In the name of “brand safety,” advertisers these days are working hard to better control where their ads appear online. Programmatic advertising with real-time bidding automates the process of online ad buying and ad placement to such an extent that the entire process takes place in the time it takes a web page to load. The process is highly efficient, but a significant downside is that ads sometimes appear alongside controversial content with which an advertiser would rather not be associated. Online pornography is the classic example, but other strains of extreme content—e.g., hate speech, conspiracism, and incitement-to-terrorism—have more recently come into focus for advertisers as threats to brand reputation.
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