« Reveal

Harpooned by Facebook

2019-08-03 | 🔗

As smart devices become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, we look at how Facebook and other companies gather information about their users and turn it into profits. 

Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey, it is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now, for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter. For more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restoring did about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks. Like this, the fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars. Luckily we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
It takes time and it cost money. If you believe in the work we do the absolute best way to support us is by becoming a member of reveal to do it just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven standard data rates apply and you can text stop or cancel at any time also all new members who donate at least five dollars a month. We get our facts, t shirt again just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven, and all you who already support our work. I would offer a deep sincere thanks. We can't do this work without being willing afforded twenty twenty. We have big things plan, so, let's go to some good work together. From the centre for investigative reporting in p r eggs bliss is reveal a mallet faced
has been in the headlines. Align the company recently got hit with the biggest fine ever from the Federal Trade Commission. Five Billy dollars for violating users, privacy and security, but our bordered need Harrison. Who is here with me now has been digging into a case that gives us a new look behind the scenes to make. How did you find out about this story we're out beyond us? It was kind of a night like any other When I got out to see my buddies banned on more street in San Francisco and it's a display CUP Cafe Du Nord, which is like literally an underground club with the doors open up, and you descend this old, victorian staircase. Then, when you get to the bottom of the flight, beautiful old bar opens up on your right in front of them. Operated stage: why Have you not taken me here, man? I am remiss in my duties of the San Francisco. I gotta get you down there to this club. This place is great So next time you go, I'm going with you. Please continue, and so you know.
Belly up to the bar. I order ski and I'm sitting there sip on it when they are being goes to set break, lead singer, whose a good buddy gets down off stage, and he sees me sit there and he goes a mate. You gotta talk this guy Next D, J r he's got a heck of a good story for you. Why is this? How you kid scoops I mean not all the time, but generally get. Is this? How just being alive? People got great stories detail right, so you sit down. Next sky, J yard. He starts talking. What does he have to say? basically says you know James, I'm an attorney and he's got this ass action lawsuit against facebook- and he says to me- If you really want to understand how Facebook operate, I mean, if you want to understand the business ethics of this company. You gotta, look at this case, I'm workin on and that's how I met GLONASS buoyant and made Iverson twice the region,
so me take you back to a full day in Phoenix Arizona back in two thousand and eleven. It's like hot This is like even an unusually hot day for Phoenix, not quite cool enough forecasts to be back out playing outside so Blueness bohemian son in these two. But the time he's do not all will Kizil a hot day he's playing video games at his age. I would often use his gaming time as a little bit of trade off for doing homework. Few get you work your schoolwork down your chores, done your homework done. Then you can have gaming. He goes any kids on the computer, he loads of Facebook and he starts playing a game Ninja saga, I don't play games on Facebook, so does Facebook these games like how does it work? No, what Facebook did was opened up its platform for outside companies. Develop these games that are then loaded on Facebook. So kids, like you, complain, but their free right here on the face of it there free, but if you want to do something, exe
I like get a magical sword for your ninja or just like make it more powerful to do that. He has to spend money and facebook. It gets a thirty percent cut in that cell. He had approached me with his tour money to get access to me, Don't play this in an injury saga, so union and grabbed twenty dollar bill, but he earned during his chores and hands into his mom. I said: ok I'll handle, but my credit card you mean, you're, twenty dollars and none. I loaded my credit card in the system and he proceeded to start playing the game so takes off. She goes and hangs out with some friends and doesn't think another thing about it until she gets back to the house, and my husband said that while Spargo Called- and I thought- oh, I hope so
isn't gonna shopping spree with my card, so she goes and she logs under Orwell's forego credit card account and she sees a string of charges. Dollars fifty dollars. Fifty cars, twenty dollars, twenty one transactions on the backside of this paper totalling almost a thousand bucks, so when I pulled that account on the computer and I see face but Facebook face what face like what, school going. What is all this? She thought that her son it asked to spend twenty dollars and then just compulsively kept spending. Oh yeah, I'm like Michael What have you been doing with my credit card and like look at the statement of the thousand dollars in charges from Facebook. What have you been doing with my card? So I don't have it car mom- I don't know what you're talking about, and so she says, will load the game on Facebook and show me what you did, and so you, loads it up and he starts playing and he's playing the game s ring. In Belgium, whistles and dwindling lingering lingering you no kind of noises, and
