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Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Theory of Change #026: Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin on the economics of disinformation
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Theory of Change #026: Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin on the economics of disinformation

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By now, a lot of people are aware of and concerned about the lies, hatred, and rumors that are so rampant on social media. The social media companies are definitely responsible to a large degree for letting this happen. But they don’t deserve all the blame. There’s another sector of the internet economy that has been promoting and even paying the merchants of hatred and lies—the advertising technology business, better known as “Ad Tech.”

What is ad tech? Basically it’s the software and services behind the zillions of ads that are basically inescapable on the internet through a complicated system of exchanges and instantaneous bidding. These companies are known for their practice of tracking and spying on people’s browsing habits, but they also are, in many cases, lying to the advertisers themselves about their ads—who watches them and where they appear.

The long and short of it is that companies who advertise are often unaware that their advertising budgets are being used to subsidize bigoted and hateful content.

How this all works is very complicated but the good news is that there is something that we can all do to help stop these shady practices. In this episode, we feature Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin, the co-founders of Check My Ads, a new organization that’s working on helping organizations and individuals put an end to online bigotry.

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Theory of Change is hosted by Matthew Sheffield about larger trends and intersections of politics, religion, media, and technology. It's part of the Flux network, a new content community of podcasters and writers. Please visit us at flux.community to learn more and to tell us about what you're doing. We're constantly growing and learning from the great people we meet.

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Matthew Sheffield on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattsheffield

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