Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The reductionist nature of click rates

Jeff Hammerbacher once famously said, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

The problem isn’t the click rate.

There are many things on which people can click or tap. These things can be good or bad.

The click rate, however, does not reflect this moral dimension. It reduces the question to only show whether or not there was a click, and a click is always considered good. It's all about the count, not the content.

When discernment over the moral content is lost, the meaning is redefined. The action itself becomes the meaning instead of what the action means.

This can lead to consider a click on something that's bad as something that's good.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

This not new to clicks either. I've heard a story of a movie studio that didn't care about whatever morally corrosive effects their content had on the culture so long as it made them money.

“the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

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