Adtech: Everything That's Wrong with the Internet?

Kontra takes note of this New York Times article:

The article is by Farhad Manjoo, who in his usual hyperventilating way (remember tech addiction is destroying us and it’s up to Apple to fix the problem?) lists many of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that happen on the Internet. His conclusion is that it’s mostly the fault of on-line advertising.

If you find that a bit hyperbolic, it’s because it is. Yes, on-line advertising, as currently practiced through adtech, is abusive and threatens our privacy and yes some of the sketchier sites exist solely as a way of gathering advertising clicks but the advertisers also provide most of the excellent—and free—content that we enjoy on the Internet.

Regular readers know I have an enduring hatred of adtech and its many abuses. I was, therefore, sympathetic to the notion that everything wrong on the Internet is its fault. But reality intruded and I had to admit that most of the worst things that happen on the Internet have little to do with adtech. That’s not to say that the Internet wouldn’t be a far better place without adtech, it’s just that adtech isn’t the source of everything that’s wrong with it.

So, sadly, the title of today’s post stands as yet another confirmation of Betteridge’s law.

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