For users, the benefit of targeted ads is that their ads actually pertain to them. For advertisers, like your local hair salon, environmental group, or city council candidate, it means finding people who will buy what they’re selling or advocating.
They pay to get your attention on social media because it achieves something essential: to generate business, to advocate for social causes, or win elections.
Targeted advertising is an innovative practice. It helps pay for the services we enjoy, even if we don’t spend a cent on products advertised.
But because it is online, and is connecting people more than before, activists and politicians want to dismantle how social media works.
Halting targeted advertising would:
1. Restrict innovation online
2. Restrict consumer choice
By removing local firms’ ability to advertise to you based on information you give, it would mean stopping the innovation that has made Internet products popular, free, and enjoyable.
It would mean less creativity online, fewer innovative networks, and less ability to keep online products competitive.
By stopping targeted advertising, it would restrict your consumer choice by reducing the options you have online. All free services would virtually disappear, making it harder for poorer communities and users to find platforms to enjoy.
What’s more, there already exist free services to block or restrict advertising if consumers want: privacy browsers, VPNs, and ad blockers.
Banning targeted ads altogether dismantle large sections of the Internet, and severely reduce the number of platforms able to survive.