Making Meta Pay

 

Facebook now calls itself “Meta Platforms.” They have been found in violation of Washington State campaign finance laws, and will face large fines imposed by a state court this week. For some reason, this story just made me roar with laughter. Here is a description of the state law they were found violating. Italics mine.

Washington’s transparency law, passed by voters about 50 years ago, requires ad sellers such as Meta to disclose the names and addresses of those who buy political ads, the target of such ads and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must provide the information to anyone who asks for it.

Now, if I’m not mistaken, there was no Internet 50 years ago. Could the drafters of that law have foreseen the invention of the online ad business, where ads are bought and sold every second of every day, on billions of websites? Of course not! I have to side with Meta on this, and agree with them that the old law is simply impossible for any online company to comply with. But will our intrepid Attorney General ask the Legislature to update the law? My guess is no. This is a very interesting situation, and I wonder how Meta will get out of it.

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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    One wonders how many times that law was violated during previous election years.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RushBabe49: Making Meta Pay

    And I’m sure this isn’t what Zuckerberg had in mind about who pays whom.

    • #2
  3. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I think this technology probably exists, and is crunched every day.  And views might have originally meant how many copies of a given ad went out.

    If facebook knows where the ads are going for payment purposes, they surely know how many of them have gone out.  It doesn’t sound hard.

    But it does sound politically helpful.

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I think this technology probably exists, and is crunched every day. And views might have originally meant how many copies of a given ad went out.

    If facebook knows where the ads are going for payment purposes, they surely know how many of them have gone out. It doesn’t sound hard.

    But it does sound politically helpful.

    50 years ago the target would have been TV viewers and there was an established procedure for rate setting based on the demographics and size of the audience. IIUC setting ad rates based on clicks is not that dissimilar in that FB knows who was exposed to what, when and whether a click was made. 

    • #4
  5. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    RushBabe49: Meta will get out of it.

    I am guessing they pay Congress to create a law to create nationwide exemption.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49: Facebook now calls itself “Meta Platforms”.  They have been found in violation of Washington State campaign finance laws, and will face large fines imposed by a state court this week.

    Washington has campaign finance laws? Who knew?

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49: Now, if I’m not mistaken, there was no Internet 50 years ago.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    kedavis (View Comment):

    One wonders how many times that law was violated during previous election years.

    I’m sure there’s an army of trial lawyers tracking down potential violaters . . .

    • #8
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    RushBabe49: Could the drafters of that law have foreseen the invention of the online ad business, where ads are bought and sold every second of every day, on billions of Web sites?  Of course not!

    The article is extremely poorly written, but it probably should have said “The original law was written fifty years ago and was subsequently amended on dates X, XX, and XXX to cover all media.” Without doing a lot of research, I can’t fill in the blanks.

    In any case, this is the best news I’ve seen in a long time. I know exactly what the state of Washington is looking for. I hope they go after Yahoo! too. And many other companies. Even Microsoft Edge.

    In Massachusetts, and probably everywhere else, the sources of all political ads have to be identified within the ads themselves and prominently so. Politicians do that by adding information to that effect at the end of their videos. (I think the information has to be said by the politician himself or herself, but I’m not positive about that.)

    This is a great decision with a potential to have enormous impact on our political life.

    I don’t care who advertises what–the PACs or the politicians or anyone else–but the sources (who is paying for those ads) need to identify themselves the way they do in print newspapers and radio and television ads.

    The political ad style on the Internet has been weird from the beginning, and it’s been driving me crazy. I read a great book that describes what is happening in the Internet environment outside the computer user’s view. The speed at which information is zipped around the Internet is beyond my comprehension. But those political ads that come and go, some of them influencing people almost subliminally, should be banned as unfair advertising.

    This decision is huge. Why it took this long I’ll never know. The court is making an important distinction here, between paid-for advertising and user-contributed content. So it won’t affect normal non-advertising-buying users.

    It won’t matter much–where there is a will to skate around a law, there is a way, and the tech companies will find it. But its existence alone does something. For thinking Americans, it will put an idea in their mind to look for that identification and if it’s not there, to ignore the message. This would sort of work the way the computer security giants approached phishing: they got the word out of what consumers should look for. That’s where this law will end up helping people similarly.

