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Rhett Jones

You may have seen the ads that Facebook has been running on TV in a full-court press to apologize for abusing users privacy. They’re embarrassing. And, it turns out, they may be a sign of things to come. Based on a recently published patent application, Facebook could one day use ads on television to further violate your privacy once you’ve forgotten about all those other times.

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, the patent is titled “broadcast content view analysis based on ambient audio recording.” () It describes a system in which an “ambient audio fingerprint or signature” that’s inaudible to the human ear could be embedded in broadcast content like a TV ad. When a hypothetical user is watching this ad, the audio fingerprint could trigger their smartphone or another device to turn on its microphone, begin recording audio and transmit data about it to Facebook.

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Everything in the patent is written in legalese and is a bit vague about what happens to the audio data. One example scenario imagines that various ambient audio would be eliminated and the content playing on the broadcast would be identified. Data would be collected about the user’s proximity to the audio. Then, the identifying information, time, and identity of the Facebook user would be sent to the social media company for further processing.

In addition to all the data users voluntarily give up, and the incidental data it collects through techniques like browser fingerprinting , Facebook would use this audio information to figure out which ads are most effective. For example, if a user walked away from the TV or changed the channel as soon as the ad began to play, it might consider the ad ineffective or on a subject the user doesn’t find interesting. If the user stays where they are and the audio is loud and clear, Facebook could compare that seeming effective ad with your other data to make better suggestions for its advertising clients.

Yes, this is creepy as hell and feels like someone trying to make a patent for a peephole on a nondescript painting. Surely Facebook wouldn’t start doing this with all of the heat they’re taking from lawmakers and its steady drip of bad publicity since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, would they? We’ve asked Facebook if they have any plans to implement this patent in the event that it’s approved but didn’t receive an immediate reply. Based on the fact that Facebook has been apologizing on and off for more than a decade, and its entire business model relies on knowing more about you than its competitors, we’re going to predict that it will definitely do this if it sees the opportunity.

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All clauses in English have at least two parts: a and a :

But most clauses have more than two parts:

The first noun phrase is the subject of the sentence:

The children laughed. John wanted a new bicycle. All the girls are learning English. She put the flowers in the vase.

English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. . He was a teacher. I’m waiting for my wife. . She is late.

… except for the which is used to give orders:

Stop! Go away.

… and for " soft imperatives " like invitations and requests:

Please come to dinner tomorrow. Play it again please.

If we have no other subject we use "" or " " as subject. We call this a ‘ ’:

There were twenty people at the meeting.. There will be an eclipse of the moon tonight.

It ’s a lovely day. It ’s nearly one o’clock. I have toothache. It hurts a lot.

‹ Clause, phrase and sentence verb patterns ›

Need a little more help with your English? Find a course near you .

alexandeR-Rednaxela replied on Ukraine Permalink

Hi there! I wish there could be a page just with lots of sentences with emphasized parts of clause such as subject, verb, adverbial etc. I do understand that it's tons of hard work but I also believe that it will be appreciated not only by me but also by a vast amount of people who consider this theme to be at least tens times less as essential I do .

alexandeR-Rednaxela replied on Ukraine Permalink

Hi there! Could you help me with this: Our flight time will be approximately forty-five minutes? Which is right? 1) [our flight time (subject {noun phrase} ) ] [will be (verb {verb phrase} ) ] [approximately forty-five minutes (complement {noun phrase} ) ]. OR 2) [our flight time (subject {noun phrase} ) ] [will be (verb {verb phrase} ) ] [approximately (adverbial (adjunct?) {adverb phrase} ) ] [ forty-five minutes (complement {noun phrase} ) ]. I've just realized that understanding the clause structure is one of the most important things in English, isn't it? P. S. That what you're doing is something so useful for me that I'm afraid of my disability to describe, even in my native language, not to mention English *which I love so much that I would say 'who' instead of ' *which' but for the grammar, a titanic boost that you're giving to all of us all the time.

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