2019.09.13 Last Week in Digital Media


Welcome to another Last Week in Digital Media.

It’s hard to start a review of the week without details on the State Attorney General probe into Google.

Fifty Attorney Generals across various States and Territories (led by Texas) announced an investigation into Google. Alabama and California are not participating, the latter being particularly interesting given California’s moves on online privacy (although possibly balanced against the fact Google’s HQ and most of tech. is in California).

The details on the investigation are light but Bloomberg claims to have seen a 29-page document detailing the concerns. It’s reported that Google has until October 9th to respond with information about its ad business and acquisitions in the ad tech sector. Google has not publicly responded other than pointing to an old blog post.

Other investigations and hearings to surface during the week:

Internationally, Google agreed to pay French authorities close to €1B to settle a fiscal fraud probe regarding tax payments. France signaled it would block Facebook Libra in Europe as it sees it as a threat to monetary sovereignty.

In other European regulator news, Margrethe Vestager the EU Competition Commissioner, who issued record fines against Google, secured a second 5-year term, opening the door to EU regulation of the tech sector.

Finally, the News industry is planning to head to the Hill to lobby for oversight of the tech. sector and rules to better protect News organizations.

Now onto the other news you have missed:


  • PushSpring is now officially part of T-Mobile. The acquisition occurred back in July and marks the formal move of T-Mobile into the mobile ad industry.
  • the Stories format continues to gain traction across platforms, with Google bringing stories to Google Photos. In Google Photos instance, the format is called “Memories” and is designed to help you take a stroll down memory lane.
  • Apple announced new iPhones, Apple Watches, and iPads. The IPG Media Lab has an in-depth write-up. The news important to share here is Apple TV+ pricing was announced, coming in at US$4.99 per month for a family plan with people who buy certain new Apple devices getting a free 1-year subscription.
  • while on the Apple event, a reminder IOS 13 comes out next week and as part of the update provides more transparency on when apps collect and disclose your location. This (possibly) prompted Facebook to publish a blog post about why it needs your location data. It will be important to monitor the quality of location data across all partners in the weeks and months post the release of iOS 13 (and how client apps that collect location data may be impacted by iOS 13).
  • if you’re after some insights into Disney+ it’s worth looking at the Netherlands where Disney is testing the service (you can get a preview of the Disney+ UI here). In the Netherlands, Disney+ has already come in at #1 on the iOS App Store.
  • Amazon Alexa will soon have the ability to answer using crowdsourced information thanks to Alexa Answers. Similar to Quora, there are concerns that the offering might be hijacked by trolls (or worse).
  • Spotify users can now share what they are listening to on Snapchat. There are also future plans to let users share content within Snapchat stories.
  • in other Spotify news, the company acquired Soundbetter, a marketplace for music production services (Producers, Mixing Engineers, Singers, Songwriters, etc). as it moves further upstream with content, artists, and music production.
  • it’s reported that Ninth Decimal acquired the marketing and advertising technology of Kiip. There are limited details on the transaction and more details of what it means for both businesses are expected over the coming weeks.



This is the first time I have written about industry webinars, but these are both important and useful so deserve attention.


  • Firefox continues to take steps to protect user privacy, announcing a pilot program called “Firefox Private Network”. Firefox Private Network is effectively a VPN offering. If you’re interested in testing it currently free, requires a Firefox account, and is limited to the US-only for now.
  • CEOs across a range of US companies sent a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for Federal Privacy regulations. Sent from the industry group, Business Roundtable, the letter (PDF link) includes signatures from the likes of Amazon, Accenture, P&G, Walmart, and IPG. The group also outlined a proposed framework for privacy legislation (PDF link).
  • there’s an investigative report on Vice that reveals DMV’s are selling license and registration data to private investigators and credit reporting companies. Demonstrating it’s also the government who may be profiting from the sale of consumer data, not just commercial entities.
  • Facebook published a blog post detailing the values that inform Facebook’s Community Standards. There are 4 values detailed, these are Authenticity, Safety, Privacy, and Dignity and they principles apply globally.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.