Advertising is the business model underpinning the web, and a key force in shaping the information environments which also shape public opinion. With that great power should come great responsibility.
However, the development and governance of the role advertising plays in shaping online spaces is being left to industry to decide on and to police. Legislative interventions are piecemeal, often unenforced, and lack an understanding of the role that advertising can play in the development of safe and citizen-focused online spaces. Only by considering the development of our online space in the same ways as we think of our offline ones — as something to be carefully stewarded, protected and planned — will we be able to make decisions regarding the responsibilities of the various actors involved in the funding and development of our online world.
Systems thinking will be essential to avoiding further, greater online harms.
For those of you who don’t know I am not an academic writer, but was hugely honoured to be asked by the clever people at Ökologisches Wirtschaften to contribute to their latest journal on Digitalisation and Sustainability. Read the whole article, and many others here.