not original – only their compilation in this mailing is.