Catherine Elizabeth Tucker's research while affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other places

Publications (111)

Article
Advertising is often criticized for presenting only partial or selective information about products. This criticism is particularly pronounced for health products, where large asymmetries in information may exist between consumers and firms. This paper explores how government restrictions designed to prevent selective advertising affect the types o...
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Full-text available
Some algorithms may have similar discriminatory tendencies to humans. The presented study investigates gender bias in social media advertising in the context of STEM careers. Results suggest that advertising algorithms are not gender-biased as such, but that economic forces in the background might lead to unintended, uneven outcomes. Spillover effe...
Article
Digital platforms have experienced pressure to restrict and regulate political advertising content. This paper presents evidence of unintended consequences of restrictions on political ads related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We use data on more than 300,000 ads from nearly 7,000 different advertisers from early 2020. We show that algorithmic determin...
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Full-text available
Omnichannel marketing is often viewed as the panacea for one-to-one marketing, but this strategic path is mired with obstacles. This article investigates three challenges in realizing the full potential of omnichannel marketing: (1) data access and integration, (2) marketing attribution, and (3) consumer privacy protection. While these challenges p...
Article
Curriculum is at the core of school quality. Curriculum changes often attempt to cater to local preferences while adhering to national standards. This tension often drives a school’s decision to invest in curriculum changes even though little is known about how these affect student performance. To examine these interrelated issues of product qualit...
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Full-text available
Digitization makes it easier for firms to build their innovation and marketing efforts around consumers' personal data. In this research, we employ a privacy perspective based on contextual integrity to examine how such practices can trigger privacy concerns. We propose that small entrepreneurial firms are often at a particular disadvantage compare...
Article
Digitization makes it easier for firms to build their innovation and marketing efforts around consumers' personal data. In this research, we employ a privacy perspective based on contextual integrity to examine how such practices can trigger privacy concerns. We propose that small entrepreneurial firms are often at a particular disadvantage compare...
Article
Previous research has shown that there exist “harbinger customers” who systematically purchase new products that fail (and are discontinued by retailers). This article extends this result in two ways. First, the findings document the existence of “harbinger zip codes.” If households in these zip codes adopt a new product, this is a signal that the...
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Full-text available
This paper asks whether the large amounts of digital data that are typically observed on large technology platforms—such as Google, Facebook, Uber and Amazon—typically give rise to structural conditions that would lead to antitrust concerns. In particular, I evaluate whether digital data augments or decreases concerns with regard to network effects...
Article
We explore data from a field test of how an algorithm delivered ads promoting job opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. This ad was explicitly intended to be gender neutral in its delivery. Empirically, however, fewer women saw the ad than men. This happened because younger women are a prized demographic and are mor...
Article
2019 American Economic Association. All rights reserved. Digital technology is the representation of information in bits. This technology has reduced the cost of storage, computation, and transmission of data. Research on digital economics examines whether and how digital technology changes economic activity. In this review, we emphasize the reduct...
Article
In the digital economy, influencing and controlling the spread of information is a key concern for firms. One way firms try to achieve this is to target firm communications to consumers who embrace and propagate the spread of new information on emerging and “trending” topics on social media. However, little is known about whether early trend propag...
Article
This paper explores how state genetic privacy laws affect the diffusion of personalized medicine, using data on genetic testing for cancer risks. State genetic privacy regimes employ and combine up to three alternative approaches to protecting patient privacy: Rules requiring that an individual is notified about potential privacy risks; rules restr...
Article
How do bitcoin early adopters seed the adoption S curve?
Article
The digitization of content has led to the emergence of platforms that draw information from multiple sources. This paper investigates whether aggregation of content by a single platform encourages users to “skim” content or to investigate it in depth. We study a contract dispute that led a major aggregator to remove information from a major conten...
Article
In October 2014, all 4,494 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were offered access to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. As a unique feature of the experiment, students who would generally adopt first were placed in a situation where many of their peers received access to the technology before them, and they then had...
Article
Online marketplaces have proliferated over the past decade, creating new markets where none existed. By reducing transaction costs, online marketplaces facilitate transactions that otherwise would not have occurred and enable easier entry of small sellers. One central challenge faced by designers of online marketplaces is how to build enough trust...
