The Conversation

Why 'bad' ads appear on 'good' websites – a computer scientist explains

Examples of 'bad ads' found on the web: clickbait articles, potentially unwanted programs, miracle weight loss supplements, gross-out images, and investment pitches. Screenshot by Eric ZengSketchy ads, like those for miracle weight loss pills and suspicious-looking software, sometimes appear on legitimate, well-regarded websites. It turns out that most websites don’t actually decide who gets to show ads to their viewers. Instead, most sites outsource this task to a complex network of advertising tech companies that do the work of figuring out which ads are shown to each particular person.

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