and the stock of coins, got small like two coils and it would blink out and. Linking blinking bleeding at him and then he hid it and and shot up another was this big tall stack of gold coins and nothing else popped up, and then he started to play, again and she doesn't see him, spend any money and then he that's all I've been doing so she goes and she logs back into the credit card, account and sure enough brand new charge of ninety ninety five. Facebook, has toward her credit card and she's not used to this because every time ie and wanted to spend money on his xbox, she would have to go over and re enter her credit card, but on Facebook nothing popped up and sad. Do you want to proceed with this transaction of nineteen? Ninety five, nothing But all you could racket hundreds of dollars without ever realising it oh, I was so
they had. I was like this is so wrong with you stop payment with bank like what happened with her? So she tried to reach out to Facebook emails emails. Emails should try to find a phone number to call him. She left voice messages for them. Never heard back, never got a response. Finally, she reaches out to your credit card and she says: look my son evidently spent this money I realise that it was in clear and her credit card company said well We can we find the money for you, but you have to file a criminal complaint, essentially a criminal felony complaint against your son. For spending nearly a thousand dollars. Without your permission, She didn't want to do that and she realised that she probably wasn't the only one facing this. My feelings were that this could have impact it a lot of people on a lot of families. So back in two thousand and eleven she reaches out to a lawyer. Dare Parker J Airport,
the same guy that I sat down next do in that barred San Francisco, and that was it they began finding other people that has happened to and what's happened to a lot of folks and they turned into a class action lawsuit. It's a what happens during that lawsuit well Germany's colleagues want to know a bunch of stuff they want to know. Much children were spending on these games, how much neatly in their parents were trying to claw back from Facebook They wanted to know. Wind Facebook realised that this was a problem and what they did to try to stop it. Glimpses lawyers in facebooks go back and forth and eventually- decide to settle two important things happen. The first is that Facebook. Greece to create an easier way for kids and parents to ask for a refund, but they don't actually forced developers to stop doing what they ve been doing. The second thing
is that all the information gathered in this case is sealed. It gets buried in it. Courthouse in San Jose and that's where would estate, but they didn't networks by my office and says: if you have some time later today, I'd really love to talk to you. I turned a reveals lawyer in absolute hero, Vicki Baron asking so he gave me the doktor. I went and did a deep dive into it and start over in two ways that we could file emotion, too unseal. So basically that mean she asked the court to make that evidence public. So this is protected by the first amendment, and common law have acts to quote records goes really far back in time. You can trace back to back to the british judicial says I'm not gonna, go into that history right now, but these are real lay strong rights and so
They argue that is especially important for the public to know about this stuff. Given the privacy troubles, Facebook has gotten into recent, We tried it out the history of this company. You know it He says judges, Cambridge Analytical, where they have not earned the trust of public, and so after we filed the brief facebook file their brief, we filed a response. Facebook files or respond The court does a review and, oh, I think I was too three months later, the court came back and issued an order and whatever the court said, we want well almost completely across the board. You know I always temper everything, but it was. It was a little. It was a bit of a celebration, so we
information. We got memos strategies employ emails more than a hundred and fifty pages of stuff, and so would you find out I'm going to these documents, for the first time, at least for me, is a nerdy journalist was like reading a thriller There was one email exchange between to employees and their referring to a child as a whale and a well of course, as a turn at the casino industry uses to describe spender. You know something that flies in our private jet, but it was a fifteen year old girl. Now one of these, book employee says: would you refund this whale ticket? Referring to this child would just spent six thousand in five hundred dollars in a couple weeks, and when child realised what she had done. She asked for a refund, but the facebook in lay in her supervisor, actually joked about how the girl looks more like thirteen in her picture and then the supervisor,
just comes out and says it. I wouldn't refund its six thousand five hundred bucks for a kid who Probably does not have that money, which means are parents have to come up with that money to meet she's grounded for like until she's on social security. Material that we got on sealed. It begins to give us clues as to how Howitt child might spend thousands of dollars, and you know it wasn't just documents that we got marked exhibit thirty five. We actually also got audio from the interviews that glitters his attorney J R did with Facebook employs tomorrow this document. Yes, what is it We'll Richardson is in charge of all payments at Facebook, is a discussion thread post which summarised data also. She here is where we learn that Facebook did a study and identified this problem the way back in two thousand and eleven that's when they first noticed there getting lots of reach
