We’re only weeks away from the Facebook and Google developer conferences, so the media, data and tech stream of news is slowing to a trickle.
- Firefox has updated their iOS browser to firewall tracking data by default and comes off the back of the previous desktop update which quarantines Facebook data. Firefox’s desktop market share sits in the low teens and on iOS even lower. So it’s unlikely to have any material impact on ad targeting, delivery, etc.
- there’s an FCC filing from Snapchat that hints at a new pair of Spectacles. Sadly no photos/sketches of Spectacles v2 but oddly enough I came across a Linked In an ad from Snap (in partnership with BCG) that promotes AR as the next big thing in advertising. So maybe AR features in the Spectacles 2.0 future?
- A sign that GIFs are going further mainstream. Tenor (which was recently acquired by Google) will soon be powering GIF messaging on Linked In, specifically in Linked In messaging.
- It’s always nice to see clients come together, this time it’s Hulu & Spotify, who are offering a bundled subscription for $12.99+tax.
- Randomly spotted in mobile search results, Google is starting to surface “interesting finds” which shows a grid of AMP content pages from media publishers. Relevant to clients as a mobile search result page real estate is already at capacity, so “interesting finds” pushes will push non-paid results even further off the page.
During the week, it was announced that I am taking on additional responsibility within UM as Global Brand Safety Officer. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more detail on what this means for clients and teams. What I do want to immediately share is that I have been working with the 4As to launch the Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB).
What is the APB? It is a cross-agency coalition where we will collectively share data and intelligence on Brand Safety Incidents (BSI). Yes, other major holding companies are actively participating. This is good news for everyone. Why? Because if any agency sees or experiences an issue, 1. we will all be alerted about the BSI; 2. be able to respond/protect our individual clients; 3. find what went wrong and 4. jointly hold partners accountable. It stops the game of telephone that occurs when there is an issue and we will now truly understand the magnitude of the challenges and be able to act as an industry.
One message I want everyone to take away is that brand safety cannot be seen as a source of competitive advantage. It’s in the interests of the entire industry to solve whether you’re an agency, advertiser, publisher or tech platform. Just like the credit card industry, card issuers collectively protect all banks and customers as there needs to be underlying confidence in the system. The same is true for brand safety, there’s no benefit to any advertiser or agency if their ads are “more brand safe” as problems undermine confidence across all advertisers for all of digital.
My immediate ask for you is if you ever see or experience a brand safety concern (even if not a UM client) – please let me know. More to come on this topic.
Zuckerberg’s testimony was received well by Wall St (stock was up 4.5% on Tuesday). It seems unlikely that the Federal Government will immediately push for regulation, but keep in mind that the FTC investigation is still to come as well as EU/UK investigations. The FTC investigation is significant because Facebook does have a consent decree with the FTC from 2011 which covers topics like privacy, apps with inappropriate data permissions, etc. all of which is directly connected to the Cambridge Analytica incident.
If you didn’t watch each hearing in full, the House transcript is here and the Senate transcript is here. Zuckerberg’s prepared remarks are also available (PDF). I have a clean PDF transcript of all documents. If you want a copy, email me.
There are infinite write-ups of what was / was not discovered during Zuckerberg’s testimony. I strongly recommend reading the testimony so you can understand what is relevant from your clients perspective. But here’s the major takeaways:
- Zuckerberg expressed contrition for not only Cambridge Analytica but more general failure to adequately address Russian election interference
- revealed that Zuckerberg’s own Facebook profile was part of the Cambridge Analytica data leak
- continued to show general support for a GDPR-like self-regulated global privacy solution
- did not rule out also offering a “paid” offering (in conjunction with free) for those that want an ad-free version
My personal pick for the most interesting direct question came from Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) asked Zuckerberg if he would commit to minimizing, “to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users’ data.” Zuckerberg did not give a yes/no answer, saying the issue was complex. Vox has a good write up on the Pallone-Zuckerberg exchange. It does show that there is a regulator thinking that data collection should be opt-in for end-users.
One of the running jokes is that Zuckerberg’s testimony was similar to a Thanksgiving dinner where you describe what we in advertising/marketing do for a living to your parents/grandparents. While it’s a little funny, the past few days show just how little understanding there is of how sophisticated the industry has become and what end-users can do, should do and incorrectly believe to be true (No, Facebook doesn’t listen to you on your phone microphone). As an industry, we need to do better educating the public because if US-based privacy legislation is to ever eventuate, the worst thing for the industry would be for it to be driven and drafted from an ill-informed perspective (or conspiracy theories).
Other Facebook Updates
- users can now check if their data was in the Cambridge Analytica data leak.
- Facebook announced a Data Abuse Bounty. This is a system for any user to report an app that abuses data collection and potentially receive a reward. The reporting user must have proof and cannot be based on speculation and you must have knowledge of both parties (the data collector and to whom the data is sold). The FAQs provide good detail. Minimum reward is $500.
- Apps not used in the last 90 days will be blocked from collecting user data. The change was hinted at but is now in effect. The process is detailed in the Facebook developer blog and will require users to re-authenticate the Facebook login and re-verify permissions. The positive news for brands is apps are not deleted/remove it’s more a rolling 90-day opt-in process. If your client is going to be negatively impacted, there is an escalation process (and you should also contact your Facebook rep).
- Facebook launched an initiative to help researchers understand and assess the impact of social media on elections. This work will be independent of and results not subject to review or approval by Facebook. Academics from Harvard University and Stanford Law School have helped develop the approach.
Have a great (brand) safe week.
PS. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had more than the usual number of people reach out to thank me for this email newsletter (it’s appreciated). I’ve also seen a spike in UM sign-ups. If you were forwarded the email, please subscribe.