Playing the Unjust Game

Human beings regularly enjoy some great benefits on the back of their diversity. It helps us in touching upon a wider spectrum, thus adding a lot more elements to our growth than there would be otherwise. However, there is always a flipside, isn’t it? Our tendency to function across areas entirely different in nature can also quickly become a tale of clashing interests. This, as you can imagine, leads to severe disruptions, and at times, such disruptions also end up affecting a huge group of people. To keep the said situation from playing out, we have opted for dedicated regulation all over the board. By establishing a close monitoring-framework, we were able to bolster accountability, which, in turn, paved the way for a safer and more organized world. However, the wants and needs that come with maintaining a regulatory structure changed drastically once technology stepped into the field. There were suddenly far more avenues to facilitate unethical activities than ever before. At first, the governing forces had to seemingly suffer a lot to preserve their place in the world’s fabric, but their unrelenting efforts are now finally steering them in the right direction, and the evidence for that was recently delivered by a case involving e-commerce giant, Amazon.

The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a coalition of US labor unions, has officially filed a complaint against Amazon on the basis of deceptive advertising. As per the complaint, more than quarter of Amazon search results are sponsored by third-parties, and yet the company has consistently failed to label these results adequately so to keep the user better-informed. Furthermore, researchers at SOC, using their analysis of more than 130,000 search results as an argument, even claimed that Amazon was in violation of literally all FTC guidelines for online ad identification.

“It’s really the combination of how often the advertisements on Amazon platforms are deceptive, together with how prevalent the ads are among all of its search pages, that really calls into question for us whether Amazon’s entire search platform itself is deceptive,” said SOC research director, Joan Moriarty.

Apart from it, the SOC talks at length about how Amazon plays around with the “sponsored” label by making it extremely small, and therefore, hard to recognize. As if these tactics were enough, Amazon has also resorted to “lazy loading” for ad labels. Lazy loading is basically when the sponsored label appears a few seconds after the rest of the advertised listing. In an era where attention spans are reducing at a breakneck pace, it becomes obvious that such tiny-looking methods can really play a big role in customer’s decision.

Amazon, on the other hand, has gone on the record and deemed these allegations as “incorrect”.

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