request from credit card companies trying to claw back money from Facebook, they're called chargebacks, and if you have a charge back rate of two percent, that will trade commission will actually say: that's a red flag for fraud, but when it came to games that children played on Facebook, total amount being charged back was nine percent and Facebook knew about this? Well, before the losses and that push bug briskly since it is not our current policy to issue refunds in cases when charges were made by someone in your house. Well, there's someone who is known to you said yes, West Africa and so Facebook had come up with a solution to this problem. Kids would just after reentered the first six digits of their parents, Craig, card number before they could spend more money, but Facebook has never other than this. Specific testing has never actually
impose that rule on minor transactions for six digits of a credit card be imported per transaction. Is that correct not on my recollection, but they never implemented it. So Facebook knew this was a problem and decided not to do anything about it. They knew that their children or unwittingly, spending their parents money. In fact, they started calling it friendly fraud, which is firm that comes from the credit card industry, but face what sort of redefined it to mean when child would spend their parents money without their parents, knowing so They gave it a name but decided not to fix it. Why? Well out, we got a whole email that might actually answer that question. A facebook employ studied this problem and wrote to his bosses. This extra step of adding in credit card numbers would cut in companies revenue back then Facebook was making about
five hundred million dollars on social games like Ninja saga, Facebook, never adopted the rule, that's why GLONASS is filed this lawsuit, Michael? and it's the reason that she and her son had to fly all the way to San Francisco to sit down in front of facebooks attorneys. To answer their questions, now we can get to talk with. For the story, but we were able to get a hold of the court recordings of him being deposed. His back and twenty four after INA just finish the eighth grade. Isn't it true that exactly what you meant. Purchases When he found out you scare, you brought her to a different cage. And then just indeed something different. They got you coins and when faced puts eyes evidence you're, not gonna change. Your story, then, are you you understand
perjury. Your system is possible to five years in jail. Yes, you're, not gonna change your testimony and that that is hard. I would not like it. If these lorries will grilling my kid that way, the goodness felt the same way my stomach her and I was just fallen nerves because I had set there be quiet, So it was upsetting me that that I couldn't protected the way that I wanted to say What is the story about is a story about a tech company that just grew too fast. Something more sinister. Well, Facebook knew it duping kids into spending money, even designed a solution to fix that problem, but it never implemented it because it would hurt facebooks revenues. So what this lawsuit did with this story shows is the culture the decision making inside a facebook now, in the end, because of the law
Glenn, as any other people did get their money back, but TAT was about it. That's really what I wanted I didn't go at this late I'm gonna make a bunch of money off Facebook cut in make any money. I did it for the principle of the thing because I heard my guy in my mind. They were doing the wrong thing. Thinking about this, you, the lawsuit didn't actually addressed through problem, is still possible for kids to spend their parents money without realizing it correct, there's ring but what has been the impact of your reporting- is anybody doing anything to actually stop that. So part of the settlement. Facebook beefed up its reform policy for children, but You know I was reading through their website recently, and I found that they still let gained calipers get away with a charge back rate. That is more than double what the government says should be a red flag for deceptive behaviour.
Now, since date started reporting on this story, a dozen chow, safety and online privacy groups filed a complaint with the federal trade commissioner. Calling on them to investigate Facebook. In their letter, they said Facebook has a callous disregard for young people and a culture that prioritize profits over people. Has this happened to you Have you, kids, wrecked of unexpected charges from games on Facebook gives? We want to hear from you and we to share with you some resources to help you navigate what to do next reach out by taxing charge. Two nine zero three two zero one. Twenty one, twenty three standard taxing rates apply again that charge see our g to nine zero, three, two zero one, twenty one, twenty three When we come back made has asked
about even bigger spenders, bigger whales and how they get hooked. That's on revealed from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs, yeah from the centre for investigative reporting and p r ex this is reveal a mallet facebook exploited children to make big money, but it didn't stop there reveals need how recent is back in the studio with another story, about Facebook and innate this again, something you just kind of stumbled all do right, Yemen, it was me in a body. In the dead of winter we went into Yosemite up to the ski hut in the mountains You two track way back there to find this thing in the sun set and was getting cold and we got to the front door this little hut and opens up and all light coming close out and insight
Is this feast they ve laid out on the table, so we drop our packs, grab beer sit down and joint people- and I have- to sit next to a dude who worked for a tech company. San Francisco. Any begin to tell me the store, this dark story about, sure, casinos and how they were taking advantage of their users. All with the help of Facebook, we what? What exactly is a social casino trees games? You play bundled together slot machines, roulette pokers, you play him on Facebook or you can download and up on your phone, so people are getting into trouble with yeah I mean on the surface, is sound super innocent right I mean for a slot machine. You open it up. He hit tap to spin it right, but underneath is this technology. This deeply sufficed. Dictated technology designed to hook people to spend it much money as possible and, as I said, reporting the story. I met somebody who felt deep into that trap,
