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Artwork by Ellie Shipman

Digital advertising is a booming industry: worth over $300 billion in 2019 alone. It’s also the primary business model sustaining the internet, humanity’s most important communications tool. But as AI-powered advertising grows more pervasive and sophisticated, it is doing so without guardrails. There are few rules to ensure it doesn’t surveil, misinform, or exclude consumers. If the industry doesn’t undergo major reform, these problems will only grow more pronounced.

Twenty years ago, digital ads were little more than online billboards — pop-ups that didn’t know who was seeing the ad, or why.

But today’s AI-powered digital advertisements are exponentially more sophisticated. The technology behind these ads can profile consumers and segment them into precise audiences, or make assumptions that cause discrimination. Or serve ads based on the emotion detected on their face; even as they sit in their own homes. …


A bibliography for my recently published report can be found below. All sources were accessed between 1st February and 25th May 2020.

Aapti Institute (2020) The Aapti Podcast: Discussing Surveillance with Divij Joshi, Mozilla Tech Policy Fellow. Aapti Institute. <https://soundcloud.com/user-951817091/the-aapti-podcast-discussing-surveillance-with-divij-joshi-mozilla-policy-fellow>

AB Newswire (2018) EMOTION DETECTION AND RECOGNITION MARKET INSIGHTS, EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES, GROWTH FACTORS | NORTH AMERICA TO DOMINATE THE GLOBAL INDUSTRY OVER 2023. Posted on May 10, 2018, AB Newswire. <https://www.abnewswire.com/pressreleases/emotion-detection-and-recognition-market-insights-emerging-technologies-growth-factors-north-america-to-dominate-the-global-industry-over-2023_214918.html>

Achara, J.P., Ács, G., & Castelluccia, C. (2015). On the Unicity of Smartphone Applications. WPES ‘15.

Advertising Magazine (2015) You probably think digital ad fraud doesn’t affect you. Think again. Innovation. …


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Originally posted on the blog of The Conscious Advertising Network.

The recent Facebook boycotts pose a headache for charities. On one hand, Facebook is a key fundraising tool, on the other, it stands accused of failing to take action on hate speech, setting back civil rights, and posts on the platform are implicated in genocide in Myanmar. Not to mention removing fact checks from climate denial.

Over 1100 companies worldwide have pulled millions of dollars in advertising from the social network, with brands from Coca-Cola to Ford, Unilever and Disney demanding that Facebook monitor hate speech more aggressively. …

About

Harriet Kingaby

Mozilla Fellow and co-chair of the Conscious Advertising Network. Advertising, ethics, AI and climate change. Yes, they do go together.

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