What Next: TBD

How Targeted Ads Started Watching Us All

Two companies changed the advertising industry forever. We’re just beginning to see the consequences.


Episode Notes

In 2019, for the first time, more advertising money went toward targeted digital ads in the U.S. than to radio, television, cable, magazine, and newspaper ads combined. The moment was the culmination of a decadeslong journey that has completely transformed media, politics, and privacy.

How did the targeted ad come to hold so much power? And what did we lose along the way?

Guest: Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of media studies at the University of Virginia


About the Show

Every Friday, Slate’s popular daily news podcast What Next brings you TBD, a clear-eyed look into the future. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, Lizzie O’Leary is your guide to the tech industry and the world it’s creating for us to live in.

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  • Lizzie O’Leary is the host of What Next: TBD, Slate’s show about technology, power, and the future. Previously, she created and hosted Marketplace Weekend. She has reported for CNN, Bloomberg News, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She is also a contributing writer at the Atlantic.