As with many other business models, ad-supported internet services and their users are on the list of potential collateral damage in the House package. technological regulatory proposals presented earlier this summer. This legislative package, collectively dubbed the “breakthrough bills” for their focus on structural government interventions to address perceived ills, is expected to make digital advertising less secure and less useful.
The impact on digital advertising could significantly affect advertisers, the places they advertise and, most importantly, the consumer. Indeed, today many websites and applications are using digital advertising to support their free online products for the user. These websites often use third-party advertising services to easily reach the audience with relevant advertisements. While websites and apps can manage and manage the placement of advertisements around their content, many others are turning to specialist services with expertise to unite advertisers with where they can advertise. This allows the website to stay focused on its main content or product, while delivering results for advertisers. However, this whole pattern could be disrupted by House breaking bills.
If these bills were adopted (i.e. ACIOA and EPMA), the covered platforms could be forced to offer any advertising service equivalent access to their platform, regardless of the quality of this service or its commitment to security. While the overwhelming majority of advertisers are good actors, sometimes bad actors try to exploit the system to promote harmful or dangerous content. Digital services are increasingly take various positive steps to combat harmful content and remove harmful advertisements by partnering with marketers and agencies, including in forums such as the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). Collectively, these efforts are aimed at eliminating harmful advertising content.
If passed, however, House bills could restrict efforts to tackle bad actors in the advertising ecosystem, which would have the effect of exposing consumers and brands to harmful advertising content. and dangerous. For example, By limiting how services can act against problematic content, the bills would reduce the ability of platforms to deal with hate speech and disinformation advertisements. If an advertising platform takes action against an advertising network for harmful content, for example, it could face legal action alleging unlawful “discrimination”.
This relates to an unintended consequence discussed here previously: the bills could have the perverse result of forcing digital services to host discriminatory content in the name of non-discrimination, by paralyzing the efforts of companies to moderate objectionable content. The equal treatment mandates would apply with the same force to the content of the site as well as to the advertisements.
And in ad-supported services, common features such as spam filters and malware protections would not necessarily be integrated, as this integration could itself be considered “discriminatory conduct” that excludes users. competing security products. Forcing a platform to authorize any security product that presents itself as a competitor would put consumers at risk.
Impact on quality
Beyond moderation of content in advertisements, ACIOA would affect the quality of advertisements more broadly. Most internet users have come across lower quality ads at some point – a deceptive click-trap that directs users to questionable or irrelevant content. However, some websites maintain quality standards for ads, to ensure that users get verified and trusted ads. But under ACIOA, services may be forced to open their platforms to lower quality advertising, as well as unconstrained political advertising. If so, the experience of consumers on services like Google Search, YouTube, Facebook and others could see an increase in the number of ads that are click-baited at best, or dangerous at worst. Brands might be forced to choose between forgoing all digital advertising and running the risk of their brand appearing alongside shoddy, unverified ads.
Consequences for free internet
Like I have Noted Previously, supporters of House bills seem to assume that businesses would simply continue to operate as before, despite the provisions for dissolving House bills. This is not a sure assumption. Business models will evolve accordingly, with consequences for the third parties who benefit from these models. Since any preference for one platform’s ads or ad services over other ad providers would create the risk of litigation and punitive penalties, the bills would cause companies to move away from the models. commercials financed by advertising. This would reduce consumers’ access to free content and services to which they thousands of dollars of value, and disrupt a valuable channel for brands to reach potential customers. This effect would undermine the unprecedented democratization of information enabled by ad-supported digital services. Given these issues, bills need to be rethought, with unintended consequences in mind.