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Jeremy Ashkenas
You know, I really hate to keep beating a downed zuckerberg, but to the extent that expensive patents indicate corporate intent and direction — Come along for a ride, and let’s browse a few of Facebook’s recent U.S.P.T.O. patent applications…
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Systems and methods of eye tracking control”, Facebook describes a system that watches your eye movements to track “the object of interest,” or “point of regard.” Special infrared LEDs are used to shine into your pupil and cornea to determine gaze.
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Soft matching user identifiers,“ Facebook describes how sending an innocuous event invite to your uploaded contact can trigger a “bounce-back” message, including cookies, device UUIDs, and other unique information for identity matching purposes.
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
Next! Facebook explains a “user influence score,” and how “the user influence score can be decreased when the sender is reported to be associated, within a specified time period, with other users who are reported to be associated with undesired content.”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In another patent, Facebook writes: “…the log may record information about actions users perform on a third party system, including webpage viewing histories, advertisements that were engaged, purchases made, and other patterns from shopping and buying”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In (now newsy!) “Dynamic enforcement of privacy settings…” FB dreams of: “a message from the social networking system to the external system requesting the external system to cease using the information obtained in the previously transmitted response.”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Sentiment polarity for users,” Facebook reads your comments for positive or negative “affinity scores”, and generates “trust scores” for strong feelings. “Data sets from trusted users are then used as a training set to train a machine learning model”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Identifying and using identities”: “A list of people known to a user is maintained.” “the people known to a user may be inferred by monitoring the actions of the user.” “identifiers also may be inferred based on indicia other than user actions.”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Implicit Contacts in an Online Social Network” Facebook says it “may determine the social-graph affinity of various social-graph entities for each other” “the overall affinity may change based on continued monitoring of the actions or relationships“
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In a new travel rec’s patent, FB writes: “The system may monitor such actions on the online social network, on a third-party system, on other suitable systems, or any combination thereof. Any suitable type of user actions may be tracked or monitored.”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @jashkenas
In our final patent, Facebook discusses advertising based on what you browse: “The social networking system monitors implicit interactions between the user and objects of the social networking system with which the user has not established a connection”
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 4
Replying to @chetfaliszek
Whew! That was a lot of patent-ese! But I think — as one might say at the Times — a portrait emerges of the kind of surveillance machine Facebook aspires to continue constructing. For a good wine pairing, follow up with ’s thread on FB+VR:
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Bhav Ashok Apr 5
Replying to @jashkenas
You just strawmanned a patent that was intended to improve accessibility, to fit your own dystopian narrative, sloppy at the least
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hagbard celine Apr 5
Every single big web or design/media company ever uses eye tracking for ui development.....u do know that?
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 5
Replying to @bhavashok
You’re welcome! I’m afraid that Facebook no longer gets the benefit of assumed good intentions in 2018. Pair with this patent that tracks your eyes and face as you scroll your newsfeed for “passive imaging data”, for some of the possibilities.
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 5
Yes! But did you know that Facebook has a patent on watching your face “during normal operation”, while scrolling your feed, to track your emotions while looking at content? Not that it’s actually happening: it’s an indication of corporate desire.
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BrendanEich Apr 5
Replying to @jashkenas
Everyone does that, though.
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 5
Replying to @BrendanEich
True! But it’s a powerful example of the kind of personal data you wouldn’t want to share with anyone you don’t deeply trust. Ex: You’re a Muslim in Myanmar. You’ve been consciously careful about your searches and your likes. Nevertheless, you have a web of implicit connections.
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 6
Replying to @jashkenas
Alright, folks — since you enjoyed the previous Facebook patent thread so much, you get a bonus round! Remember: I’m only skimming a handful of these patent applications. There are over 11,000 of them. Here we go…
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Jeremy Ashkenas Apr 6
Replying to @jashkenas
In “Activity tracking,“ FB explores how to ~“automatically sense, record and identify all types of activities such as walking, running, jogging, cycling, rowing, driving with car, bus, train, walking stairs, jumping, swimming, playing football & skiing.”
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