This response to my tweet is a common objection to targeted advertising.

@KevinCoates correct me if I'm wrong, but basic point seems to be that banning targeted ads will lower platform profits, but will mostly be beneficial for consumers.

Some counterpoints 👇

1) This assumes that consumers prefer contextual ads to targeted ones.

This does not seem self-evident to me 👇
Research also finds that firms choose between ad. targeting vs. obtrusiveness 👇

If true, the right question is not whether consumers prefer contextual ads to targeted ones. But whether they prefer *more* contextual ads vs *fewer* targeted ones.
2) True, many inframarginal platforms might simply shift to contextual ads.

But some might already be almost indifferent between direct & indirect monetization.

Hard to imagine that *none* of them will respond to reduced ad revenue with actual fees.
3) Policy debate seems to be moving from:

"Consumers are insufficiently informed to decide how they share their data."


"No one in their right mind would agree to highly targeted ads (e.g., those that mix data from multiple sources)."

IMO the latter statement is incorrect.
Privacy advocates & enforcers fail to consider that they might be witnessing the revealed preferences of consumers.

Maybe this is because enforcers & advocates are an atypically privacy conscious group -- their preferences might be very different to those of median consumer.
To me, this is epitomized by @vestager argument that she would rather pay for Facebook. Pretty tone-deaf from someone that earns roughly 10x Brussels median salary.
4) Important to consider the supply side. Systematically favoring consumer v. producer surplus is bound to affect investment in tech markets.

Will this undermine EU tech industry?

As @andashleysays has pointed out:
With all that said, I do agree with @KevinCoates that we should avoid hyperbole: banning targeted ads will not suddenly cause all or most internet services to be directly monetized.

Though I still think it would be a very misguided move.

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