Article
This paper uses data from the MIT digital currency experiment to shed light on consumer behavior regarding commercial, public and government surveillance. The setting allows us to explore the apparent contradiction that many cryptocurrencies offer people the chance to escape government surveillance, but do so by making transactions themselves publi...
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Full-text available
The explosion of available data has created much excitement among marketing practitioners about their ability to better understand the impact of marketing investments. Big data allows for detecting patterns and often it seems plausible to interpret them as causal. While it is quite obvious that storks do not bring babies, marketing relationships ar...
Article
This paper empirically investigates the statistical relationship between levels of patent litigation and venture capital investment in the U.S. We find that VC investment, a major funding source for entrepreneurial activity, initially increases with the number of litigated patents. However, there is a “tipping point” where further increases in the...
Article
To attract the attention of potential customers, firms often advertise the maximum discount offered on any one good in the store, rather than the specific discount offered for the advertised product. However, it is unclear how such tensile claims of, for example, ‘up to 70%’ off, perform. On the one hand, promoting the maximum discount may help ads...
Article
The delivery of online ads has changed, so that rather than choosing to deliver advertising via a certain medium, instead within the same medium advertisers can choose which users their ads are shown to or allow an algorithm to pick the 'right' users for their campaign. In this paper we show initial data that suggests this shift in optimizing deliv...
Article
Many video ads are designed to go viral so that the total number of views they receive depends on customers sharing the ads with their friends. This paper explores the relationship between the number of views and how persuasive the ad is at convincing consumers to purchase or to adopt a favorable attitude towards the product. The analysis combines...
Article
In a digitally enabled world, experimentation is easier. In this paper, we explore what this means for marketing researchers, and the subtleties of designing field experiments for research. It gives guidelines for interpretation and describe the potential advantages and disadvantages of this methodology for classic areas of marketing.
Article
US government investments in health information technology (IT) have focused on giving incentives for digital health records in hospital settings and by individual physicians. We evaluate the omission of ambulatory care centers, by studying the effects of healthcare IT on ambulatory care quality, which we measure using the rate of hospital admissio...
Article
How many privacy policy updates does your credit card company send you each year? How many of them do you read through — and how many get immediately trashed? Companies often “manage privacy” and “keep consumers informed” by drafting their privacy policies as broadly as possible and consider their job done if they change the policy 10 times a year...
Article
We show that some customers systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail - the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. These customers, whom we call ‘Harbingers’ [of failure], prefer products that other customers do not want. More broadly, we docum...
Article
This paper investigates whether larger quantities of historical data confer a competitive advantage to firms that offer Internet search. We study how the length of time that search engines retained their server logs affected the apparent accuracy of subsequent searches. Our analysis exploits changes in these policies prompted by the actions of the...
Article
This paper provides a procedural guide for marketing academics interested in applying quasi-experimental methods. We outline the various types of econometric methods, lay out an etiquette, and describe a number of examples of related research by marketing scholars. We discuss three steps: identifying the research question, outlining the identificat...
Article
This paper explores how state genetic privacy laws affect the diffusion of personalized medicine, using data on genetic testing for cancer risks. State genetic privacy laws take three alternative approaches to protecting patient privacy: Requiring informed consent on the part of the individual; restricting discriminatory usage of genetic data by em...
Article
Marketing has often stressed the importance of targeting firm communications to consumers who embrace and propagate trends. However, little is known about how possible it is to use advertising to persuade them to embrace the topics a firm wants them to propagate. To explore this, we use data from a field test conducted by a charity on the micro-blo...
Article
There are many technology platforms that bring benefits only when users share data. In healthcare, this is a key policy issue, because of the potential cost savings and quality improvements from 'big data' in the form of sharing electronic patient data across medical providers. Indeed, one criterion used for federal subsidies for healthcare informa...
Article
Given the preponderance of free content on the Internet, news media organizations face new challenges over how to manage access to and the pricing of their content. It is unclear whether content should be free or whether customers should pay via a “paywall.” We use experimental variation from a media publisher’s field test of paywalls to examine de...
