Digital Ad Fraud: Bots Invasion 1

Digital Ad Fraud: Bots Invasion

August 8, 2019 | Research
When facts become the subject of a massive attack, not only political parties are at risk, but our entire way of life is at risk.

Disinformation can be encountered in every area of life, and the consequences of this have a clear financial dimension. In the case of the most talked-about political fact sheets, the consequence may be the destabilisation of the state, which ultimately translates into the economy. When the misinformation concerns the publishers’ and advertisers’ market, each company can calculate its own losses or misspent money. It turns out that the biggest fraudsters and scammers are bots.

According to the analysis of advertisers, the level of facial traffic varies from a dozen or so % to a level of 50-60 % in the case of reach campaigns. This consists of multiple openings or frauds based on the number of clicks, treatments in the attribution of advertising, ad stalking. Bots perform these activities in a service-oriented manner.

Interestingly, the advertising world is better aware of this than the media. The model of an economy based on trust in brands and recommendations experiences a parallel attack often carried out with the same methods as during election campaigns.

The World Advertising Federation estimates that ad fraud will reach 50 billion every year by 2025, the second-largest source of revenue from organised crime after drug trafficking. The first arrests for this activity took place in November 2018, thanks to the cooperation of Google and the FBI.

The market for publishers and advertisers must not disregard the social context in which it operates. The next generations are growing up, for whom the world of the Internet and its current rules are natural. They prepare themselves to function in the digital world, also by learning to use tools and instruments to achieve their goals.

Critical thinking remains crucial in the fight against disinformation, but it is easier to think about it when we know when we are dealing with a bot and when we are dealing with a human being. As Paul Nemitz, a consultant to the European Commission and authority on European law on artificial intelligence recalls:

“We need a rule that makes it clear that the messages we receive in a discussion or forum come from a person or a machine”.

Today the digital advertising industry should stand together in the fight against disinformation.


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