๐Ÿ‘Ž FLoC Together

A FLoC of disgusting low fat cookies | upload, meditate, repeat | lucrative exploits

๐Ÿ‘Ž FLoC Together

Well, it's over. LinkedIn are working on a Clubhouse clone, so naturally Clubhouse has finally become boring, over-done, and rubbish. What I shame, I was really looking forward to listening in on a bunch of VCs explain 'HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST MILLION ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿ’ธ'.

Anyway, this week? Something I could have done without ๐Ÿ‘Ž. It's mostly Marina Abramovic's fault this time. You'll understand why soon:

  • Upload files, but mindfully
  • FLoC-ing towards success
  • Don't be lame, cheat at games.

๐Ÿ‘พ Bet you didn't see this headshot coming?

This week the police BUSTED a bunch of CRIMINALS. What was the crime? Selling game cheats. On the one hand, I really like this and find it funny. On the other hand... cheating is wrong? I mean, I dunno, lemme just...

โŒ Cheating at online games annoys the other players and makes the game not fun anymore

โœ… Cheating at online games at this scale (where you sell the exploits and create an army of cheaters) annoys the large, faceless corporations who underpay developers to make the games

โŒ Cheating in eSports competitions where there is prize money involved is dishonest and stupid and why can't you be happy with all the 'cheat subscription' fees you're raking in?

๐Ÿคท For the cheaters themselves... can't you be happy just, uh, not being very good at Fortnite?

โŒ Catching those who sell cheats seems to heavily rely on the free labour of online informants โ€” I am like, super not into this.

Selling game cheats at this scale is a net bad, according to my well-calibrated deciding-system above. Bottom line: you will always โ€” always โ€” have people who find vulnerabilities in a system, and then exploit them. Exploiting them for money seems to be the most popular route. I wonder why...


๐Ÿต Google cancels cookies, replaces them with something worse

Imagine: you're invited to a tea party. You want to go to the tea party because you love tea and you love parties. The tea party is really fun, except some gross dingus keeps coming over to you and forcing you to eat cookies. Can't you party without cookies? No, because this isn't a tea party at all โ€” this is THE INTERNET.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Google's plan to phase-out third-party cookies. These track your browsing behaviours, and then assign profiles to you so that advertisers can 'know' what you like. Google, probably suffering from vertigo way up there on their high-horse, are boasting that they will replace this gruesome process with a new set of web standards, one of which is called FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts).

FLoC does this: it looks at your browsing habits, and assigns you to a 'cohort' full of others who are similar to you, then that cohort gets an ID which is visible to advertisers. These are just Cookies Lite โ„ข๏ธ.

โ˜๏ธIn other words: the gross dingus at the tea party has figured out you hate having cookies rammed down your throat, so has instead decided to to mix their agenda straight into the tea without your knowledge.

The part about 'federated learning'...

Actually, this part is key โ€” the cohorts are formed using SimHash, which means these operations are done locally on your machine. And THAT means there will be no behavioural data being sent over to central server. But google will still have to decide stuff like how big the cohorts are, and how many cohorts there will be.

The EFF goes into more detail about how this is worse than cookies. Here are some key points:

  • Cohorts can't be too small, otherwise that will be too 'identifying'. Google will merge cohorts together if necessary; they should contain thousands of users
  • Even though your cohort ID puts you together with thousands of other people, it's a really useful tool for any site that engages in a bit of sneaky fingerprinting. This is where you narrow audiences down based on how 'different' their browser set up is to everyone else's.
  • Google have not been clear about how many cohorts there will be or how they might control that.

Cohort IDs will probably be extremely useful to advertisers, just as current tracking technologies are, except Google are able to say 'but behavioural data will not be sent to our servers! ๐Ÿ˜˜ โ˜ฎ๏ธ' because that sounds really good.

As usual, advertisers are always the main focus โ€” it's very obvious when you look at the below quote, taken from the privacy sandbox announcement a couple of years ago. Google only want us to see publishers as people who can cash-in on targeted ads โ€” not people who in fact should be making income from the actual content:

"Second, blocking cookies without another way to deliver relevant ads significantly reduces publishersโ€™ primary means of funding, which jeopardizes the future of the vibrant web." Justin Shuh, bullshit artist

Actually, the web is worse now thanks to ad tech. You can have content that was written to inform or entertain, or you can have content that was designed to be clicked on and that's it. Which do you think is more 'vibrant'?


๐Ÿคฆ Ugh, this fukin thing

Wow cool, this looks like a really good example of what happens at the intersection of art and technology the horrifying peak of late stage capitalism that we are currently experiencing.

Just think: the BIGGER the file, the more MINDFUL you will be. I literally have not stopped thinking about this. Can I not just upload a file without having an 'artist' annoy the shit out of me? Marina Abramovic like, IS a meme format.


๐Ÿ“ฃ If you have a cool or funny story to put in Horrific/Terrific please tweet me, or even send a DM