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Full-text available
Internet search engines display advertisements along with search results, providing them with a major source of revenue. The display of ads is triggered by the use of keywords, which are found in the searches performed by search engine users. The fact that advertisers can buy a keyword that contains a trademark they do not own has caused controvers...
Article
Firms can now serve personalized recommendations to consumers who return to their website, based on their earlier browsing history on that website. At the same time, online advertising has greatly advanced in its use of external browsing data across the web to target internet ads. 'Dynamic Retargeting' integrates these two advances, by using inform...
Article
Patent-assertion entities, sometimes known as `patent trolls,' do not manufacture goods themselves but profit from licensing agreements that they often enforce via the threat of litigation. This paper explores empirically how litigation by a patent troll affected the sales of medical imaging technology. It finds evidence that relative to similar pr...
Article
The technological transformation and automation of digital content delivery has revolutionized the media industry. Increased reliance on automation has also led to requirements for standardization of content-delivery formats. This paper examines how the memorability of banner advertising changed with the introduction of new standards regularizing i...
Conference Paper
The Internet now enables firms to collect detailed and potentially intrusive data about their customers both easily and cheaply. I discuss three empirical results related to customer privacy-protection that is enacted in response to this change. 1) Privacy protection that focuses on obtaining consent appears to lead to less effective advertising. T...
Article
Given the demand for authentic personal interactions over social media, it is unclear how much firms should actively manage their social media presence. We study this question empirically in a healthcare setting. We show empirically that active social media management drives more user-generated content. However, we find that this is due to an incre...
Article
One of the new realities of advertising is that personal information can be used to ensure that advertising is only shown and designed for a select group of consumers who stand to gain most from this information. However, to gather the data used for targeting requires some degree of privacy intrusion by advertisers. This sets up a tradeoff between...
Article
In social advertising, ads are targeted based on underlying social networks and their content is tailored with information that pertains to the social relationship. This paper explores the effectiveness of social advertising using data from field tests of different ads on Facebook. We find evidence that social advertising is effective, and that thi...
Article
We use data from a large-scale field experiment to explore what influences the effectiveness of online advertising. We find that matching an ad to website content and increasing an ad's obtrusiveness independently increase purchase intent. However, in combination, these two strategies are ineffective. Ads that match both website content and are obt...
Article
This paper models how regulatory attempts to protect the privacy of consumers' data affect the competitive structure of data-intensive industries. Our results suggest that the commonly used consent-based approach may disproportionately benefit firms that offer a larger scope of services. Therefore, though privacy regulation imposes costs on all fir...
Article
The digital revolution means that consumers can now quickly and easily access content that is aggregated from many online sources. However, digital aggregation has tested the boundaries of copyright law. It is not clear whether allowing extracts of copyrighted works to be distributed by others benefits or harms copyright holders. We ask whether dig...
Article
Many video ads are designed to go 'viral', so that the total number of views they receive depends on customers sharing the ads with their friends. This paper explores the relationship between `earning' this reach and how persuasive the ad is at convincing consumers to purchase or adopt a favorable attitude towards the product. The analysis combines...
Article
This paper explores how restricting pharmaceutical search advertising affects the types of information that consumers seek online about drugs. We examine how consumer search patterns changed after the FDA issued warnings to pharmaceutical companies, prohibiting their use of Internet search ads. Our results suggest that, after the reduction in pharm...
Article
After firms adopt electronic information and communication technologies, their decision-making leaves a trail of electronic information that may be more extensive and accessible than a paper trail. We ask how the expected costs of litigation affect decisions to adopt technologies, such as electronic medical records (EMRs), which leave more of an el...
Article
Firms that sell via a direct channel and indirect channels have to decide whether to allow third-party sellers to use the trademarked brand name of the product in their advertising. This question has been particularly controversial for advertising on search engines. In June 2009, Google started allowing any third-party reseller for a product to use...
Article
Anja Lambrecht and Catherine Tucker, ‘When does Retargeting Work? Timing Information Specificity’, Working Paper, April 2011.
