A look at how companies try to reach potential customers.

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.

Twitter to Restrict How Certain Advertisers Target Users

Twitter will no longer allow certain types of geographic or keyword targeting for advertisers promoting any type of cause, as part of rules aimed at blocking most political-related ads on its platform. Geotargeting isn’t allowed at the ZIP Code level nor are advertisers allowed to target users by their political leanings or affiliations, as part of efforts to limit issues-based advertising. Twitter defines issues-based ads as those related to civic engagement, economic growth, environmental stewardship or social-equity causes.

Can social media “targetcasting” and democracy coexist?

Since the time of the early advertising-supported newspapers, economic incentive has worked to bring people together around a common set of shared information. Maximizing ad revenue meant offending as few readers as possible by at least attempting a balanced presentation of the facts. The search for balance began to retreat with the arrival of cable television, but the economic model of maximizing revenue by maximizing reach still governed. The targeting capability of social media algorithms, however, has extinguished the traditional economic model.

Facebook considering limits on targeted campaign ads

Facebook is considering restricting politicians' ability to use highly detailed demographic and personal information to narrowly target would-be voters with ads, policy chief Nick Clegg confirmed in a possible shift in the social network's broadly permissive policy on political advertising. Clegg declined to discuss any other changes, saying the company is still in the decision-making process.