Susie Kelly is a grandma from suburban Dallas on the outside wonderful life, five, you to go, she and her husband, chalk and almost paid off their house in a quiet tree line neighbourhood, a pool in the back yard? surrounded by a little safety fence to keep the granddaughter from falling in their cautious. Like that, I end by a retirement home down on the Texas Coastline, or at least that was the plan. Then one day Susie sat down to watch judged. Usually there was a car. For big fish casino. I thought it was accepted. No casino burst, and then I realized it was a game- they said play for fun. Play for free, why so I realize it was an app download it now and I was bored restless or something, but I figure, but the happy now just download it and see Susie got free chips, you downloaded the game, but when those free chips ran out
you need to buy more if she wanted to keep playing. I had this chips from the day, not even so, I figured well, you know our purchase a little small package, so she bought should ships for ninety ninety nine them those ran out to them. Where's, the forty nine. Ninety nine. Ninety nine, I would say by, spending these two hundred thousand dollars and thousands of dollars. Point then within the first man Susie spent about eight thousand dollars that first four month, eight thousand. How much could you win playing big casino, real money, zero. Nothing at all. When any money from big fish casino. That's why they don't pay money. They only take money to give a virtual chips to continue play on. There are two: you can ever win your money back. Cannot win any money back nicer, and this is crazy thing.
Social casinos, it's not like tradition, gambling. In fact, social casino exists, don't call a gambling, they say it's just entertainment, is he can never win her money back she's playing in part for the social aspect. The game meeting. Other players developing online friendships. Friends are here and they're all over the world and they really like you and we're having fun and as crazy. As this sounds even when I say it out loud that Kay my new life, my new world. This was my family and friends. Susie helping daily to keep her new friends close, sometimes playing around the clock falling asleep with her? in her hand, tapping or phone to spin spin spin waiting for that beautiful Does that sound of winning chips but Susie knew something was wrong. I lost myself in this game. That's The truth I literally got lost and lost me and the same time
in that game in that out, less than a year after she downloaded the big fish casino up, Susie had lost control should spend more than forty thousand dollars, forty thousand playing Free game on your iphone she'd taken out a homo alone to pay down critical debt from the game. Her husband, Chuck, didn't know She was terrified, he'd, find out Susie Relays truth of what was happening. I have an addiction gaming. I didn't realize that you can have that, but that's the truth I needed out so one day she opened the and we hope to their customer service. Simple message with a simple subject line it read: can I count I wrote even though I love the app I just Do this anymore. I've maxed out my ex twice and don't want to go for three,
please let me know when the account will be closed, thanks to be closely account. No sir, it's at this point that Susie story moves from being about addiction to being about manipulation, two days after Susie sends that message: her phone rings it I mean calling himself Byron Scott and he says he works for big fish casino. What did you want to talk about on the phone? said. He was my vip representative with big fish Siena. A vip host is what LAS Vegas casinos provide for their biggest spenders. People flying on private jets. Now Susie Emma from suburban Dallas has a vip host for the game, she's playing on her phone and Byron. He pushes her to keep playing. He gives her be chips, and he doesn't closer account, will this relationship with Byron, Scott. What are they become? This was a daily thing back and forth, always like a friend,
He would send me an hour the gives every Christmas we'd get packages applying it. This is going to sound crazy, but it was like a friend The baron Scott is not Susie's friend I find out. It's not even his real name. What Susie doesn't know Is it the game? Is monitoring and tracking her she plays Byron is part of us estimated system. The clicks date honour and targets her to spend more and more he's trying to maximize with the social casinos, call her l, tv or if time, value in simple terms that training much money as possible from Susie. I guys think is much more. Have me. Who's got some sort of social casino application right now. This is Jose proteins. Speaking at a text, since in two thousand thirteen he calls himself the grandfather of social casinos hosting
what for ristocrat leisure, the company that now owns big fish casino and he explained why social casinos need vip programs. You ve gotta think that about percent of your users are going to be generating eighty to ninety percent of the value for the company, because these people, whales, any designed the vip system to closely monitor them. What we attempt to do with our vip and loyalty programmes is to ensure that we have very close relationship with our vips, the we're tracking. What is their experience like? What are they up too? Are they plan? Are they and so far it's been extremely helpful. These slot machine games are using big data and behavioral analysis software to hunt down target and trap those big spenders, those whales. This doesn't almost science fiction regime. Parliament had lapsed and should have we been able to bring them around and start to get them to again for Jose. This was all business in big profits.
