Media trends

The giant ad tech bubble may soon burst

Illustration of check being shredded by smartphone
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

At first glance, the ad tech industry looks like it's doing fairly well. Most stocks for major publicly-traded firms — along with related marketing tech and data broker firms — experienced gains in the first quarter of this year.

Reality check: The recent collapse of Sizmek, one of the biggest demand-side ad platforms, suggests that the positive momentum behind these companies could be inflated, and that the big money bubble that's floated dozens of hot ad tech companies over the past few years is about to burst.

Viral lies spread before Indian and Indonesian elections

A smartphone user in New Delhi. Photo: Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Swelling nationalism and religious tensions are coloring two of the world’s largest democratic exercises, in India and Indonesia, thanks in part to incendiary misinformation proliferating on social media.

The big picture: Both countries have among the largest populations of social media users on the planet, and cheap smartphones mean more people are being connected every day. The propaganda and fearmongering we’re seeing isn’t new, but powerful tools are spreading it farther and more rapidly than ever before.