Author archives

Joel Eastwood,Visualizations Engineer, The Markup. Joel Eastwood is a visualizations engineer who transforms data into compelling graphics and interactive websites. Before joining The Markup, Joel was a graphics editor with The Wall Street Journal’s investigations team and, before that, a data journalist at the Toronto Star. Joel’s graphics were part of the Journal’s 2019 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. His work has also contributed to two Pulitzer Prize finalists, a Worth Bingham Prize entry, a Gerald Loeb finalist, a Data Visualization of the Year award, and eight awards from the Society for News Design.

We Found 650,000 Ways Advertisers Label You

If you spend any time online, you probably have some idea that the digital ad industry is constantly collecting data about you, including a lot of personal information, and sorting you into specialized categories so you’re more likely to buy the things they advertise to you. But in a rare look at just how deep—and weird—the rabbit hole of targeted advertising gets, Investigative Data Journalist Jon Keegan and Visualizations Engineer Joel Eastwood of the The Markup analyzed a database of 650,000 of these audience segments, newly unearthed on the website of Microsoft’s ad platform Xandr. The trove of data indicates that advertisers could also target people based on sensitive information like being “heavy purchasers” of pregnancy test kits, having an interest in brain tumors, being prone to depression, visiting places of worship, or feeling “easily deflated” or that they “get a raw deal out of life.”

Subjects: Big Data, Civil Liberties, Competitive Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Data Mining, E-Commerce, Health, Privacy