But for some of his employs it was disturbing through use technology to fleece gambling attics. No The former employees I spoke with want to be named. They feared company might come after them in court, but they told me Susie story was all too common one player couldn't her prescription medicines because she gone broke playing the game. Another woman, her home, was in foreclosure. They told me these players were addicted. Companies are doing nothing to help them. One forward I said at some point You realize this is gone way. Past entertainment, but one story really stuck with me from a woman who was a VIP house like Byron? She was so disturbed by what they were doing then
every day she would find a quiet place somewhere in their office and cry cry because of what they were doing to people like soup. There were days where I would spend five six. Under dollar, sometimes even more in one day, and it was just the social casinos that were making big money. Facebook was cashing in two Susie was buying her virtual chips through Facebook, which was getting a thirty percent cut. She originally used apples Appstore, which also took a cut by and told her that Facebook had better deals on ships and made it easier to spend money. There is nothing to stop and think are you sure you want to buy? This is just it was click and on X. Only easy so easy. She says fuelled her addiction. I asked you see if I can see how much money she spent She loves indoor, Facebook account and squirrels down.
They are see all two hundred and forty nine. Ninety nine two hundred and forty nine million. This is one two three four five, six, seven, eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen keyword lies all of them. Two hundred and forty nine mediator and urges going through it? Facebook was making a killing on these games and the even talked about it. A tech conferences, it's another one category on Facebook is Julian Cordin, no the director of facebooks global network of game developers and twenty fourteen, it's a category that never stops growing. Every year we see new companies coming up with amazing games. Launching on Facebook lunch you I'm about making You should get money. The social casino industry has gone from essentially no revenues ten years ago to now being off five billion dollars a year industry? That's almost big is the whole LAS Vegas Strip. And social casinos are growing so fast suit, their expected to overtaken and Facebook. Is driving that growth with
massive advertising reach. Facebook can target and show social casino adds to the people it calculates are most likely to spend huge amount of money. The wheels it's very good for giving up he's, because they can decide to target on Facebook on, whereby you know, specific users are just the whales and how to do that Facebook analyzes its Database of personal information on its almost tune billion users after that unifies? Who will be the biggest spenders? It charges a premium to social casinos, to advertise to those whales, this practice of profit, from social casinos made at least an executive at Facebook. Uneasy I uncovered a car initial email from SAM lessen the former President of product management. He told me, look founder Mark Zuckerberg. I am not proud of this. We are currently extolling gain companies that make online slot machines. As positive exam
most of those willing to pay our fees and fine with it just now proud of it the emails from two thousand and twelve, when these sure. Casinos were just starting to take off a year later, awarded Jose Bruton, social casino. As one of games of the year had no idea? This is going. I I've taken what I've learned back to Susie, and we're sitting in her living room I'm showing her internal company documents which were leaked me. We can see how Jose Britain's created the VIP programme to track players by their facebook, Idee, monitor their spending and entice them with gifts. I was up all night apply just money, if you like their targeting here addiction, absolutely for me, that's like why? In the weakest person and
Roy their life, you not. I mean, let's find the person that is gonna, just go bonkers over this Let's taken for everything they got and they took nearly He think Susie had and not just your money, a moment she ll, never get back, she remembers sitting. Her dying mothers bedside my moms hospital on her death bed I'm playing plain stupid gang login get my bonus. I mean what the heck was. I thinking. After Susie's mom died, she saved a sizeable inheritance, she spent it on Facebook on big fish, casino chips and again she tried to quit. May second, two thousand sixteen raw. This is right. After my mom passed a bearing. Can you please grandly my account Did he go onto the delete, your account? No sir, not now
did he give you more free chips and I started to pen and pay and pay and Bay insane amounts of money. All told Susie would spend more than four hundred thousand dollars and then there was chuck her husband. She could keep her spending hidden forever. She had to tell him I sat down, I said: do not really want to talk to an end is what's going on. Spend a lot of money on that big fish. Casino is why I realise that I said now: I spent a lot of money and take up as I remember this I said- I'm sorry Chuck. I think we might lose and it won't lose everything you Tom, She lost. I posed start counting up. Three hundred thousand, that's a scary thought. When you see those purchases like, oh my god, it's his day after day after day, you know mean, and for and it was
