How Big Tech’s ‘toxic’ business model is fueling the climate crisis

Disturbing personalized advertisements that pop up online have become part of everyday life. But have you ever stopped to think about these energies that grab your attention?

Online advertising used to be relatively simple. For example, a tent company would buy a space on a website about camping, and everyone browsing the site would see the same ad.

In the past decade, however, a new type of “surveillance advertising” has become popular. Companies collect data about us from many different sources to make more targeted bids.

While most of us know that personalization advertise – and have mixed feelings about it – very few people understand the exact mechanics behind it, and how power-hungry they are.

For the first time, the researchers analyzed the system’s Carbon Footprint As part of a wider study of Big Tech’s climate impact.

What is the carbon footprint of personalized advertising?

An estimated 1% of the planet’s total energy consumption is used for online advertising alone.

a new one Report Much of that 1% is actually wasted due to a complex auction system that goes on behind the scenes, according to a report from the environmental charity Global Action.

Every time we click on a web page, we trigger a series of real-time bidding (RTB) as advertisers compete to show us their ads.178 trillion RTB transactions occur annually in Europe and the US, via data center An estimated 200 TWh of energy is used annually. That’s more than the national energy consumption of a medium-sized country.

“99.999% of the bandwidth and computing power used in RTB does not result in an ad impression being served,” explains expert Dr. Augustine Fou. Accounting for bot activity and ad fraud further drives up ad tech’s CO2 emissions.

How is ad tech driving consumerism?

Ads that earn a place before our eyes are also unnecessary Consumerismthe report said, promoting products we don’t need.

Purpose Disruptors – an organization founded by former industry leaders – recently calculated that online and offline advertising in the UK adds an additional 32% to the annual carbon footprint of everyone in the UK by 2022. This is the increase in sales generated by the advertising of greenhouse gas emissions generated through advertising.

Oliver Hayes, head of policy and campaigns at the Global Action Plan, said: “The way Big Tech operates is fundamentally at odds with efforts to avoid a growing climate crisis.”

“These platforms, and their considerable profits, depend on processing large volumes of data at a huge direct carbon cost.”

Big tech is driving division and distraction

Hosting and profiting from online ads is far from the extent of the tech giants’ impact on climate change.

The report examines how the same algorithms that use ads to profile and target users lead to division and distraction, ultimately making it harder to take critical climate action.

as people consume conspiracy theories Facebook Receiving posts that confirm their views, provocative climate misinformation and disinformation are prioritized by the algorithm because it leads to more engagement.

InfluenceMap shows 51 climate disinformation Only one of the ads placed on the US Facebook platform in the first six months of 2020 was pulled by the social media company. The rest collected 8 million impressions over a six-month period — and Meta profited directly from those impressions.

Meanwhile, the European Business Observatory found that the tech industry spends more than €97 million a year to lobby EU institutions. That makes it the largest lobbying arm in the EU, ahead of pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels, financeor Chemicals.

“Big tech billionaires are the oil tycoons of the 21st century, and their impact on climate change is equally damaging. This paper should be a wake-up call for the climate movement,” said Suzy Alay, a barrister, digital human rights expert and author of the report Gerry (Susie Alegre) said.

Activists have called on the climate movement to join broader efforts to address Big Tech’s business models and curb the power of online platforms.

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