Tech companies are far more likely to provide consumers with inaccurate information, according to a new study.
The finding is a result of the way they’ve used the Internet to gather data for advertising, said Dr. Matthew McIlwain, who led the research at the University of Michigan and published the findings online Monday in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
“There’s a lot of data on the impact of advertising on news consumption,” he said.
“The problem is that the advertising is always coming from a source that doesn’t always tell you the truth.
The information that we’ve gathered from social media tells us what people are doing and what’s going on in their lives, but it doesn’t tell you who’s doing it.”
Researchers used information from Google and Facebook to study how the companies’ advertising operations affect the way people search and consume news.
They found that the information that companies were providing for advertising was often more biased toward news sites, which tended to have a more conservative bias than sites that had a more liberal bias.
“We found that these biases were more pronounced when we compared a company that provided a balanced news environment to one that was more biased,” McIlWain said.
For example, when Google introduced a new feature that could automatically filter out the most controversial articles from Google News, advertisers were more likely not to show ads to news sites that contained the same information, McIlSays.
This was because advertisers were concerned that news sites would get more traffic and they might also see a decrease in sales, because users would think the site was less relevant.
“That’s the sort of bias that we would expect in a news site,” he added.
The findings also showed that when companies provided more information about themselves, they were also more likely than other companies to show advertisers the most biased ads.
“What we’re trying to show is that these companies are much more likely when it comes to getting their information about the world into the public sphere,” McSays said.
The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Harvard Business School, examined the impact on consumer perceptions of ads by Google and Microsoft, the second- and third-largest online advertising companies, according the company.
“We found the opposite effect, with Google showing the most unbiased ads, but not Microsoft,” McInnis said.
McInnis and McIlwsons research found that more than 70 percent of the ads that Google and other tech companies showed to consumers were from the same company, with no bias to any news sources.
The ads included articles that showed people in the news were doing better than people in other news areas, such as education and health.
The researchers also found that when people read a news article that contained a neutral or positive article, the more they read the more likely they were to be willing to pay for it.
But when the news article showed the opposite, people were less willing to spend money on the product.
“The news is biased, but consumers are more willing to buy things that don’t change the world they live in,” McIllows said.
He said the research was the first to suggest that companies are making decisions to provide information about their products in the form of ads.
“They’re telling you the information they want to know about,” McMillan said.
When it comes time to make a decision about whether or not to purchase a product, the people most likely to be swayed by this information are the people who are paying attention, he said, adding that the company’s decision to show neutral or even positive content could lead people to be less willing or able to make that decision themselves.
“I think that is a big part of the problem that we have in terms of consumer information, that we’re not paying enough attention to it,” McInglis said.