beyond scary. He got up and left. I just sat down on the floor and sir Crying and Jackson and George came over me and those are dogs her. I was pet them and I said, to have coming back and wooded Susie do that night. I was already bats plan since it was a thousand dollars playing the game. That night up, it's like when things got bad, that's where I will soon have to happen, in fact at a real casino. If this was a customer in the legalise regulated space, we would say absolutely you should exclude her from play. This is Keith what executive director of the National Council on problem gambling in Washington, a nonprofit to provide help for peace. Suffering from gambling addiction. He says social casino game, seven addiction raid five times,
higher than regular casinos in the. U s alone, you're talking well over a hundred million people who are report, playing somewhat regularly on social casino apps. That's a pretty! I it's an incredibly high number, no one's tracking this, because it's it's not being regulated social casinos able to avoid regulation because again they claim it's not real gambling. It's just entertainment, that's the argument they ve made so are successfully to state regulators who oversee casinos and that lack of oversight least people like Susie Vote This is in some ways, pure addiction. So you would tell someone who has a massive cocaine problem? Why don't you just stop or right on that, but we know it's not can be very effective in the same way. Someone severe gangway problem. They can't just stop in a special You then continue to provide them with ships. With the
objective their addiction with access to this, but Susie did try to stop firing. Can you please block close to a dozen times Susie asked big fish casino to close her account to stop letting spend more hay. Barn can place gradually MIKE. Are you sure you want me to leave? Please blocks last July. My account, please think it over. This is more likely to blocker I'd love to offer you a super special deal. Please please, please and then in camps I put delete my account. Please please, please delete my account and that's a very clear call for help. That's a very specific request, a showcase Byron response, and again, are you sure you want to delete you sure you want me to delete it? Susie yeah! This is just. I mean it's absolutely predatory, I mean it should be an acceptable,
I stayed an interview with aristocrat leisure, the parent company of big fish casino they declined, but send me a statement that reads: import their game. Companies are dedicated to delivering great entertainment experiences. We strive to ensure that our social games comply with all applicable standards, rules and requirements. I reach out to some one else. Remember that top Facebook eggs give same lesson who told me Sucker Burg, he wasn't proud. They were promoting slot machine companies. I sit down Tell him what happened Susie. She spending over four hundred thousand dollars playing a slot machine game. He no, it sounds disgusting rate for sure you know we're gonna have to live in a world where both very very good people and very bad people have better tools These they SAM lesson is a technology investor and influential voice in Silicon Valley. He won't discuss his time at Facebook, but speaking generally,
He says companies are gathering information on specific people and delivering tailored adds to them. Is this happening everywhere. I'm pretty you mean, I think, do we want. For targeted ads from beer companies, alcoholics. Do we want paper targeted ads from casinos to gambling attics and that the suffering of others saving human answers. Now, of course, we know what those things right like no thinking person is like that's great, the question is: will ok, let's be really clear? What what rule do you want to write ray, and how are you the force tat. I wanted to talk to Facebook to quickly about its role in social casinos, but they turned us for an interview instead Experts and sent us a written statement that says we all They provide people with controls around the ads. They see the coming year, we're looking too
they can even stronger, as well as exploring additional safeguards and they added we understand that certain games or products can impacts people differently than others, Rebecca Susie's house. On a hot night outside Dallas Susie. Joined to twelve step programme for attics and is fine, They stop. Spending money on big fish and Susie has been chuck formed out when he learned how much she spent here Thank God for long did you ever contemplate? Leaving me there was. What was going through my mind when I left, but that was never gonna happen. We ve been together for thirty two years, I'm not gonna, throw away. Thirty two years of happiness, because she must stop in my mind, Sir, was circuit. What do we need to do to fix this realise that if I took out
long from I for one k that we could probably struggle to get by. You know we're still catching up at this point. Can I give you my dinner? I love you. I love you too big for you and on two would have it takes to make things right here and help you with anything, you need, go, eat, dinner, Susie Jelly join a class action loss it last year against big fish, asking for her money back there, a pseudo wedges. These social signals are illegal. Gambling in the companies it matters. They said they couldn't comment on lawsuit, except to say they are fighting it vigorously in a moment will work further into the new frontier,
companies watch our every move then turn our personal data into profits. That's not going to need permission for that s created you listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting in p eggs. This is reveal an outlets in and back reporter Ning Haversack ere. I mentioned In this hour, we heard you get tips from stories at a dive bar in San Francisco, which you didn't invite me do a ski in the middle of nowhere, which you definitely didn't invite me to end. If I understand this last story correctly, it starts in you, all living room, which you haven't invited me to now. That is it. I came home one day after work, plop down and the television turned on
