The spread of misinformation and propaganda online has exploded partly because of the way the advertising systems of large digital platforms such as Google or Facebook have been designed to hold people’s attention.
“People are being distorted by very finely trained AIs that figure out how to distract them,” said Tim Berners-LeeBritish computer scientist, inventor of the World Wide Web.
In some cases, these platforms offer users who create content a cut of advertising revenue. The financial incentive drove Macedonians teenagers with “no political skin in the game” to generate political clickbaitWeb content whose main goal is to entice users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage or video fake news that was distributed on Facebook and funded by revenue from Google’s automated advertising engine Google AdSenseProgram that allows publishers in the Google Network to serve automatic text, image, and video, that are targeted to site content and audience.
“The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbaitWeb content whose main goal is to entice users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage or video is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy. So I am concerned,” said Tim Berners-LeeBritish computer scientist, inventor of the World Wide Web, who in March called for the regulation of online political advertising to prevent it from being used in “unethical ways”.