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What Is The Future Of Digital Advertising?

The Transparency Problem

According to Facebook, information of over 80 million users was used unethically by the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica. From a public statement in April, “In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

The organization also released the following graph shows a breakdown of ‘improperly shared’ information with Cambridge Analytica.

A country by country estimation of those who had information improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica via Facebook

The barely legible print at the bottom of the graph reads:

We do not know precisely what data the app shared with Cambridge Analytica, or exactly how many people were impacted. Using as expansive a methodology as possible, this is our best estimate of the maximum number of unique account that directly installed the thisisyourdigitallife app as well as those whose data may have been shared with the app by their friends.

The estimated users affected per state in the United States. In total over 70 million US users are believed to have been affected.

Facebook’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress in April. The Guardian, who originally broke the Cambridge Analytica story in December 2015 detail a key moment from the proceedings:

“Yes, we store data … some of that content with people’s permission.”

“There’s a very common misconception that we sell data to advertisers. We do not sell data to advertisers.”

“What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement … That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin asks whether the Cambridge University neuroscientist Aleksandr Kogan sold the Facebook data to anyone besides Cambridge Analytica?

Zuckerberg: “Yes, he did.”

“We’re investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information in the past. And if we find that someone improperly used data, we’re going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected.”

How To Move Forward With Digital Marketing

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May of this year, resulting in companies based within the United States altering how transparent they are with consumer data. A slew of brands sent out updated privacy guidelines, showing that the transparency issue exists beyond Facebook.

Social media platforms, in general, operate in an ‘opt-out’ rather than an ‘opt-in’ system — meaning users must often navigate through a list of settings to find the one section where they can remove themselves from data sharing operations. Full transparency would provide users with an ‘opt-in’ overlay which explains exactly what will happen with their data if they choose to include themselves in the program.

NOIZ an ad network operating with artificial intelligence and blockchain technology directly address this issue in their whitepaper, “..many ad platforms have been inefficient at keeping a check on malicious publishers (those that publish fake news, plagiarized content or even extremist content); thereby, potentially harming the reputation of those who
advertise on such publisher sites.”

NOIZ later also references the ethical violations of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, “Due to leaked data, consumers are frequently victimized and manipulated by malicious targeting. Recent political campaigns around the world have used this to their advantage, with 30+ countries already affected, including the US, China, Russia, Sudan and Mexico. Facebook’s data piracy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica is an example of how such data collection can occur.”

The NOIZ team wants their platform to become a safe haven for consumers and companies providing a fraud-free experience for both parties. Digital security will be a long-term issue since post-millennials and the next generation will grow up in an advanced digital world. Ultra is another blockchain platform which will integrate transparent advertisements and marketing solutions.

Currently, digital platforms selling ads are able to operate in questionable manners due to the lack of consumer protections in place. The GDPR has led to companies becoming more transparent; however, there is a long path ahead to see minimal misinformation and unethical use of data on the internet.

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Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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  1. Anonymous August 21, 2018

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