a tv and this little window pops up and what to say, says, I'm entitled to money from a class action lawsuit against my tv maker video. Video denies wrong doing, but the lawsuit alleged, video violated privacy and consumer laws by collecting viewing data for sale to advertisers like video was watching? what you watched It was like they were watching me watch the tv you know tracking. When I watch and then selling matter advertisers What kind of reminded me of how Susie from our last story was being tracked? Does she played the game? Is that legal? I honour he didn't know, but I wanted to know, but you had your hands for with Facebook stories, and so we ask reveals actually kind of Roger to take it from here If you want to learn about new tvs, there's a pretty good place to start work in this department. Yes, in the tv to Burma here, I'm in the best buy in downtown
walking through some other would like to see is that most of these now have a built in computer that lets you stream from any service. The Netflix by any press. It did you write. The Netflix has again facing now take you write to Amazon Prime, giving place autism stuff to leave and shop on your tv next year, the Taliban. They're also one of the cheapest. So how do you sell high death, big screen, tvs that can connect to the internet for just a couple hundred bucks and we saw us all. The them were best buys. Will we do video based in southern California? Is one of the two biggest makers, a smart tvs, they're, also one of the cheapest. So how do you sell high death, big screen, tvs that can connect to the internet for just a couple hundred bucks? Will, it seems, like you're, actually helping offset the costs, while you watch through advertising
see their smart tvs were tracking what you watch and selling that data to advertisers without asking that's You need permission for that s, creepy, creepy and completely under the radar. Until that is someone figured out what was going on Ok, my name is rusty and I was a security researcher at a vast, a vast is accompanied them. Makes antivirus software and back in twenty fifteen Ross, a few colleagues were working at their office in Austin. They wanted did these new smart tvs protect your privacy, so they barred the company credit card and one of every major brand and of all of them. Busier was the easiest to hack,
they got inside the TVS operating system. They noticed it was up to something there's a a server that would go on, Ameriky start sending information to, and we see that it sending this information want to. Second, every second, the tv was uploading, a finger made out of the pixels on your screen, then it should be able to compare that fingerprint to a database and you'll figure out what show it is that you're watching and win. So, let's say you're watching your favorite cable news show resident is delivering on his promise. To buy American and it takes a snapshot? And if you flip over the net It takes a snapshot even if you watch something kindest steamy from your own dvd collection
you really rather keep private parties record. You guessed it. There was a second by second, record of everything you watch the then got uploaded matched to a database of tv shows and movies and sold to advertisers raw says most view, I had no idea as a consumer. You want to trust the companies that are creating the products that used to not violate your privacy or trust them to be secure, but really what the reality is that you, you can't trust them smart and buying going hand in hand when it comes to videos. Tv for viewers can be tracked across. Phones across their computer crossed everything, and you know it's really interesting, as there is really no law that says many tv manufacture cannot do this so that european law America! That's! When the Federal Trade Commission tuned in the
to see started. Investigating the YO and the fall of two thousand fifteen. This is Kevin Moriarty. A lawyer at the empty sea and for him flags went up Because, on the one hand, visit was saying nothing about tracking to consumers, but on the other hand, they were bragging about it to investors, saying that they can offer the most accurate, real time. Information about. What people are watching? Essentially that hey look? We have this massive trow of television viewing data that tells us all of these minutes details about the television viewing habits of vision, consumers. While the government was getting their case going. There was another case against physio. This one was a class action lawsuit One of their arguments was that busier violated something called the video Privacy Protection ACT along ridden back in the eighties when people run
movies on VHF. At the time Ronald Reagan had nominated conservative judge, Robber Borg to the Supreme Court. Bork testified that the constitution didn't guarantee a general right to pray. But be that as it may, let me illustrate my objection to what this guy Why is right of privacy suppose so? An enterprising reporter at a DC paper went to Judge Box Video store, asked for a listed the nominees rental history and put it in the paper two salacious one slightly troubling movie, the Michael Douglas Thriller STAR Chamber about a clandestine group of judges who take law into their own hands in which it wasn't the thing that ultimately killed, works nomination, but it didn't debate. Lawmakers too quickly pass this act, video rentals private.
