Thursday, July 22, 2021

Clorox is outbidding Vanderbilt for ad space

Following up on an earlier post showing Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter show 20% fewer STEM ads to women than men:  as  Scientific America explains

Women are pricier to reach because they generally make more household purchasing decisions than men do. ...
...on Instagram it cost $1.74 to get a woman’s eyeballs on the ad but only 95 cents to get a man’s.
In other words, Clorox is outbidding Vanderbilt for ad space likely to be seen by women because Clorox places a higher value on the ad.  However, auctions are efficient, so both men and women end up seeing the highest-value ads.  

 OK, so there is no "disparate treatment" of men and women, but isn't it illegal to adopt practices that have a "disparate impact?" My understanding (I am NOT an attorney) is that Federal law prohibits both "disparate treatment" and "disparate impact" discrimination, even though adhering to one would violate the other. 

 For example, if you give a bidding advantage to STEM educational institutions when they bid for ad space likely to be seen by women, the algorithm is treating women differently than men.  This kind of disparate treatment is what the article recommends.

The same kind of tradeoff shows up in the current debate about equality (equal treatment) and equity (equal outcomes). If we want equity, we have to give up on equality.  


  1. > To get to equity, we might have to give up on equality.
    This isn't news, so much as the plan.


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