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Advertising discrimination, addressed by huge companies

Advertising discrimination and data collection

Industry giants take the issue of advertising discrimination seriously, in order to combat bias in digital marketing. WPP, Delta Airlines, Kellogg and Mindshare joined their forces for this.  

Algorithms for advertising discrimination 

In order to decided which demographics they should target to increase their revenues, brands have been using algorithms. These also helped them decide how to segment their audiences.  

But, in order to work and provide the data that they need, algorithms use cookies. This is how Google, Facebook, and other platforms track their users to show them ads and follow them around the internet.  

Moreover, the companies say that the algorithms discriminate users, based on their gender. Thus, women see ads for household goods and cosmetics. At the same time, men see ads from automakers, for instance.  

Although the initiative might look OK for most of us, the danger is that technology creates bias.  

 How do companies want to address the issue? 

As a result, IBM decided to use its open-source toolkit, together with other major players on the market. This should identify and mitigate this tech bias. Delta Air Lines, WPP, Mindshare, 4A’s, IAB and the Ad Council agreed to use IBM’s Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360. This is an open-source solution, powered by Watson. 

According to Bob Lord, IBM senior vice-president, “These organizations are among the first in the industry to take action.” 

What does the solution mean for users? 

Those involved in the initiative say that bias is “no good for society.” But they still point out that the bias makes them miss out “commercial opportunities.” 

So, their main purpose is to eliminate advertising discrimination in order to get even more commercial opportunities. But without wondering if this is what users want.  

Delta managing director said that the effort would allow marketers “to go a step further.” This would mean to bring more inclusive representation to campaign delivery. So, not a single word about users and their needs or expectations.  

The entire industry seems to be looking for solutions as third-party cookies should disappear soon. But none of its representatives would consider users’ real interest. That’s why a Windows native ad blocker is still the best solution for this. Ad Guardian Plus is our proposal for this.  

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