Personal privacy with respect to the rental, Burgess or delivery of video types or similar audio visual materials and the use of live that thirty year old law give class action, lawyers the grounds to soothe easier for Golly sharing the current version of viewers, video rental history and in twenty eighteen it led seventeen million dollar settlement and that message that pop up unaids tv screen. Meanwhile, the empty seats government agency that regulates our privacy. Is relying on an even older law created during the FDA administration, to curb deceptive and unfair business practices. So this is a law that was passed in nineteen thirty, eight in Congress, certainly what thinking about computers or the internet, or smart televisions when it passed in, and so one of the challenges that the FCC has is too fly this law in an area that is really unanticipated by the original statute, eventually, visual settled with the government
for two point: two million dollars the company also agreed to delete is much data as they could from people who didn't give permission and going forward to have really clear language, giving consumers the option to share their viewing data or not. Meanwhile, the person who came up with physio tracking software is philosophical about. Getting sued by the F, tc and class action lawyers, his name is ever knew Meyer and he's the head of videos, Smart tv data, tracking division. He compares the lawsuits to the story of Abraham in the Bible. Abraham is a good day why this God put Abraham for so much cleave. It gives apprehend the most amount of grief and says: look. He still believes God is so pleased with Abrahams devotion that he bless his family and promises they will multiply and take over the cities of their enemies. Biblically speaking, I think that is safe
that visit was tested and in the end, rewarded, because video gotta help right the new rules for the whole smart tv industry and were able to sit down and tat with them, and that's why I don't mind that so much because the end result is that We now have privacy regime for television I can be proud of, and we had cuffed it He says visual now holds the gold standard for disclosure. Something the rest of the internet should lie get as a model, but the company kind of, like the devices they sell, is a black box about how it all works. We asked to see some of the details that we're in videos class action, lawsuit but alive if it was under seal and said I didn't want to talk about it. I cannot get into the details of the sediment notice. For a variety of reasons. That's why reveal filed a motion in court to unseal the information, so we can better understand
The growing market place of data were still waiting for the court to decide. In the meantime, zoom in You are still bullish on the companies big data future they recently partnered with Disney NBC and other companies to make a massive new push to use all that data to put tailored ads on your set, and even your other smart devices by twenty twenty. But is there anything to stop these targeted ads from selling addictive products to the most addicted people? like we heard in the last story, ass, a complicated questions The answer is, you will find an example of gambling being promoted tool to gambling attics using all technology and new technology and technology the technology. It does not fix basic human nature. The market, however, does the market fixes these things pretty quickly, actually
fasten the regulators and anyway the regulators. They don't seem to have the same faith in the market that Sab does and they're trying to step up their game in May. The empty seats chairman asked Congress to up to their antiquated laws and to give the money to hire more help. He counted forty regulators at the empty see working on protecting all Americans privacy online. The UK, for example, with a much smaller population, has about five hundred that story from reveals actually scanned Roger, who also was Lee producer for this week, show along with any Anti ds. Cortez talk utilities editor. This thanks. Victoria Baroness key for illegal help, thanks also to our director of tv documentary, Amanda Pike and to David Richard Nicky, Frick Zack, southward Tom Parliament Angie today, Ski, did Bartle
A prodigy manders, Moyne Dana Hawser original score sound designed by the dynamic. Do a J Breezy, Mr Jim breaks ever Nando, my man, YO, a router or seal, was just a sharper met. Thompson is our editor in chief executive producer is given Solomon. Our theme is because, by comrade of lightning support for a visa provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John D and CAP N T Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for innovation, the housing, Simons Foundation, the democracy fund and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a Co. Production of centre for investigative affording MP are Ex I'm Alison and remember. There is always more to the story. yeah.
These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads, telling stories that matter. And this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final pics of our end of the year membership campaign? We depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven state of data rates apply and you can stop or cancel. Time again just takes a word reveal to four seven four, seven, four seven let's go. Do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.