Article
Advertisers use online customer data to target their marketing appeals. This has heightened consumers' privacy concerns, leading governments to pass laws designed to protect consumer privacy by restricting the use of data and by restricting online tracking techniques used by websites. We use the responses of 3.3 million survey takers who had been r...
Article
Information and communication technology now enables firms to collect detailed and potentially intrusive data about their customers both easily and cheaply. This means that privacy concerns are no longer limited to government surveillance and public figures' private lives. The empirical literature on privacy regulation shows that privacy regulation...
Article
Fast-paced IT advances have made it increasingly possible and useful for firms to collect data on their customers on an unprecedented scale. One downside of this is that firms can experience negative publicity and financial damage if their data are breached. This is particularly the case in the medical sector, where we find empirical evidence that...
Article
Full-text available
We use data from a large-scale field experiment to explore what influences the effectiveness of online advertising. We find that matching an ad to website content and increasing an ad's obtrusiveness independently increase purchase intent. However, in combination, these two strategies are ineffective. Ads that match both website content and are obt...
Article
The commentaries on our work suggest several broader implications of our findings as well as a concern that we understate the size of the effect. In this rejoinder, we discuss our views on the regulatory implications, the implications for firm strategies, and the implications for our understanding of the underlying behavioral processes. We also ack...
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Full-text available
Popularity information is usually thought to reinforce existing sales trends by encour- aging customers to ock to mainstream products with broad appeal. We suggest a countervailing market force: popularity information may bene t niche products with narrow appeal disproportionately, because the same level of popularity implies higher quality for na...
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Studying how privacy regulation might impact economic activity on the advertising-supported Internet.
Article
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) facilitate fast and accurate access to patient records, which could improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. Using a 12-year county-level panel, we find that a 10 percent increase in births that occur in hospitals with EMRs reduces neonatal mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is driven by a reduct...
Article
For many services, customers subscribe to long-term contracts. Standard economic theory suggests that customers evaluate a contract as the sum of benefits and payments. We suggest that rather than evaluating multi-period service contracts at the contract-level, customers use period level bracketing. They evaluate the distinct per-period loss or gai...
Article
This paper investigates how internet users' perception of control over their personal information affects how likely they are to click on online advertising. The paper uses data from a randomized field experiment that examined the relative effectiveness of personalizing ad copy with posted personal information on a social networking website. The we...
Article
Electronic medical records (EMRs) facilitate fast and accurate access to patient records, which could improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. Using a 12-year county-level panel, we find that a 10 percent increase in births that occur in hospitals with EMRs reduces neonatal mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is driven by a reduct...
Article
This paper investigates how internet users' perception of control over their personal information affects how likely they are to click on online advertising. The paper uses data from a randomized field experiment that examined the relative effectiveness of personalizing ad copy using posted personal information on a social networking website. The w...
Article
This paper investigates how the destabilizing of a social network may increase the scope of network externalities, using data on sales of a video-calling system made by a business-to- usiness manufacturer to banking employees and subsequent usage by these customers. The terrorist attacks of 2001 led potential customers in New York to start communic...
Article
This chapter explores what makes online advertising different from traditional advertising channels. We argue that online advertising differs from traditional advertising channels in two important ways: measurability and targetability. Measurability is higher because the digital nature of online advertising means that responses to ads can be tracke...
Article
Many firms have introduced internet-based customer self-service applications, such as online payments or brokerage services. Despite high initial signup rates, not all customers actually shift their dealings online. We investigate whether the multi-stage nature of the adoption process (an `adoption funnel') for such technologies can explain this lo...
Article
We explore substitution patterns across advertising platforms. Using data on the advertising prices paid by lawyers for 139 Google search terms in 195 locations, we exploit a natural experiment in “ambulance-chaser” regulations across states. When lawyers cannot contact clients by mail, advertising prices per click for search engine advertisements...
Article
Full-text available
The technological transformation and automation of delivery has revolutionized the advertising industry. Increased reliance on technology has also led to requirements for standardization of advertising formats. This paper examines how the memorability of banner advertising changed with the introduction of new standards regularizing the size of disp...
