Saturday, January 20, 2024

Each Facebook User Is Monitored by Thousands of Companies

 A new galactic superstructure could undo science’s theory of the universe FT. Interestingly, the results come from state schools on the periphery: University of Central Lancashire in the UK, and the University of Louisville, Kentucky. It’s almost as if the Ivies are making people stupider.

Each Facebook User Is Monitored by Thousands of Companies

Consumer Reports: “By now most internet users know their online activity is constantly tracked. No one should be shocked to see ads for items they previously searched for, or to be asked if their data can be shared with an unknown number of “partners.” 

But what is the scale of this surveillance? Judging from data collected by Facebook and newly described in a unique study by Consumer Reports (PDF), it’s massive, and examining the data may leave you with more questions than answers. Using a panel of 709 volunteers who shared archives of their Facebook data, Consumer Reports found that a total of 186,892 companies sent data about them to the social network. 

On average, each participant in the study had their data sent to Facebook by 2,230 companies. That number varied significantly, with some panelists’ data listing over 7,000 companies providing their data. The Markup helped Consumer Reports recruit participants for the study. Participants downloaded an archive of the previous three years of their data from their Facebook settings, then provided it to Consumer Reports. 

By collecting data this way, the study was able to examine a form of tracking that is normally hidden: so-called server-to-server tracking, in which personal data goes from a company’s servers to Meta’s servers. Another form of tracking, in which Meta tracking pixels are placed on company websites, is visible to users’ browsers…”

First Monday. Why do people use ChatGPT? Exploring user motivations for generative conversational AI by Marita Skjuve, Petter Bae Brandtzaeg, and Asbjorn Folstad. “Generative conversational artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT, has attracted substantial attention since November 2022. The advent of this technology showcases the vast potential of such AI for generating and processing text and raises compelling questions regarding its potential usage. To obtain the requisite knowledge of users’ motivations in adopting this technology, we surveyed early adopters of ChatGPT (n = 197). Analysis of free text responses within the uses and gratifications (U&G) theoretical framework shows six primary motivations for using generative conversational AI: productivity, novelty, creative work, learning and development, entertainment, and social interaction and support. Our study illustrates how generative conversational AI can fulfill diverse user needs, surpassing the capabilities of traditional conversational technologies, for example, by outsourcing cognitive or creative works to technology.”