Social media plays a central role in our current democracies. Yet, they can never be held accountable or feel any responsibility. We have seen it with the Cambridge Analytica and the Facebook scandal, we have seen it with the Capitol attack and again when far-right rioters stormed Brazil’s key government buildings in January. Social media only have one source of income: online advertisement, and marketeers fuel the fire.
In ADSCAM: How Online Advertising Gave Birth to One of History’s Greatest Frauds, and Became a Threat to Democracy, Bob Hoffman describes how online tracking has become a threat to individuals and democratic societies.
In this programme we will talk about Bob Hoffman’s book and about how the power of online advertisement is bigger than the power of democratic states. Can this be fixed, and how? The advertising world tracks people without their consent and without their knowledge. Since when did the convenience of marketers become more important than the privacy rights of individuals and the integrity of democratic institutions?
And will there ever be an incentive for social media companies to not add fuel to the fire of unrest? If that is not enough, Ad fraud has become a way for cyber criminals to make serious money. The advertisement industry online ‘works’ if their advertisements reach real people. But how can you know for sure that this happens? Ad fraud is the practice of deceiving advertising platforms into thinking that fake activity on the network is real user behavior for the purpose of financial gain.