     

    • #9
  10. Quickz Member
    Quickz
    @Quickz

    They are in dire straights – stock has declined by half in the last year. Couldn’t happen to a nicer company. Wait – it could be happening to Alphabet, that would be better. :)

    • #10
  11. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Thank you, everyone. Your comments have convinced me that I was incorrect. I hope the state prevails and Meta has to spend serious money complying. They are an evil tool of the Left and I would love to see them taken down a few pegs.  

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I want to see the names and addresses of everyone who viewed Patty Murray’s slanderous ads.  I never would have seen her disgusting ads, had I not been on more than one survey panel, and had to give my opinion more than once.  She is running half a dozen ads on the abortion issue, claiming that the Republicans have, and want to, “take away your rights”, and are planning on a national law banning abortion.  Every single word and phrase in all those ads is a lie, and her opponent Tiffany Smiley states clearly in her ads that she would not support a national ban on abortion, even if it were possible (which it is not, and the DemocRats in Congress have been unsuccessful trying to pass such a law already).  Anyway, abortion is the holy sacrament of the DemocRats in Washington State, and there is absolutely no way that any woman in our state would be denied an abortion.  And the AG is suing Idaho for their ban!

    • #12
  13. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I think this technology probably exists, and is crunched every day. And views might have originally meant how many copies of a given ad went out.

    If facebook knows where the ads are going for payment purposes, they surely know how many of them have gone out. It doesn’t sound hard.

    But it does sound politically helpful.

    50 years ago the target would have been TV viewers and there was an established procedure for rate setting based on the demographics and size of the audience. IIUC setting ad rates based on clicks is not that dissimilar in that FB knows who was exposed to what, when and whether a click was made.

    But wouldn’t “views” be how many times an ad was seen, not just how many times clicked on?

    The equivalent would be, in TV advertising, they’re counting how many people should have seen the ad, based on audience size etc, and assuming people weren’t in the bathroom at the time.  For the “clicked-on” version to apply, it would mean how many people actually called the company or looked at or bought their product in a store, that was in the ad, which would be unknowable.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: Now, if I’m not mistaken, there was no Internet 50 years ago.

    Two of the mainframe systems I bought in the 1980s with hopes of setting up a computer school, included Arpanet interface boxes.  (5 feet tall, 2 feet wide, 3 or 4 feet deep…)

    • #14
  15. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: Could the drafters of that law have foreseen the invention of the online ad business, where ads are bought and sold every second of every day, on billions of Web sites? Of course not!

    The article is extremely poorly written, but it probably should have said “The original law was written fifty years ago and was subsequently amended on dates X, XX, and XXX to cover all media.” Without doing a lot of research, I can’t fill in the blanks.

    In any case, this is the best news I’ve seen in a long time. I know exactly what the state of Washington is looking for. I hope they go after Yahoo! too. And many other companies. Even Microsoft Edge.

    In Massachusetts, and probably everywhere else, the sources of all political ads have to identified within the ads themselves and prominently so. Politicians do that by adding information to that effect at the end of their videos. (I think the information has to be said by the politician himself or herself, but I’m not positive about that.)

    This is a great decision with a potential to have enormous impact on our political life.

    I don’t care who advertises what–the PACs or the politicians or anyone else–but the sources (who is paying for those ads) need to identify themselves the way they do in print newspapers and radio and television ads.

    The political ad style on the Internet has been weird from the beginning, and it’s been driving me crazy. I read a great book that describes what is happening in the Internet environment outside the computer user’s view. The speed at which information is zipped around the Internet is beyond my comprehension. But those political ads that come and go, some of them influencing people almost subliminally, should be banned as unfair advertising.

    It won’t matter much–where there is a will to skate around a law, there is a way, and the tech companies will find it. But its existence alone does something. For thinking Americans, it will put an idea in their mind to look for that identification and if it’s not there, to ignore the message. This would sort of work the way the computer security giants approached phishing: they got the word out of what consumers should look for. That’s where this law will end up helping people similarly.

