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Face Plank and data mines

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large_ghostman

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I was going to wait to post this, but seems that disaster has been adverted and the powers that be have switched focus over to the effect on Brexit. So the main bits of dirty washing are unlikely to come out now.

Faceplank and its use of data mining is a bit of a smoke and mirror thing, i have a friend in the third year of a 4 year masters in social engineering and marketing. I had a chat with him when faceplank first broke out in the news, he told me alot of info you might find interesting if faceplank annoyed you.

News flash Faceplank do data mining and target analysis on a tiny scale! They are actually not the big players in this people think they are, its been going on for many more years than they have existed and on a much larger scale. My friend and his class are trying to get jobs in the kind of places that use your data or at least analyses it and sell it on.

Everyone in the industry was worried alot of other things would come out, but now seems unlikely the main data industry dodge the bullet. Now he and his class have done some pretty clever experiments to manipulate this data, they have looked at ways to make it more accurate and therefore worth more.

So who re much worse than faceplank? and lets see if this resonates with anyone.....

First in the cue is supermarkets, you dont have to have a loyalty card, but if you do then your data is clean and green to use, if you dont then your data is worth a little less but your likely to get money off vouchers sent to you, the ones you get will be ones that you need to fill your name and address in on, this cleans you up and makes you top tier data.

What am i on about?

Sharing cat pictures and ranting online is class 3 data, it is not particularly accurate, the simple fact is 99% of people to some degree have a slightly altered online persona, you might not know it but you act a little different online, its not the real you its a kind of well drawn picture of you, rather than a photograph.

Shops and supermarkets however are a full on hi res picture of who you are, your shopping tells people more about you than faceplank will ever know. Think about it a minuet......

Have a think about what you buy and the kind of junk mail or sales calls you get, this is no coincidence. Now as experiments the person i know and his class did some cool stuff, they all met up and got into groups for two months. The group you were in consisted of between 3 and 5 people, the main caveat for getting a particular group was common interest.

Each group on the first experiment were very similar people, on the second experiment they added one opposite to each group and on the third (the most funny one) they mixed it up completely.

None lived in halls of residence, being a masters degree and starting this in the second year, meant most had found houses to share away from the campus a bit where its cheaper or quieter, some lived with parents. But as you will see this dosnt matter as long as you dont shop in the same place as your parents.

So once a week they sit and wrote a shopping list, those at home with parents had an advantage (explain in a min). They would shop for the group once a week using one card (loyalty or debit card etc), and split the bill between them. Extras or things they didnt want tracked were paid for with cash by others in the group and no loyalty card used.

Now if your in the UK the following will explain why every single time you goto a check out, EVERY till operator asks you if you have a shop card or if you would like one, they are monetizing you!

Before I forget most groups with loyalty cards paid with cash but used the card, a couple of groups acting near to there real status used a single credit card from the group and the loyalty card).

So back to the experiment and see how this fits what happens to you.....

Each group chose a social type and identity, without bringing religeon too much into it, they developed a family for themselves, a couple of groups adding in a religeon as well, so lets say.......

Group A of 5 people acted like a Muslim family (shopping wise), they decided they had no kids and where in the 40's age range (far from the truth). They filled out the little card for the loyalty scheme according to the profile they set themselves. Because some had access to parents and siblings, this meant some groups could have young children or babies, or pets etc.

I wont detail everything they did unless someone wants complete details, then i will come back and give more info. But for the moment just think of 5-6 groups acting like different families or groups of people.

So what happened?

After 2 months the type of junk mail and calls they got changed a great deal, here are some examples.

One group were poor with kids, they brought nappies (apparently for a sister) and baby stuff each week, they kept the food fairly simple and no luxuries (anything like that they paid cash in another shop, or by someone else in the group at a different time). They brought hand rolling tobacco (none smoked in this group!! but again a family member did), they did buy 1-2 bottles of cheap wine a week, they didnt buy any herbs or spices or veg that came pre washed and ready.

hey also had a non real cat, so they got mid range cat food each week and the supermarket cheap own brand cat litter.

Within 2 months they got things like the following coming through there letter box, Cats protection league leaflet every two weeks, asking if they could sign up for just £2 a month to help save poor kitties, the leaflets were often fairly bland pictures not to disturbing. Zero holiday leaflets, leaflets on where to get cheap pay day loans (these were odd, your not meant to get those kind of things!!).

