Identity, advertising, and algorithmic targeting: or how (not) to target your “ideal user”

Kant, Tanya (2021) Identity, advertising, and algorithmic targeting: or how (not) to target your “ideal user”. MIT Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing. pp. 1-23.

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Targeted or “personalized” marketing is an everyday part of most web users’ experience. But how do companies “personalize” commercial web content in the context of mass data aggregation? What does it really mean to use data to target web users by their “personal interests” and individual identities? What kinds of ethical implications arise from such practices? This case study explores commercial algorithmic profiling, targeting, and advertising systems, considering the extent to which such systems can be ethical. To do so the case study first maps a brief history of the commercially targeted user, then explores how web users themselves perceive targeted advertising in relation to data knowledge, cookie consent, and “algorithmic disillusionment.” It goes on to analyze current regulatory landscapes and consider how developers who target audiences might avoid placing burdens of impossible data choice on web users themselves. Finally, it offers a series of reflections on best practice in terms of how (not) to profile and target web users. To illuminate the ethical considerations connected to commercial targeted advertising systems, this case study presents some study tasks (see Exercises 1 and 2) that can be used as discussion points for those interested in exploring the nuances of targeting in specific contexts.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2021 08:35
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2021 08:35

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