Ad-block and the second precept

I have a similar question:

I downloaded a lot (a lot!) of music and such off torrent sites, I think they are called.
Is downloading music and such from online considered stealing?
I always wondered if I incurred heavy bad karma of stealing by downloading music for free online. At the time, it seemed like “all the other kids did it too” - but the laws of kamma don’t seem to bend regardless of how many beings transgress it.

I’m not sure that advertising works quite like that. I certainly see things in ads and think “I wonder what that is?” The image and graphics and words might get lodged in my mind and then I might find out what it is when someone else is talking about it. Then I might think “that sounds very useful”. And from there I might notice the ad more. And it will gnaw away at me a little more. Then I’ll do a bit of research until I eventually think “I’ll get me one of those”.

To be honest there was probably quite a lot of that sort of thinking in me finding out about and getting the ad-blocker itself. Although I should say that the ad-blocker I use is free open source software (it’s called pi-hole) and blocks ads, so I’ll argue that it is genuinely useful. :wink: But my mind has surely been manipulated into wanting it and installing it on an old raspberry pi, and setting it up to work on my entire home network, maintaining it when it goes wrong, etc…

You’d be better off downloading copyrighted sutta translations :wink:

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:grin: :laughing:

I don’t download music and such anymore because most of it is freely available on YouTube and such.
I am curious whether my past actions were harmful in terms of transgressing the second precept.

This might help: Is downloading books online for free bad kamma?

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How about, Is downloading books/anything, that is not freely given, bad kamma?

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I know we’ve moved away from the original topic, but the nature of the internet is that everything is freely given unless it’s behind a paywall. But that doesn’t mean that the person giving has the right to make them freely given. Copyright laws apply the secular ‘ownership’ clause that is talked about in the solution to the other thread I linked to.

If I steal an apple and give it to a bhikkhuni, does the bhikkhuni incur bad kamma? Probably no? What if the bhikkhuni knows it’s a stolen apple? Probably yes?


Hopefully this doesn’t go too far from the OP (there is an adblocker for Facebook, too).
When people say that Facebook sells user information, I’m not sure that is exactly true in most cases. It wants to guard that information to keep for itself. People who buy ads on facebook are telling the characteristics of the people they hope will see the ad. So for example if you are trying to get people to vote for, I don’t know, say, Brexit, you could say “I want to show this ad to people who have never gone to university, who have never lived outside of the UK, are over 50, and who currently live within 200km of their birthplace.” Ta-da! For literally pennies you can show your disinformation ad to exactly the right people.

The ad shows up in their feed with a tiny gray, “Sponsored” notice. Easy to miss if you are over 50. :slight_smile:

This is what makes it so evil when misused. People who would challenge the disinformation publicly never even see the ad.


Thank you for that explanation, Snowbird. Unfortunately, it appears that many at Facebook are generating some really bad karma.

Interesting to note that according to Vinaya, receiving stolen goods is not an offense (IIRC!). Whether that relates to kamma at all is, of course, a different matter. It may be just a technicality, but I haven’t studied it closely.

I mean, this may be technically true in some sense, but not in a good way.

From a Facebook spokesperson:

Does Facebook sell your data?
No. Facebook uses your data to sell access to you.

Does Facebook share your data with businesses or advertisers?
Outside businesses can collect your data if you grant them permission

Then of course, it depends on whether you believe anything that Facebook says. Here’s what Mark Zuckerberg said in private messages in the early days. Never forget.

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks

So as a facebook user, or “DF” as Zuck thinks of you, then you are trusting that that guy has your best interests at heart. He says he has changed, but the long and detailed history of FB’s abuse of its users speaks to a different story:

Here’s Zuckerberg answering questions from AOC on fact checking and other issues.