Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Associate Professor and Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP) Associate Director, David Broniatowski, was recently featured in an article by the New York Times, “Why Are You Seeing So Many Bad Digital Ads Now?” This article focused on what they referred to as the “junk-ad epidemic,” which refers to the recent increase in crummy ads that are taking over social media users’ feeds across platforms.
In the article, Dr. Broniatowski stated social media is a far easier target for the small but motivated group of anti-vaccine advertisers he studied. Their ads are designed to evade “very brittle” moderation algorithms such as by spacing out the letters of banned keywords or replacing them with emojis.
“They will use whatever means necessary to get their message out there,” he said. “Ads are simply one tool in their toolbox.” Read the full article.