How Targeted Advertising on Social Media Drives People to Extremes

People seeking to radicalize others are using ads to push conspiracy theories and extremist views

Internet, Social Media

1/16/2022 11:00:00 PM

People seeking to radicalize others use targeted advertising to push conspiracy theories and extremist views.

People seeking to radicalize others are using ads to push conspiracy theories and extremist views

Have you had the experience of looking at some product online and then seeing ads for it all over your social media feed? Far from coincidence, these instances of eerily accurate advertising provide glimpses into the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that feed an item you search for on Google, “like” on social media or come across while browsing into custom advertising on social media.

Those mechanisms are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes than aggressive advertising. The threat is in how this targeted advertising interacts with today’s extremely divisive political landscape. As a social media researcher, I see how people seeking to radicalize others use targeted advertising to readily move people to extreme views.

Read more: Scientific American »

Netflix in a Race Against Time With Advertising

Partnerships would allow streaming giant to enter ad business faster as inflation and market saturation make subscriber growth harder. Read more >>

Targeted Advertising? Thats some sort of stalking combined with spamming? How come its legal? yes, BLM, Antifa and white sups are good examples! Who owns Scientific American now? Which Kool-Aid have you been serving and drinking? so far Blue Red Green Yellow Pink Purple all have the same bigoted shit in it, drink the water of truth and stop the bullshit being fed to the people

Fükwits gotta be Fükwits How you choose not to appreciate Islamic way to show love and affection toward Jews in texashostage. Like 9/11 in 2001 was done for love of 72 hoors, nothing about hatred. Moreover, terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. I go with Carlin on this. People need hours of personal daydreaming time; no media, no music, no dancing images... Just time to know their own thoughts without interference. News should be limited to an hour or two a day.

Hi Sci-Am, Aren't you just a little late to this show? We know all about propaganda in targeted ads. A better use of your time would be to enlighten everyone on how to effectively de-program their brainwashed relatives and friends. [==*==] They same way The Government Pushes Their Social Agendas!!! By constantly SHOVING IT IN YOUR FACE!!!

I looked up a $10 faucet part two years. Still getting targeted ads. I think you misspelled Trumps Gop.

John Goodman on His ‘SNL’ Audition: “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done in Front of People”'The Righteous Gemstones' star also spoke about a head injury he sustained while doing a stunt for the HBO comedy's season two premiere during his visit to 'The Tonight Show.'

Why the indictment of Oath Keeper Stewart Rhodes should scare a lot of peopleMerrick Garland and the DOJ have charged Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers with “seditious conspiracy.” That crime is, in effect, treason’s sibling. THINK Even his wife says he is a sociopath... She is clear on that point with personal knowledge! THINK

Tech tips for working with people in different time zonesThe days of having three different clocks up on your wall are over. Use these apps and tools to coordinate better with your colleagues across the world.

Cremated remains of 89 people found by 'urban explorer' in abandoned Ohio churchHardin is already facing 37 counts including racketeering, tampering with records, identity fraud, operating an unlicensed funeral home and abuse of a corpse.

State audit: Ohio Medicaid officials overpaid $118 million for ineligible enrollees, including prisoners and dead peopleAuditors recommend the Medicaid department work to recoup the money, and also develop better internal quality-control processes to detect and prevent improper payments. Check bank accounts of Ohio GOP, all corrupt Government has poor money management?!?!

Biden nominates three people for Fed board, including first Black womanPresident Biden nominates three people for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, including Sarah Bloom Raskin and Lisa Cook. Awesome sauce. Shinja Shibnobi ShinjaIsTheNext1000XGemaltcoin KusariBlockchain DojoSwap KatanaWallet. 👍🇺🇸

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. Have you had the experience of looking at some product online and then seeing ads for it all over your social media feed? Far from coincidence, these instances of eerily accurate advertising provide glimpses into the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that feed an item you search for on Google, “like” on social media or come across while browsing into custom advertising on social media. Those mechanisms are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes than aggressive advertising. The threat is in how this targeted advertising interacts with today’s extremely divisive political landscape. As a social media researcher, I see how people seeking to radicalize others use targeted advertising to readily move people to extreme views. Advertising to an audience of one Advertising is clearly powerful. The right ad campaign can help shape or create demand for a new product or rehabilitate the image of an older product or even of an entire company or brand. Political campaigns use similar strategies to push candidates and ideas, and historically countries have used them to wage propaganda wars. Advertising in mass media is powerful, but mass media has a built-in moderating force. When trying to move many people in one direction, mass media can only move them as fast as the middle will tolerate. If it moves too far or too fast, people in the middle may be alienated. The detailed profiles the social media companies build for each of their users make advertising even more powerful by enabling advertisers to tailor their messages to individuals. These profiles often include the size and value of your home, what year you bought your car, whether you’re expecting a child, and whether you buy a lot of beer. Consequently, social media has a greater ability to expose people to ideas as fast as they individually will accept them. The same mechanisms that can recommend a niche consumer product to just the right person or suggest an addictive substance just when someone is most vulnerable can also suggest an extreme conspiracy theory just when a person is ready to consider it. It is increasingly common for friends and family to find themselves on opposite sides of highly polarized debates about important issues. Many people recognize social media as part of the problem, but how are these powerful customized advertising techniques contributing to the divisive political landscape? Breadcrumbs to the extreme One important part of the answer is that people associated with foreign governments, without admitting who they are, take extreme positions in social media posts with the deliberate goal of sparking division and conflict. These extreme posts take advantage of the social media algorithms, which are designed to heighten engagement, meaning they reward content that provokes a response. Another important part of the answer is that people seeking to radicalize others lay out trails of breadcrumbs to more and more extreme positions. These social media radicalization pipelines work much the same way whether recruiting jihadists or Jan. 6 insurrectionists. You may feel like you’re “doing your own research,” moving from source to source, but you are really following a deliberate radicalization pipeline that’s designed to move you toward more and more extreme content at whatever pace you will tolerate. For example, after analyzing over 72 million user comments on over 330,000 videos posted on 349 YouTube channels, researchers found that users consistently migrated from milder to more extreme content. The result of these radicalization pipelines is apparent. Rather than most people having moderate views with fewer people holding extreme views, fewer and fewer people are in the middle. How to protect yourself What can you do? First, I recommend a huge dose of skepticism about social media recommendations. Most people have gone to social media looking for something in particular and then found themselves looking up from their phones an hour or more later having little idea how or why they read or watched what they just did. It is designed to be addictive. I’ve been trying to chart a more deliberate path to the information I want and actively trying to avoid just clicking on whatever is recommended to me. If I do read or watch what is suggested, I ask myself “How might this information be in someone else’s best interest, not mine?” Second, consider supporting efforts to require social media platforms to offer users a choice of algorithms for recommendations and feed curation, including ones based on simple-to-explain rules. Third, and most important, I recommend investing more time in interacting with friends and family off of social media. If I find myself needing to forward a link to make a point, I treat that as a warning bell that I do not actually understand the issue well enough myself. If so, perhaps I have found myself following a constructed trail toward extreme content rather than consuming materials that are actually helping me better understand the world. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.