2018.09.28 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s all the digital media news you may have missed:


The big news Friday (9/28) was a security incident on Facebook, exposing up to 90million accounts due to a bug in the “View As” feature (View As has since been disabled). 50million accounts are known to impacted and 40million accounts are being reset as a precaution. The bug impacted users from July 2017 – September 28 (see this timeline) and Facebook has notified law enforcement. There is a Facebook blog post on the security incident, which has updated a few times since it was published. At the time of writing, no advertiser/business accounts have been impacted. That said, the bug does impact any services where users log in with Facebook and affected users will be logged out of these 3rd party apps as well.

The US FTC commissioner stated in a tweet that they want answers on the issue, the NY Attorney General tweeted they are looking into the hack, the Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus has called for social media legislation, UK and EU regulators have expressed concern, and a class action lawsuit has already been filed. Affected users will be notified by Facebook and logged out and forced to log back in. Facebook reports there is no need to update your passwords, but as is always the case with a security incident like this, updating your password would be prudent. It’s also important to understand this was a hack/security breach, not a data-leak (the latter was the case with Cambridge Analytica).

  • The Instagram Stories Ad Format is now available globally with UM clients among the first to test the product. Over 300million people use the stories feature daily. Stories is definitely an ad format to consider as full-screen, vertical content they contain is the best way to connect and engage via mobile devices.
  • AT&T has relaunched and rebranded their advertising/ad tech unit (which includes AdWorks and AppNexus) as Xandr. As part of the launch, Xandr also released an “Ad Relevancy Report” (PDF link) that states 66% of people wish ads were more relevant to them (a good argument for more addressable advertising).
  • A rumor doing the rounds and reported by Bloomberg is that Nielsen may be acquired by a private equity firm. There seems to be a broader private equity play for data measurement firms. Neustar, Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify all have either been taken private or had major strategic investments by PE firms in the past year or so.
  • Apple has finally closed on their US$400MM acquisition of Shazam. Most importantly, Apple announced Shazam will soon become Ad-Free for all users. It’s not yet clear what Ad-Free mean for the other commercial integrations Shazam offers e.g. Shazam an ad or product to learn more.
  • Sirius XM is acquiring music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at US$3.5B and subject to regulatory approval. In announcing the deal, Sirius has stated that there will be no change to the product offerings or branding of either company.
  • Facebook announced their new standalone Oculus VR headset, the Oculus Quest.  Due in Sprint 2019, the Quest will retail for US$399, doesn’t require a PC, and offers 6 DoF (Degrees of Freedom). Meaning if you are wearing the Oculus Quest you can move freely in any direction.
  • A reminder, October 1 Facebook cuts off access to native 3rd party data targeting (Partner Category targeting) within the platform on October 1.

Finally, some trivia. Google celebrated turning 20 years old during the week with a Google Doodle. It’s hard to believe Google is 20.

Thanks for reading and have a great NY Advertising Week!