Data & Society Sociotechnical Security Researcher Moira Weigel hosts author Tim Hwang to discuss the way big tech financializes attention. Weigel and Hwang explore how the false promises of adtech are just one example of tech-solutionism’s many fictions. Drawing on Tim Hwang’s new book, Subprime Attention Crisis, a revealing examination of digital advertising and the internet’s precarious foundation, this talk details how digital advertising—the beating heart of the internet—is at risk of collapsing. From the unreliability of advertising numbers and the unregulated automation of advertising bidding wars, to the simple fact that online ads mostly fail to work, Hwang demonstrates that while consumers’ attention has never been more prized, the true value of that attention itself is wildly misrepresented. Audience Q&A follows the discussion.
“In this well-grounded, heretical attack on the fictions that uphold the online advertising ecosystem, Subprime Attention Crisis destroys the illusion that programmatic ads are effective and financially sound. One can only hope that this book will be used to pop the bubble that benefits so few.” — danah boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, founder of Data & Society, and Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research.