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Bad Crow Review: Black Runday,
Funny money Monday
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This is going out late because we forget to send it earlier.
Yr. editors never have been to a Black Friday sale. The weekly Friday supermarket sales days are traumatic enough. Our favorite in-person shopping day is late on Christmas Eve, when the shoppers have mostly gone away and the remaining workers have entered that sweet trance-like state induced by exhaustion and relief.
Warehouse workers picking and packing your online orders get no such respite, which is why their employers are so bitterly resistant to unions.
“… a massive data-harvesting operation most users never see.”
Tax preparers have been shipping their customers’ information to Facebook.1
Major tax filing services such as H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer have been quietly transmitting sensitive financial information to Facebook when Americans file their taxes online, The Markup has learned.
The data, sent through widely used code called the Meta Pixel, includes not only information like names and email addresses but often even more detailed information, including data on users’ income, filing status, refund amounts, and dependents’ college scholarship amounts.
The information sent to Facebook can be used by the company to power its advertising algorithms and is gathered regardless of whether the person using the tax filing service has an account on Facebook or other platforms operated by its owner, Meta.
The companies involved all say it was an innocent mistake. The Markup’s story is long, detailed and perhaps will cost some companies some money, but probably not their licenses. It includes a reminder that in most wealthy countries, tax filing has not been privatized for profit to anywhere near the degree it is here.
Unlike other countries, the United States has a heavily privatized system for filing taxes, one that often requires the use of third-party tax preparers. While in those other countries the government handles the calculations, and taxpayers simply approve the numbers, after a successful lobbying push from private companies, tax preparers in the U.S. effectively act as middlemen between taxpayers and the government.
Tax preparation is now big business: Market researchers have estimated that it’s a more than $11 billion industry in the United States.
The IRS even effectively directs taxpayers attempting to file for free to some of the companies The Markup found using the pixel. A handful of tax preparation services are part of the agreement, known as the Free File Alliance—including TaxAct and TaxSlayer. TurboTax and H&R Block have been part of the program in the past.
Harvard’s Matlock said The Markup’s findings showed the almost inevitable consequences of relying on for-profit companies to handle a government requirement. It’s a process that provides users little choice but to hand over their data to Facebook if they want to comply with the law, she said.
What a fucked-up country, eh?
… a pro-freedom, pro-America, pro-capitalism technology company . . . empowering members to put their money where their values are …
In a more comedic vein, some patriotic high-tech bankers took a face plant.2 GloriFi was backed by far-right libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel, former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and other prominent wingers, but couldn't raise enough money to keep operating more than three months.
How was GloriFi different than other fintech apps?
As The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on GloriFi’s shuttering, puts it, the business was “anti-woke.” While GloriFi itself never publicly described itself as anti-woke, the company had no qualms about marketing itself as a service provider for right-wing America. In a July press release, the company described itself as “a pro-freedom, pro-America, pro-capitalism technology company . . . empowering members to put their money where their values are and preserve the Country they believe in.”
But . . . aren’t all U.S. banks pro-American and pro-capitalism?
That’s safe to say. But GloriFi had a disdain for traditional Wall Street banks, which, believe it or not, the company saw as too liberal. Of course, America’s capitalist system ultimately failed GloriFi, because the company was unable to raise the additional capital it needed to continue operating.
Bank-tanking to own the libs. One loves to see it.
Axios explains why announced presidential candidate Donald Trump hosting an acknowledged white supremacist, Nick Fuentes, and a noted anti-Semite, Ye, could be problematic.3
Why it matters: Trump's direct engagement with a man labeled a "white supremacist" by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president's embrace of extremists.
Fuentes told Trump that he represented a side of Trump's base that was disappointed with his newly cautious approach, especially with what some far-right activists view as a lack of support for those charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Trump didn't disagree with Fuentes, but said he has advisers who want him to read off teleprompters and be more "presidential."
Axios, man: finger on the pulse.
Pokey Lafarge, with whom we remain enamored, singing his way into one’s heart on “In the Blossom of Their Shade;” maestro of the mean guitar Dave Alvin and various friends including brother Phil, on “Eleven Eleven,” playing us out.
That, comrades, is the little we got. Take care, be well.