No major credit card offers but a couple of high APR credit card applications. Phone calls were from mainly children's charities, and so on.

Compare this to the group who decided to be dog lovers and while there were three in the group, they shopped for two. They swapped a bit between the three to help with cost. They acted like young professionals. They had a big dog (or rather someone they know did), they brought decent cuts of meat for themselves and 1-2 decent bottles of wine a night.

They brought high end aftershave a couple of times, they ALWAYS purchased the plastic bags, they never brought own brand products.

They started to get post for holiday offers in exotic places, credit cards had credit limits raised and every decent credit card company sent them invites weekly!! They also got DOG protection league leaflets, but they were harder hitting and asked for £25 a month. They were offered life insurance and investment information from banks etc.

If anyone wants to hear the whole thing (its pretty long), i will post it. But beyond doubt it proved each group was very very carefully targeted, even to the point that the only group who didnt get money off offers for alcohol or pizza menus where the group who decided to portray themselves as Muslims by buying halal stuff etc. They were also the only group who didnt get holiday offers but did get flight offers.

The level of detail is striking, especially as one group pretended to also have a cat, but no kids and mid range income. Cats protection league begging letter again, but this time harder hitting and asking for £12 a month. They also got the most animal welfare leaflets through the door.

So ask yourself this........ if you got enraged by faceplank, how come it dosnt upset you that your local shopping place clearly sells highly detailed information about you? And who actually goes through this data and decides who best to sell it onto?

like i said i have skimmed over a great deal of it, they were highly detailed in what they did and predicted the results (or tried to), what horrified them all as a class, was the shear level of detail that had been extracted from there weekly shopping. And these are people going into this kind of work!
 

Pommie

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Very interesting but I do wonder if you have to join in these schemes. Personally I don't have a single loyalty card and don't receive any of this targeted junk mail. Shame they didn't include a control group in this "experiment".

Mike.
 

tcmtech

Banned
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I suspect they track my online activity being I only get poorly written death threats and package bombs that don't work (return addresses always on the letters and packages too) and solicitations for health and life insurance policies as junk mail. :oops:

I'm not saying it's related to my years of calling out half-wit haters and trolls online but.... you know, 'patterns n' stuff'. :p
 

large_ghostman

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Very interesting but I do wonder if you have to join in these schemes. Personally I don't have a single loyalty card and don't receive any of this targeted junk mail. Shame they didn't include a control group in this "experiment".

Mike.
Hi Mike
I just outlined the overall experiment. It was done for fun to start with then became part of their final papers, so there was indeed a control group. In a way its still going on, i kind of gave a brief few highlights.

What frightens me is the following, keep in mind that technically it cant happen and its surely illegal to do........
One group no loyalty card but paid by credit card, the same card each time. They were focused and targeted on, the only big difference with this group was lack of shopping vouchers they got. So at the moment the theory is the shops dont process the raw data, its passed on.

The other theory is, if they got targeted shopping vouchers you would have conclusive proof of data protection beach because of your credit card. The Cash group got nothing but random every day junk in the mail. I might do a follow up but need to make a call first, I posted most of the main bits i remembered, but i know that they went way way into this and got alot of results. I found it funny when i first heard it, but after facebook recently, i see it differently and its a long long way from funny.

The worse part is the type of animal leaflet you get sent, depends of how they class you, if they consider you a caring person then you get hit with harsh images and asked for alot more money. Debit cards I know are not tracked, i think its something to do with the contract stuff you sign with the bank, but credit cards often have small print about sharing relevant data with third parties, they cite credit agencies, but that dosnt mean its just credit agencies! I think thats just an example so you think a certain way.

I will contact them again and get more information, i was told most of it on a night out with some the group, we went for a meal and two of the group we were with had to pay cash for their share of the meal. It wasnt done half baked it was done very scientifically and as far as i am aware they are still doing follow up stuff.

So the question actually becomes.........Just how MUCH are 70% of the population manipulated to behave in a certain manner or do certain things? Just a gut feeling but i think the whole scandal over brexit expenses was thrown up to take the focus off data mining. As a side note, when they set this up with the help of a couple of the professors, the type of 'family' they were was worked out first, much of this was done by looking at random shopping receipts.