Article
This paper explores how digitization and the associated use of customer data have affected the evolution of consumer privacy concerns. We measure privacy concerns by reluctance to disclose income in an online marketing research survey. Using over three million responses over eight years, our data show: (1) Refusals to reveal information have risen...
Article
These comments are prepared with the aim of clarifying the contribution, insights, and context of the academic research we have done in the area of digital privacy.
Article
Online advertising is increasingly subject to antitrust scrutiny. Despite this scrutiny, in their 2010 article in this Journal, James Ratliff and Daniel Rubinfeld emphasized that there is a lack of empirical analysis on whether the large offline advertising market disciplines the online advertising market. In this comment, we summarize recent empir...
Article
Firms' decision-making is increasingly leaving an electronic trail. We ask how the threat of litigation aects decisions to adopt technologies that leave more of an elec- tronic trail, like electronic medical records (EMR). On the one hand, firms may embrace a technology that allows them to easily document that their actions were appropriate if they...
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Full-text available
Two-sided exchange networks (such as eBay.com) often advertise their number of users, presumably to encourage further participation. However, these networks differ markedly on how they advertise their user base. Some highlight the number of sellers, some emphasize the number of buyers, and others disclose both. We use field experiment data from a b...
Article
We examine whether the growth of the internet has reduced the effectiveness of government regulation of advertising. Specifically, we combine variation in state and local regulation of offline alcohol advertising with data from field tests that randomized exposure to online advertising for 275 different online advertising campaigns to 61,580 indivi...
Article
We investigate how the public exposure of names and addresses of handgun carry permits ’ holders affects criminals ’ propensity to commit crimes, as a function of the revealed number of gun permits across locations. In December 2008, a Memphis, TN newspaper published a searchable online database of names, zip codes, and ages of Tennessee handgun ca...
Article
Fast-paced IT advances have made it increasingly possible and useful for firms to collect data on their customers on an unprecedented scale. One downside of this is that firms can experience negative publicity and financial damage if their data is breached. Encrypting customer data is often presented as a potential solution, because encryption acts...
Article
Full-text available
We examine how structural changes in the cellular services industry between 1996, when local markets were duopolies, and 1998, when they had experienced varying degrees of regulated entry, simultaneously affected firms' product offerings and nonlinear pricing strategies. We relate digital technology adoption and the characteristics of calling plan...
Article
We examine empirically whether the size of a network user affects the scope of their network usage, and consequently the level of network externalities within the network. We use the example of information exchange in healthcare. We find that larger firms are more likely to exchange electronic patient information internally, but are less likely to...
Article
When a multi-channel retailer opens its first retail store in a state, the firm is obligated to collect sales taxes on all Internet and catalog orders shipped to that state. In this paper, we assess how opening a store affects Internet and catalog demand. We analyze purchase behavior among customers who live far from the retail store but who are ob...
Article
In April 2006, the real estate listing service in Massachusetts adopted a new policy that prohibits home sellers from resetting their property’s “days on market” to zero through relisting. We study the effect of this new policy on single-family home sales along the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border, using homes in Rhode Island, which did not change...
Article
Firms introducing network technologies (whose benefits depend on who installs the technology) need to understand which user characteristics confer the greatest network benefits on other potential adopters. To examine which adopter characteristics matter, I use the introduction of a video-messaging technology in an investment bank. I use data on its...
Article
Search engine advertising, identifying and using customer's own search terms to match customer's interest with advertisers, have an advantage over other online advertising. An examination of match difficult affecting an advertiser decision is done by using data from a Web site portal and combining the data with information about the popularity of t...
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Full-text available
This paper highlights how the provision of information about user participation can serve as a strategic marketing tool for firms seeking to grow two-sided exchange networks. A two-sided exchange network is a business model (such as Ebay or Craiglist) where revenue is generated from persuading people to buy and sell items through that particular ex...

Citations

... Digital transformation refers to the process by which enterprises apply digital technologies such as networks, communications, and computing to transform organizational structures and business models to achieve workflow optimization, organizational efficiency improvement, and value creation (Vial, 2019). As a revolution, digital transformation may fundamentally change the structure and trading mode of production factors, which will have an important impact on production efficiency and ecological environment (Goldfarb et al., 2015;Verhoef et al., 2019). ...
