The Tremendous Importance of Labeling Consumer Products

I really like the analogy of labeling advertisements on social media to labeling food products.  Since advertisements are in a way consumer products, they should be labeled as to make consumers aware of what they ‘buying’ (believing) just like when buying food products.  Many years ago, the FDA required all food products to be labeled with allergen information, which got a lot of push back from companies as it cost them money.  Companies disliked the regulation because they lost some consumers that now would not consume some products after knowing about the allergens and the companies had to do more research and be careful in what they were putting into their products (especially ingredients that were outsourced).  In the same way, labeling on advertisements will be resource intensive and get push back.  As someone with an extremely severe peanut allergy, my life depends on the labeling of food products to decide what I can consume.  So, I similarly find the labeling of advertisements extremely valuable so people know what they are consuming.  With the food labeling, some companies blindly slap on labels such as “May contain egg, milk, and peanuts” as a lazy way to make sure they are not liable.  There could be similar issues in labeling advertisements, but since I am extremely grateful for the food labeling that is overall beneficial, I think that label advertising will also be mostly beneficial.

 

Our discussion on what news organizations to trust was quite interesting.  Personally, I do not think trust is the right way to think about news because all news is biased.  Even ‘facts’ are biased since one could say that the Atlanta Falcons beat the New York Jets 25 to 20 emphasizing the Falcons’ victory or one could say that the New York Jets lost to the Atlanta Falcons 20 to 25 highlighting the Jets’ defeat.  For information, I tend to look at a broad spectrum of news outlets and usually like to supplement with videos before believing anything.  The idea of looking at the stock market for ‘facts’ is quite intriguing, but the market can have big swings in reaction to powerful individuals.  For example, when Hillary Clinton reproached Mylan (company that makes Epi-Pen) over twitter, Mylan’s stock immediately plummeted, but later recovered.  Anything can be twisted or manipulated.

2 Comments »

  1. Mike Smith

    November 1, 2017 @ 11:35 pm

    1

    Interesting thoughts. I don’t think of “trust” in the conversation we had as the same as objective or unbiased, but simply truthful at its core. Let’s put aside absolutely false news. In the gray zone, it’s true that you can emphasize the Falcons win or the Jets loss, but neither presentation leaves me confused about the outcome. However, what if the news reported that the Falcons killed the Jets in the football game without reporting the score? You still knew which team won and which team lost, but I’d claim I’d be left with an impression of the game that wasn’t the truth. I don’t think 25-20 is the Falcons killing the Jets. I’d imagine something like 35-0. Maybe that’s not a big deal, but that’s the start of what those who want to manipulate us do to lead us somewhere they want for their own purposes, typically without my knowledge or consent. That’s where I become uncomfortable.

  2. Jim Waldo

    November 4, 2017 @ 7:53 pm

    2

    I hate to push your skepticism even further, but with the advances in video and audio editing, are you sure you can believe video anymore?

    I think even in the case you cite, you can conclude (from the combined stories) that Atlanta won, the Jets lost, and the score was 25-20. Who was responsible (was it the Falcons great play that allowed them to win, or the Jet’s bad play that caused them to lose) is more in doubt, but the lack of knowing everything doesn’t mean that you can’t know something. And if you read someplace that, in fact, Atlanta lost, you could pretty quickly find out that report was simply wrong.

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