I am told that 4 weeks of average shopping will profile you to about 70% accuracy, 12 weeks of shopping info will profile you to 90%. Even down to what your favorite colour is, thats why some people get yellow leaflets from say help the blind, and some people get the exact same leaflet but in blue! It also dictates what day you get your mail on depending your most common shopping day.

Again as a side note.........ever wondered why 5 things a week get moved in a supermarket?
 

nsaspook

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It's not computer magic or some new discovery. You could profile a subject with a high confidence level 40 years ago but the resources needed were costly. The only difference now is that people volunteer the information online for 'free' to get access to some social meeting place so you don't need armies of field agents sending in reports. Its only value is to predict actions using probabilities of things you already like with maybe producing added intensity for those actions with online reinforcements, the effectiveness of actually changing behaviors to something you would normally not like or oppose is practically nil.
 
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granddad

Well-Known Member
SENIORS PERSPECTIVE OF FACEBOOK.

For those of my generation and younger who do not, and cannot, comprehend why Facebook exists, I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.

Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passersby what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom. I give them pictures of my family, my dog, of me playing golf,gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the artificial lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.

I also listen to their conversations, give them the 'thumbs up' and tell them I like them. And it works just like Facebook.

I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.
 

alec_t

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No doubt the 'Likes' etc on this ETO site are being mined by Faceache and others :).
 

tcmtech

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No doubt the 'Likes' etc on this ETO site are being mined by Faceache and others :).
I see that sort of largely irrelevant data come up every now and then so somebody obviously pays attention to that crap.

I've had my few dislikes value (-20 something?) claimed to be an accurate representation of whom I am and what I bring to the table while the vastly larger likes and other positives votes (+hundreds) were deemed irrelevant.

It was really bad data mining but it does show that some do try to use it for whatever reasons fit their agendas good or bad.
 

unclejed613

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Most Helpful Member
i had something interesting happen on youtube a few years back. i like to watch history videos about WWI, WWII and the Cold War. i started watching them during lunch break at work. after a couple of months, i started seeing the ads on youtube change. afer 3 months of watching history videos on youtube during my lunch break, i was getting ads for community colleges and such, with "hooks" like "Enhance your CIA career with online courses"... all the ads were like that, and i realized i had unintentionally spoofed the profiling bots at youtube. that doesn't work anymore, because i've got most of the tracking cookies blocked on my machine here at home. every time i go to youtube, the front page is always the same crap that i wouldn't watch anyway. my browser doesn't remember the last time i was on youtube, so i get the "generic" page. i also don't use search engines that do tracking, and i get much better results. now if i could just get rid of the amazon bait that comes up on every search. you know that amazon sells everything, literally everything. if i do a search for "Cuban Missile Crisis", there's guaranteed to be a result from amazon that says "Buy Cuban Missile Crisis online, free shipping", or if the search is "definition of isomer", amazon comes back with "buy definition of isomer online, free shipping...". what this means (and i think this is with ALL search engines) is that amazon responds to all search engines offering to sell you whatever the search phrase was, even if it's nonsense. well, that proves that no matter how "smart" amazon's algorithms are, they still fail the "Turing test", because at that point it's obvious the response is from a bot.
 

tcmtech

Banned
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I have multiple ad blocker apps and now a ad blocker blocker app installed so I don't see anything I don't want to now nor get blocked for blocking their crap and for the rare thing that does I am all too happy to run them through the blockers training modes to put them on the block lists too. ;)

Same with junk mail. I have my primary email filtered so well now it's rare to see more than 1 random spam add actually get to me on any given day. :cool:

https://adblock-pro.en.softonic.com/

https://www.ublock.org/

https://tampermonkey.net/

https://adblock-for-youtube.en.softonic.com/download

If you don't have them give them a shot, they work! :cool:
 

Mickster

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Absolutely.
Just like Microsoft is regularly referred to as microsuck, microshaft, micro$oft and all the other possible ways to not use their correct name.
 

unclejed613

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Most Helpful Member
Absolutely.
Just like Microsoft is regularly referred to as microsuck, microshaft, micro$oft and all the other possible ways to not use their correct name.
my favorite has always been "Mickeysoft" (an allusion to "mickey mouse" with the meaning of a bunch of stuff thrown together that works at least some of the time). one that i still use often is the term "Windoze"
 

Inquisitive

Super Moderator
Don't forget Microsloth.
 
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