Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 7th Mar 2014 22:30 UTC

Microsoft is trying to convince politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives.

It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting.

This from the company behind "Scroogled".

On a more general note, hypocrite company behaviour like this should be illegal. A company should not be able to say "leave company Abc behind because they do xyz, and come join us!", only to then turn around and do xyz as well. This is lying, and should be punishable in some way.

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RE: This is crazy
by ddc_ on Fri 7th Mar 2014 23:54 UTC in reply to "This is crazy"
Member since:

However, if there's gonna be ads, I'd rather them be targeted.

When ads are targeted as in "From your profile we see you might prefer Mr. X, so here go his ads", it's OK, but if they are targeted as "We will only show the ads about Mr. X where his position is in line with yours, and hide away his ads you might not approve of", it is not, IMO.

Edited 2014-03-07 23:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: This is crazy
by computrius on Mon 10th Mar 2014 15:46 in reply to "RE: This is crazy"
computrius Member since:

If you already approve of that opinion, what would be the profit in showing you an ad to convince you of what you are already convinced of?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: This is crazy
by Alfman on Mon 10th Mar 2014 20:21 in reply to "RE[2]: This is crazy"
Alfman Member since:


If you already approve of that opinion, what would be the profit in showing you an ad to convince you of what you are already convinced of?

I think what ddc_ was suggesting was to show ALL ads from candidates whom might be most relevant to you, but not to give candidates the option of sending different ads to different demographics, which certainly crosses ethical boundaries. I'm not personally comfortable with a model where media companies (or their sponsors) get to choose the algorithms deciding which candidates/ads the public will get exposed to.

I guess one could argue that traditional television and newspaper media is not so different because they can say & censor whatever they want to about the candidates. However it's less worrisome to me because these outlets must target the public collectively. Extremely biased viewpoints are bound to be challenged & ridiculed by others reading the same paper/etc. With highly targeted media, everyone gets classified into a segmented mono-culture where the group only sees what they already like, and noone in the group will really challenge it because nobody outside of the demographic are exposed to the ads. DRM might even make it difficult for most people to share targeted ads outside of the group. Therefor targeted ads don't give the public a holistic picture of the candidates.

For example, assuming a candidate were able to target me, they'd say something about cutting out software patents, supporting open initiatives, closing tax loopholes, bolstering the middle class, etc.

For somebody else, the ads might talk about hiring to redo, replacing presidents on US currency with disney characters, passing a measure to accept food stamps at tattoo parlors, and scheduling episodes of Pawn Stars on Nasa TV, etc.

Edited 2014-03-10 20:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: This is crazy
by ddc_ on Mon 10th Mar 2014 21:51 in reply to "RE[2]: This is crazy"
ddc_ Member since:

To show you that candidate X shares your opinion?

Reply Parent Score: 2