Anyone had this rather kafkaesque experience with Google's authoritarian algorithms? We had a Google ad, then took it down to update it, then got a reply that contained this:
"It has come to our attention that your Google AdWords account does not comply with our Terms of Service and Advertising Policies. As a result, your account and any related accounts have been suspended, and your ads will no longer run on Google.Please be aware that you are prohibited from possessing or creating any other AdWords accounts, both now and in the future. . . . If you believe your account was suspended in error, please contact us through the AdWords Help Center."
And getting a human on the other end to answer why, when the first ad was approved, has been impossible. Ever see the movie "Brazil"?
Anyone else had this experience with Google's AdWords?
Yes they finally did get back to us and "escalated" it to someone or something for review. Finally ahuman AdWords specialist at Google determined that we were not in violation. No reason was given, yet it seems that our initial suspicion was correct: the SYSTEM determined we were in violation of Google policy. Google reinstated our account.
But talk about noir. I don't understand why there aren't thousands of crime novels about stuff like this, it is no longer science fiction.
Update: Noir Nation has won a victory over the Google algorithm. A human AdWords specialist at Google determined that we were not in violation. No reason was given, yet it seems that our initial suspicion was correct: the SYSTEM determined we were in violation of Google policy. Google has reinstated our account, but we missed a couple peak weeks of advertising and possibly sales due to the "mistake".
In The Castle, Franz Kafka wrote about the faceless system. You don't get much more noir than that. It's like the film Brazil, where a fly landing on a printer misprints a death certificate and the guy is erased from history and can't get his life back.
As I mentioned in reply to Melanie, with ten million people in the US having their identities stolen each year and everything being turned over to web algorithms and cloud computing, I don't understand why there aren't more crime novels covering this area. It touches all of us. And Many of the trials people are going through now have to do with technological elements backed up by corporate greed.
Jaron Lanier, in his book “You Are Not a Gadget” has this to say about turning important processes over to algorithms:
“…the Turing test cuts both ways. You can’t tell if a machine has gotten smarter or if you’ve just lowered your own standards of intelligence to such a degree that the machine seems smart. …
“People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time. Before the crash, bankers believed in supposedly intelligent algorithms that could calculate credit risks before making bad loans. We ask teachers to teach to standardized tests so a student will look good to an algorithm. We have repeatedly demonstrated our species’ bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good. Every instance of intelligence in a machine is ambiguous.”
As one of the editors of Noir Nation I would love to get some short stories that are based in this type of shady noirish technological crime. Maybe some would label that cyberpunk, or sci-fi, but it's not sci-fi anymore. I do think this kind of "mistake" is a crime, we spent months and months putting Noir Nation together and one of our main means for spreading it around and selling it bans it because of some weird glitch in a Gabor wave transform somewhere so deep in an algorithm that no human knows what it is or where to find it or how to keep it from happening again.