They Have, Right Now, Another You
Advertisements show up on our #Internet browser or #Facebook page or #Gmail and we tend to think they are there because some company is trying to sell us something it believes we want based on our browsing history or what weʼve said in an #e-mail or what we were searching for on #Google. We probably donʼt think they are there because we live in a particular neighborhood, or hang out with certain kinds of people, or that we have been scored a particular and obscure way by a pointillist rendering of our lives. And most likely, we donʼt imagine we are seeing those ads because an algorithm has determined that we are losers or easy marks or members of a particular ethnic or racial group.
As OʼNeil points out, preferences and habits and zip codes and status updates are also used to create predatory ads, “ads that pinpoint people in great need and sell them false or overpriced promises.” People with poor credit may be offered payday loans; people with dead-end jobs may be offered expensive courses at for-profit colleges. The idea, OʼNeil writes, “is to locate the most #vulnerable people and then use their private #information against them. This involves finding where they suffer the most, which is known as the ‘#pain_point.