     

    I’m less optimistic. Steve Lehto (of “Lehto’s Law”) did one of his videos recently of a woman who was scammed out of $2.5 million in an “internet romance” scam.  The woman is a LAWYER, and a significant member of an INTERNET SCAM PREVENTION GROUP.

    And most people are dumber than her.

     

    • #15
  16. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I read a story this morning that has already disappeared that Facebook and Instagram have cancelled RFK Jr.’s Children’s Advocacy sites – cancelled. Also, after it was reported that data regarding the vaccines and the side effects were supposedly deleted from VAERS, the CDC restructured and changed its guidelines on Covid.  The Brits are about to pass a censoring law on those that have differed opinions and some in our own gov. are pointing to it as an example to control any and all dissenting views on line. 

    • #16
  17. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I read a story this morning that has already disappeared that Facebook and Instagram have cancelled RFK Jr.’s Children’s Advocacy sites – cancelled. Also, after it was reported that data regarding the vaccines and the side effects were supposedly deleted from VAERS, the CDC restructured and changed its guidelines on Covid. The Brits are about to pass a censoring law on those that have differed opinions and some in our own gov. are pointing to it as an example to control any and all dissenting views on line.

    I found multiple stories about Kennedy’s site being cancelled, and they all say that he was “spreading misinformation about vaccines”.

    This is from a CBS “news” story:

    Meta has said “free expression is key to a thriving society.” In a 2018 blog post, the company said it moderates “content shared by billions of people” and does so “in a way that gives free expression maximum possible range.”

    “But there are critical exceptions: we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people using Facebook,” Meta said in the blog post.

    Facebook has cracked down on the spread of misinformation on its platform, which picked up during the 2016 Presidential election and COVID-19 pandemic. Meta has said it is cracking down on things like hate speech, harassment, threats of violence and false information.

    • #17
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    “But there are critical exceptions: we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people into using Facebook,” Meta said in the blog post.

    bold word added for accuracy :-) :-) 

    • #18
  19. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    “But there are critical exceptions: we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people into using Facebook,” Meta said in the blog post.

    bold word added for accuracy :-) :-)

    Good catch.  I haven’t fallen for it yet.

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    This is from a CBS “news” story:

    Meta has said “free expression is key to a thriving society.” In a 2018 blog post, the company said it moderates “content shared by billions of people” and does so “in a way that gives free expression maximum possible range.”

    “But there are critical exceptions: we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people using Facebook,” Meta said in the blog post.

    Facebook has cracked down on the spread of misinformation on its platform, which picked up during the 2016 Presidential election and COVID-19 pandemic. Meta has said it is cracking down on things like hate speech, harassment, threats of violence and false information.

    CBS News is comfortable with Meta’s definition of “misinformation?” That would be enough to reject anything their “news” division has from now on, if I hadn’t already done so when the Texas Air National Guard memos were deconstructed within hours of their publication.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    This is from a CBS “news” story:

    Meta has said “free expression is key to a thriving society.” In a 2018 blog post, the company said it moderates “content shared by billions of people” and does so “in a way that gives free expression maximum possible range.”

    “But there are critical exceptions: we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people using Facebook,” Meta said in the blog post.

    Facebook has cracked down on the spread of misinformation on its platform, which picked up during the 2016 Presidential election and COVID-19 pandemic. Meta has said it is cracking down on things like hate speech, harassment, threats of violence and false information.

    CBS News is comfortable with Meta’s definition of “misinformation?” That would be enough to reject anything their “news” division has from now on, if I hadn’t already done so when the Texas Air National Guard memos were deconstructed within hours of their publication.

    The real giveaway was when the memos were signed “Epstein’s Bush’s Commanding Officer.”

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Not seeing anything that make it impossible.  Number of views of ads is surely tracked anyhow (which was and is impossible with print media, all you can know is copies sold, not whether the ad was actually looked at.)  Targets of the ad are specified when the ad is placed.

    Somewhat burdensome, but there are a lot more burdensome regulations on many companies and industries.

     

    • #22
  23. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    FB: “we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people”….financially? really?  I see all kinds of ads for very dubious-looking investments.  

    • #23
  24. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    FB: “we do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people”….financially? really? I see all kinds of ads for very dubious-looking investments.

    Especially voting for Democrats!

    • #24
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