Has this ever happened to you?

You are browsing the Internet and maybe you look at some items and then it seems every where you go you are seeing the same things or related items that you just looked at. Maybe you abandoned a shopping cart or changed your mind about the purchase. Maybe you started filling out a form and stopped in the middle of it. They can’t possibly know what you typed, right? Or can they?

In an article by Motherboard.com, they cite a study done by Princeton University about boundaries. Or rather “No Boundaries.” How do you think Pinterest or Facebook or other social media sites get the information? There are sites such as FullStory that allow website owners to capture every keystroke a user makes. They use “session replay” scripts to capture what the customers are doing on their sites. You can see some of the major companies who use fullstory.com here.

Now more than ever it is important to read websites’ terms and conditions. They may collect things like medical conditions, personal data, credit card info. Passwords may even be “accidently” included in the data.

So what can you do? Run AdBlock Plus in your browser. According to the Princeton study, AdBlock has been updated to block all these scripts, thanks to the study.

This video shows FullStory capturing a user’s data as it is being entered into a form.

Terms of Use

A member of the Victor crew just finished a thriller book obtained through Amazon Prime’s KindleFirst program. It is called Terms of Use by Scott Allan Morrison. The premise is there is a social network called Circles. They undergo a cyber attack. Soon one of the workers is murdered and the main character, Sergio Mansour, uncovers evidence of a conspiracy but he has somehow become the suspect.

On the run with his new girlfriend, Malina, they try to figure out what is going on. Not knowing it in the beginning, Sergio finds out Malina’s sister was murdered and blames it directly on Circles. Not knowing who he can trust he works it out with Malina and they continue to find the truth.

The crux of the mystery is that what was found was “socialbots,” bots that parade as people and interact with people and learn using AI algorithms. The bots were going to be used in a bigger plot to sway people to vote for a certain president whose agenda was to bring the US to own over a third of the earth’s rare earth metals. Once in, a Chinese diplomat was going to blackmail him into not doing this as China would lose out a lot of their economy over this.

The scary part was reading about what the socialbots did. How many times do we “friend” someone that is a friend of a friend that we don’t know. That is how the socialbots got onto so many contact lists. You figure, hey they know them so they must be ok. Then the ideas from their feeds find their way onto your feed and can sway the population that easily. When people signed up, it was said their profile could be used in experimentation and since they clicked the button it was ok. How many of us read the terms of use pages, really? Something to think about.

Other Uses for Social Media

Maybe you love, maybe you hate it but social media is here to stay. Many people used it as their lifeline during the past storm in Texas, known as Harvey. Many used Twitter or Facebook or Instagram to let people know they were in stuck and needed to be rescued. Still others used social media to let people know they were able to help.

The U.S. Coast Guard preferred for people to call them or 911 but people had trouble getting through. People even turned to Airbnb to offer their homes as shelters for those in need. The Hurricane Harvey Texas Rescue Facebook group offered ways to help those trapped or in need of rescue.

What’s Google up to?

Jody Victor’s crew came across a few news items about Google that we’d like to relate to you:

Google Glass
Google Glass will not longer be available in its present state after today. They are pulling the plug on the Explorer Program. You can still purchase it at $1,500.00 through the Play store. With this, if you have already purchased it, don’t expect any updates.

Searching Bands, Events
Google is making it easier to search for your faves. Try entering a band name – you will see on the right of the search places to hear the band’s music (or even purchase it), a list of upcoming events with links to the different areas, a row of their public profiles with social media, Google+ posts and links to a search for each of the members. In some cases you can even purchase tickets to the event from the search. Any company can add the social media to their official site by following these instructions.

Yesterday while wondering who won the latest football games, we simply put “football” in the search bar and the latest scores and game times popped right up.

Softcard
Google may be positioning itself to compete with Apple Pay as it is rumored it is in talks with Softcard. They would integrate Softcard with their Google Wallet to create a creditable rival with Apple Pay. (The first thing I would do is get rid of “Tappy”, their “spokesperson” that is reminiscent of the old Microsoft paperclip office assistant.)

Jody Victor® talks about Pinterest

What is Pinterest you might ask? Jody Victor® wanted to know what it is. Here is what he found out:

Pinterest calls itself a “Virtual Pinboard“.

You can make a board and categorize the objects. You can have followers: people who like your pins may decide to follow you to track your pins. You can put an icon on the top of your browser and while surfing the web, you can click it on a page with a picture you like and you have a pin. You must be logged into Pinterest at the time to use it. If there’s a pin on someone else’s board that you like and want to put on yours, you can “repin” it. You can also “like” a pin.

Even counselors are using Pinterest according to this article in Wired, Jody Victor has found. Also there have been people that used it to plan a big event, like a wedding. You can pin the items that catch your eye so you don’t forget them.

Do you use Pinterest? Or do you think this is just something else that will eventually fade away? Jody thinks you should try it and find out…