... The dynamic changes in these preference structures can also be preemptively predicted to make recommendations for each listener at every point in the time they spend on the platform. In response to the recent concerns around consumer tracking and privacy (Lambrecht et al. 2021), accessing data from third-party cookies for building targeted recommendations is gradually being phased-out of practice. 1 However, our approach provides a way of making more informed recommendations using only the click-through activity of the listeners on the platform. ...
... Accordingly, consumers have limited purchase experience with green durable goods, which means that are usually unfamiliar with these products. If consumers have less professional knowledge or access to information, then information asymmetry will arise between consumers and retailers [57,58]. In this case, consumers need external clues, such as value concepts and brand image, to help them make decisions because the consistency of values between consumers and retailers can improve the green trust in products [47,48]. ...
... Even without the feeling of invasiveness, data collected on our daily activities can be used to cater to us with offerings that will unintentionally cause us financial and personal harm (Cowgill and Tucker, 2019;Lambrecht and Tucker, 2021), increase the likelihood for addiction, or deny us opportunities that others may receive. As an example, even basic health insurance can be out of reach for some, if health data are revealed without proper customer protection. ...
... This inclusive and expansive definition and scope of education is reflected in the content of this special issue, Although we discuss individual articles in detail subsequently, we draw attention to the fact that the content of this special issue spans a wide variety of educational avenues including K-12 education (Sen and Tucker 2022;Zhou, Gill, and Liu 2022), university education (Krishna and Orhun 2022), online education (Lu, Bradlow, and Hutchinson 2022;Narang, Yadav, and Rindfleisch 2022), and sales training (Singh, Sen, and Borle 2022). The content of this special issue also examines many different actors including students (Narang, Yadav, and Rindfleisch 2022), salespeople (Singh, Sen, and Borle 2022), curriculum development departments (Sen and Tucker 2022), grocery shoppers (Bollinger et al. 2022), school administrators (Dolbec et al. 2022), home tutors (Kim et al. 2022), and buyers of educational products and services (Tu, Kwon, and Gao 2022). ...
... Our findings indicate that privacy and security are the most concerning ethical matters. These concerns are also the contemporary challenge in adopting an omnichannel approach (Cui et al., 2021). After that, we investigate the effect of these concerns on the adoption of healthcare wearables through a quantitative study. ...
... Many authorities and government organisations in Europe and the United States chose social media as the main tool to diffuse COVID-19 related information and linked protection methods to the public. Spanish, Belgium and Latvia's governments set up limitations on advertisements about particular activities during COVID-19 (Cecere et al., 2020;Håkansson, 2020). Accordingly, the advertisements on social media platforms associated with pandemic issues are under strictly monitored by all the governments. ...
... For a recent discussion on privacy in consumer marketing, we refer the interested reader to the research of Krafft et al. (2021), who developed a framework to understand how both individuals and firms derive value from the data exchange. Algorithmic bias has been covered recently by Lambrecht and Tucker (2020). The work of Puntoni et al. ...
... In light of consumer privacy concerns, Bleier et al. (2020) identify steps firms can take to mitigate those concerns and potentially derive a competitive advantage through privacy innovation. These steps include building trust, providing consumers control over the use of their data, and offering increased transparency in how digital signals are used. ...
... In a recent Observer article, Finn (2020) reported that "Forty-four percent of New Yorkers living in poverty do not have access to the internet... [and] when looked at through the lens of race, the statistics highlight a deeper inequality: 30 percent of black and Hispanic New Yorkers lack access, while 20 percent of white and 22 percent of Asian residents go without reliable internet at home" (May 12, 2020, paragraph 8). The "digital divide" exacerbated existing educational inequalities due to school closures and social distancing measures (Sen and Tucker, 2020). While socioeconomic disparities seemed to contribute significantly to students' access or lack thereof to technology, racial-ethnic factors played a role in exacerbating these differences (Jones and Abes, 2013), reinforcing societal normative ideologies and linguistic tropes. ...