Universal Digital Ad Transparency

31 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2021

See all articles by Laura Edelson

Laura Edelson

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Jason Chuang

Mozilla Corp.

Erika Franklin Fowler

Wesleyan University - Government

Michael Franz

Bowdoin College

Travis N. Ridout

Washington State University

Date Written: August 3, 2021

Abstract

We argue that existing digital ad transparency efforts fall short of enabling holistic auditing required to address the growing challenges of online ads. We propose a technical standard for Universal Digital Ad Transparency. We review historical ad transparency regulation in the United States and motivations for a universal standard.We define criteria for determining which ad platforms should comply with Universal Ad Transparency, what content should be made transparent, and technical details about how ad platforms can comply with Universal Ad Transparency. We compare our proposed standard to current voluntary transparency efforts on the part of some digital ad platforms, and current pending legislation in the United States. Lastly, we discuss both potential problems with our proposal, and potential mitigations.

Suggested Citation

Edelson, Laura and Chuang, Jason and Franklin Fowler, Erika and Franz, Michael and Ridout, Travis N., Universal Digital Ad Transparency (August 3, 2021). TPRC49: The 49th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3898214 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3898214

Laura Edelson (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering ( email )

6 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Jason Chuang

Mozilla Corp. ( email )

Mountain View, CA
United States

Erika Franklin Fowler

Wesleyan University - Government ( email )

United States

Michael Franz

Bowdoin College ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States

Travis N. Ridout

Washington State University ( email )

816 Johnson Tower
Troy Lane
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wsu.edu/~tnridout/

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