Sep 19, 2022

Ph.D. Student Liza Gak Discusses the Harms of Targeted Weight Loss Ads​​​​​​​ on Data Skeptic

From Data Skeptic, Ad-Tech

The Harms of Targeted Weight Loss Ads

Hosted by Kyle Polich

Today, we are joined by Liza Gak, a Ph.D student at UC Berkeley. Liza’s research interest lies around human-computer interaction (HCI), social computing, and how people are harmed online. She discusses her research on harmful weight loss advertising.

She started by discussing some observations from her study on weight loss ads, many of which are not in the interest of the ad viewers. She also discussed the problem with weight loss ads and unsubstantiated facts. Speaking of her research methodology, Liza explained how she sourced respondents for her interviews. She delved into the kind of questions asked and the strategies she employed in eliciting information from the respondents.

Liza explained how she grouped and coded the qualitative data using the inductive iterative approach. She spoke about her findings, iterating how weight loss ads target the vulnerable. She then discussed the several sources of harm in weight loss ads.

Liza discussed how advertisers can be more transparent with the data they use for ad targeting. She also explained how ad distribution platforms can play a role in ameliorating the harm ads cause to users. 

Rounding up, she discussed her other interest in the ad tech space.

Listen to the podcast online.

Liza Gak is a doctoral student at the UC Berkeley School of Information.

Last updated:

October 27, 2022