Robert G. Reeve Profile picture
May 25, 2021 14 tweets 4 min read Read on X
I'm back from a week at my mom's house and now I'm getting ads for her toothpaste brand, the brand I've been putting in my mouth for a week. We never talked about this brand or googled it or anything like that.

As a privacy tech worker, let me explain why this is happening. 🧵
First of all, your social media apps are not listening to you. This is a conspiracy theory. It's been debunked over and over again.

But frankly they don't need to because everything else you give them unthinkingly is way cheaper and way more powerful.
Your apps collect a ton of data from your phone. Your unique device ID. Your location. Your demographics. Weknowdis.

Data aggregators pay to pull in data from EVERYWHERE. When I use my discount card at the grocery store? Every purchase? That's a dataset for sale.
They can match my Harris Teeter purchases to my Twitter account because I gave both those companies my email address and phone number and I agreed to all that data-sharing when I accepted those terms of service and the privacy policy.
Here's where it gets truly nuts, though.

If my phone is regularly in the same GPS location as another phone, they take note of that. They start reconstructing the web of people I'm in regular contact with.
The advertisers can cross-reference my interests and browsing history and purchase history to those around me. It starts showing ME different ads based on the people AROUND me.

Family. Friends. Coworkers.
It will serve me ads for things I DON'T WANT, but it knows someone I'm in regular contact with might want.

To subliminally get me to start a conversation about, I don't know, fucking toothpaste.

It never needed to listen to me for this. It's just comparing aggregated metadata.
The other thing is, this is just out there in the open. Tons of people report on this. It's just, nobody cares. We have decided our privacy just isn't worth it. It's a losing battle. We've already given away too much of ourselves.…
"We spotted a senior official at the Department of Defense walking through the Women’s March ... His wife was also on the mall that day, something we discovered after tracking him to his home in Virginia."…
So. They know my mom's toothpaste. They know I was at my mom's. They know my Twitter. Now I get Twitter ads for mom's toothpaste.

Your data isn't just about you. It's about how it can be used against every person you know, and people you don't. To shape behavior unconsciously.
Apple's latest updates let you block apps' tracking and Facebook is MAD. They're BEGGING you to just press accept and go back to business as usual.

Block the fuck out of every app's ads. It's not just about you: your data reshapes the internet.…
The internet is never going to be the wacky place it was when I had a Livejournal and people shared protean gifs in the form of YTMNDs. Big business has come to suck the joy (and your dollars) out of it.

At least make it hard for them. 🪡
Oh, this post is my Twitter high score. If you like D&D consider sticking around, my account is 85% tabletop RPG development and 15% leftist politics.
Plug #2: my brother @josephoforb landed a book deal for his Hollywood satire about a failed actor in a superspy franchise who is framed for murder. It is HILARIOUS. James Bond meets Avengers meets Knives Out. Preorder it. It comes out in July.…

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More from @RobertGReeve

Dec 11, 2022
I saw a viral Twitter thread on “pre-Jackson Tolkien/Middle Earth aesthetica” full of white supremacist dogwhistles.

Let's dissect some of them and talk about how white supremacists love Lord of the Rings.

For a better reading experience with more detail, subscribe to my substack, where I write about gaming, tech, and culture.…
The alt-right pipeline uses the same principles as every business's marketing team, but instead of promoting, like, Minecraft, it wants to turn you into a brand evangelist for pure hwite culture, Bobby. A graphic of the Marketing Funnel.  Step one: Attract / Buil
Read 16 tweets
Dec 6, 2022
I had a wonderful #PAXUnplugged this year—I feel like Twitter-Rob is serious and unapproachable but convention-Rob lets down his hair (literally).

Here's just some of the great people who I crossed paths with this year. Follow 'em, they inspire me. 🧵
I finally got to hug @Persephiroth, who introduced me to the crew of the Shikar actual play after their panel. I wish I had more time to talk to Jasmine about Green Knight and to @LordBalvin about samurai movies
And @GabeJamesGames really is one of the kindest, most supportive spirits in all of tabletop. I was shy about our split-second meeting last year but I love what he's doing with the Session Zero System, so it was nice to have a few more minutes to talk this year.
Read 11 tweets
Dec 2, 2022
OpenAI’s ChatGPT designed this 5e D&D rogue archetype in 15 seconds.

It got the subclass levels correct (3, 9, 13, 17). It appropriately tied memories to psychic damage & wisdom saves. I asked it to make the 17th level stronger and it knew “memento mori” had to do with death. We are writing rules for th...Memory Shield: At 13th leve...give me an alternative 17th...
I’m talking with @alyssavisscher and she asked for a spell with the same theme and y’all we are freaking out. The formatting is great. The editorial style is great. The clarification that the target is unaware makes sense (a little less when it adds damage at a higher level tho) next, design a 2nd-level sp...great! How about a 5th leve...A continuation of the previ...
I’m at #PAXUnplugged today and ahh there’s too much to write about this week! Dragonlance; AI text in 5e design; the new One D&D update from both a mechanical and a cultural perspective.

I’m gonna have a busy week so stay tuned for more.
Read 5 tweets
Nov 3, 2022
I went looking for a logical or ideological consistency to Elon’s decisions about Twitter.

I remembered his chats on Joe Rogan's podcast, just dudes being guys, and that's when it clicked:

the Gen X entrepreneur. 🧵
In a PBS interview during the Bush presidency, Elon said he distrusts politicians generally but loves Reagan.

“Bush is like Reagan without the brains...Reagan actually had strong intellectual underpinnings for his decisive actions.”…
Reagan said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the Government and I'm here to help.’”

Elon isn't the only Gen X entrepreneur who nods along with that.…
Read 24 tweets
Sep 20, 2022
Let’s talk about this AI-generated cover. And the value of labor

This person's taking a “no press is bad press” approach to marketing—leaning into “controversy” for likes. But they didn't take any time to understand the controversy around AI art.

Thread 🧵 @kawaii_tornado tweets a cover for a homebrew supplement thaA screenshot of replies from @kawaii_tornado where she says
Before we start: do NOT go harass this person. They came out swinging with an opinion, and I emphatically disagree with it.

But some of her quote tweets say things like “kill yourself” and what the hell? Don't be that way. It's not going to make anyone rethink their position.
In Kawaii's thread, she compares AI image generators to how the Industrial Revolution changed weaving, demolishing handicraft trade.

But while she talks about industry vs. artisans, she neglects a third category, which she falls in:

She is a hobbyist.
Read 18 tweets
Aug 18, 2022

· New iteration in 2024 will be called ONE D&D and you can playtest it now
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· physical/digital bundles
· 3D virtual tabletop, customizable minis
· five additional 2023 book titles announced

Thread 🧵

· Keys from the Golden Vault—an anthology of heist adventures
· Glory of the Giants—it is what it is
· Phandelver—expands the Lost Mines starter adventure into a full campaign
· Book of Many Things—new options for DMs
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Dragonlance: War of the Dragon Queen. Dragonriders akin to WWII bombers.

Alt cover art is Lord Soth! Looks 3.5e-like

We’ve seen the Unearthed Arcana playtest of the Kender ancestry, the Knights of Solamnia and Mages of the High Sorcery backgrounds, and new feats. A cover mockup with no text. The back cover is a bramble of
Read 18 tweets

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