Reuters

US Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco will hear net neutrality case

The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation randomly selected the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to hear the consolidated challenges to the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules. A dozen challenges [including one filed by the Benton Foundation] have been filed by 22 state attorneys general, public interest groups, internet companies, a California county and the state’s Public Utilities Commission seeking to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect

Nonprofits scramble to comply with new Google ad policy

Google gives $10,000 in credits each to 35,000 nonprofits worldwide every month to buy ads on its search engine. But Google found that some ads received few clicks and announced in December 2017 that it would stop funding groups that generate clicks off less than 5 percent of their ads in two consecutive months. Grant recipients called it a wake up call to pay attention to Google after years of focusing on social media marketing. But despite rushing to comply, several said they could not do so in only two months and that their accounts may not get funded for March.

Twitter bars tactics used by 'bots' to spread false stories

Twitter will no longer allow people to post identical messages from multiple accounts, cracking down on a tactic that Russian agents and others have allegedly used to make tweets or topics go viral. Twitter will also not allow people to use software to simultaneously perform other actions such as liking or retweeting from multiple accounts. Twitter said it would give users until March 23 to comply before suspending accounts. It made an exception for bots of broad interest such as earthquake alerts.

FCC to publish net neutrality rules on Feb 22

Apparently, the Federal Communications Commission is slated to publish on Feb 22 its order scrapping network neutrality rules. The official publication of the measure in the Federal Register will start the clock on the 60-day window that Congress has to pass a resolution reversing the FCC’s order to get rid of net neutrality rules. The order’s publication will open the door for state attorneys general and advocacy groups to launch lawsuits aimed at preserving the rules.

Facebook loses Belgian privacy case, faces fine up to $125 million

A Belgian court threatened Facebook with a fine of up to 100 million euros ($125 million) if it continued to break privacy laws by tracking people on third party websites.  In a case brought by Belgium’s privacy watchdog, the court also ruled on Feb 16 that Facebook had to delete all data it had gathered illegally on Belgian citizens, including people who were not Facebook users themselves.

What We Heard From Four FTC Nominees

The Senate Commerce Committee convened a hearing for the president’s nominees to serve as Federal Trade Commissioners: