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Roland Martin Calls Out Digital Redlining in Advertising, Masked As ‘Brand Safety’


Journalist Roland Martin, host of the podcast “#RolandMartinUnfiltered,” is calling out the process of digital redlining in advertising. 

He recently tweeted, “The advertising industry doesn’t want to invest in Black-owned news. We are told that we aren’t ‘brand safe’ due to the stories we cover: racism, police brutality, etc. Then there is the issue of Black folks actually supporting Black-owned media.”

Moguldom Nation tweeted in response to Martin, “Mr. Martin is correct about the digital redlining in the advertising industry, masked as brand safety. Would be interesting for him to take this up with his friends in the Democratic Party. The chief redliners in corporate America are Democrats. We know this area well.”

Martin has been known to be fiercely pro-Democrat. In July, he pleaded his case why Black people should continue to vote Democrat. He said he warned people off the Republican party because as America is browning, with whites becoming lower in population numbers, “Republicans want to solidify white people.”

Digital redlining is the use of technology to discriminate. It can include the practice of internet companies failing to provide infrastructures for service such as broadband internet to lower-income communities, Mashable reported.

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Digital redlining also refers to unfair ad-targeting practices Online ad-targeting can exclude people who belong to historically marginalized groups from opportunities, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“In today’s digital world, digital redlining has become the new frontier of discrimination, as social media platforms like Facebook and online advertisers have increasingly used personal data to target ads based on race, gender, and other protected traits,” the ACLU said in a press release. “This type of online discrimination is harmful and disproportionately impacts people of color, women, and other marginalized groups, yet courts have held that platforms like Facebook and online advertisers can’t be held accountable for withholding ads for jobs, housing, and credit from certain users. Despite agreements to make sweeping changes to its ad platform, digital redlining still persists on Facebook.”

Martin also mentions “brand safe.” Brand safety refers to practices meant to help advertisers avoid any placement or context that could potentially harm the advertiser’s brand or reputation, according to Apps Flyer.

Roland Martin poses at the premiere of the documentary film “Sidney,” Sept. 21, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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