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Knapp: Advertisers must decide what their ads are for

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On Nov. 20, X Corp. 性视界传媒 the corporate entity through which Elon Musk owns X, formerly known as Twitter 性视界传媒 filed suit against Media Matters for America, which styles itself a 性视界传媒減rogressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.性视界传媒

At issue is a Media Matters expose claiming that X, contrary to CEO Linda Yaccarino性视界传媒檚 promise that advertisers are 性视界传媒減rotected from the risk性视界传媒 of having their ads placed next to unsavory content, has been running ads next to 性视界传媒減ro-Nazi性视界传媒 posts.

In the wake of the Media Matters piece, a number of big players 性视界传媒 including IBM, Apple, and Disney 性视界传媒 decided to pull their advertising off the platform.

Musk calls the whole episode a 性视界传媒渇raudulent attack性视界传媒 on X.

The ads in question do, in fact, appear next to the content in question in the screenshots that Media Matters published.

But Musk claims Media Matters engineered a highly atypical 性视界传媒渦ser experience性视界传媒 by reloading posts hundreds of times 性视界传媒 posts that otherwise had nearly no views or reposts (what used to be called 性视界传媒渞etweets性视界传媒) 性视界传媒 until they finally saw the ads they wanted to take those screenshots of.

Is that fraud, or is it just exploiting a convenient algorithmic weakness to produce a technically true/valid result?

I性视界传媒檓 personally more interested in the advertiser response than in the answer to that question, because it raises different questions:

What is advertising for? Is the purpose of advertising changing? And if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

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At least until recently, the purpose of advertising was to sell the advertisers性视界传媒 products and services, either directly/one-off (性视界传媒渂uy this pair of shoes性视界传媒) or long-term by inculcating 性视界传媒渂rand consciousness性视界传媒 in viewers (性视界传媒渨hen you think of shoes, think of us性视界传媒).

Now, it seems to have become 性视界传媒渁void, at all costs, having it noticed that our ads appear near content that pisses people off.性视界传媒

Those purposes seem incompatible to me.

I can性视界传媒檛 bring myself to believe that Apple really, truly, deeply cares whether the person who purchases a MacBook Air, or Disney gives a flying flip whether someone who uses that laptop to stream 性视界传媒淎vengers: Endgame性视界传媒 is a Republican, Democrat, Nazi, mail carrier, stamp collector, or Rotarian. Their money all spends the same.

From the consumer point of view, when I check out at the grocery store, I have no idea 性视界传媒 and can性视界传媒檛 be bothered to care 性视界传媒 whether the cashier or assistant manager might be a devil-worshiper, wine aficionado, pedophile, NASCAR fan, or Trump voter.

I was there to get my groceries. I got my groceries. End of story. Why would I care one way or another whether the laptop or streaming service I性视界传媒檓 seeing advertised is also being advertised to those other people?

Yes, such 性视界传媒渂rand associations性视界传媒 can be (to use a current buzz word) weaponized to power boycotts/ buycotts among people with too much time on their hands and too few real worries.

But should advertisers play the game of attempting to appease that approach? That seems like poor long-term business decision-making.

性视界传媒 Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.