A look at how companies try to reach potential customers.

Google Chrome's privacy changes will hit the web later in 2020

Google's Chrome team, advancing its web privacy effort, later in 2020 will begin testing the "privacy sandbox" proposals it unveiled in 2019. The Chrome tests are part of an effort to make it harder for publishers, advertisers and data brokers to harvest your personal data without your permission and to track you online. Other browsers, including Apple's Safari, Brave Software's Brave, Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge, have pushed steadily to cut tracking for the last few years.

At the heart of Facebook’s rocky public position is the scale of its own power

By the end of the 2014 election, campaigns and political committees had directly spent about $8 million on Facebook advertising, less than half the amount they’d spent on Google. Through September of 2019, that figure neared $46 million, 50 percent more than what Google took in. And that’s only direct spending, excluding spending by political consultants on behalf of candidates or campaigns. In the 2016 campaign alone, Donald Trump’s team spent somewhere around $70 million on Facebook through a digital firm run by Brad Parscale, who is now Trump’s campaign manager. 

Twitter’s ban on political advertisements hurts our democracy

Twitter recently announced that it will no longer allow political advertisements on its digital platform. Implementation of this decision, if possible at all, will have dire consequences for American democracy. Defining a political advertisement is nearly impossible. And social media helps under-funded candidates. And Twitter's ban will not eliminate disinformation. 

Google fined ~$166 million by France over search ads

Autorité de la concurrence, France's competition authority, fined Google €150 million ($166 million) for abusing its dominant position in online advertising. At issue are the ads that appear next to search results. France's competition authority says that Google rules governing how and when advertisers can show their ads next to search results are applied in an "unfair and random manner."

Facebook will bar posts, ads that spread disinformation about the U.S. Census

Facebook will remove posts, photos and other content that mislead people about the US Census starting in 2020, aiming to prevent malicious actors from interfering in a critical, once-in-a-decade process that determines political representation. The new policies come as civil-rights leaders urge Facebook to act more aggressively against content that targets vulnerable communities, including people of color and immigrants, who may be most influenced by social-media misinformation about voting.

Broadcasters Fight Political Ad Disclosure Changes

With billions of political ad dollars on the line, broadcasters are working hard to make sure a new Federal Communications Commission ruling does not take even a little bite out of their share of that likely record political pie. Broadcasters want the FCC to loosen up when it comes to the reporting requirements for political ads — rules they say could lead to them having to turn down political ad dollars. The reporting obligation stems from the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, but the FCC has discretion in how it interprets the requirements in its rules implementing that law.

How Facebook’s new ad policy helps politicians who lie

Mark Zuckerberg has rigged the rules of Facebook political advertising, making him complicit in lies and voter manipulation. The result is the most powerful propaganda amplifier in history, boosting campaigns that traffic in falsehoods. Zuckerberg’s company screens some paid political advertising for lies. But since early October, it makes an exception: When candidates pay for the ads, it will run any ad — even those with blatant lies.

FTC Faces Push to Study Ads Targeting Children

Pediatricians and consumer advocates are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate practices for collecting online data about children, amid concerns advertisers might be manipulating children with targeted ads.

Privacy for America Releases Detailed Policy Framework to Provide Strong Data Privacy Protections for All Americans

Privacy for America, a coalition of top advertising trade organizations and companies, released a comprehensive new framework for nationwide privacy legislation that would fundamentally change the way consumer privacy and security are protected in this country. The framework represents a new approach to data privacy that would not rely on the current ‘notice and choice’ model, which presents consumers with endless and complex privacy notices that they are essentially forced to accept if they want to participate in today’s economy.

Trump campaign, spending furiously to counter impeachment inquiry, assails Facebook over potential changes to political ad rules

The Trump campaign lashed out at Facebook after company executives said they were considering changes to rules around political ads that could affect the campaign’s ability to target its supporters on the platform. The outcry came as Trump’s reelection team has undertaken a massive spending blitz on Facebook aimed at countering the House’s impeachment inquiry. Trump’s page alone promoted more than $830,000 worth of ads in the seven days ending on Nov 17, according to Facebook’s ad archive.