A look at how companies try to reach potential customers.

Examining Problems, and Solutions, for Journalism in the Age of Online Platforms

On Feb 25, 2019, Free Press released Beyond Fixing Facebook. The authors, Timothy Karr and Craig Aaron, look beyond Facebook to address a deeper problem infecting the entire "attention economy": the abuse of targeted advertising.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto takes on racial ad targeting in new data privacy bill

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced a data privacy bill that would explicitly bar platforms like Facebook and Google from serving targeted ads that discriminate against protected groups, particularly by race, sexual orientation or gender. The DATA Privacy Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission to put in place specific definitions for what is considered discriminatory behavior in targeted ad and data practices. It would also extend the FTC’s civil penalty authority for violations of those rules, alongside broader protections on user data.

Beyond Fixing Facebook

The report calls for a tax on targeted online advertising to respond to the crisis in journalism and fund diverse, local, independent and non-commercial news and information. The report proposes a series of proposals to levy a small tax on ads sold by highly profitable companies like Facebook and Google.

Rep Eshoo, Sen Markey Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Surprise Telephone, Cable, and Internet Fees

Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees (‘TRUE Fees’) Act. The TRUE Fees Act requires phone, cable, and internet providers to include fees, charges, and surcharges in the prices they advertise for service; allows customers to end their contract without early termination fees if their provider increases prices; prevents hikes on equipment fees unless providers improve equipment; and prohibits forced arbitration clauses for wrongful billing errors.

Facebook inadvertently pulls, reinstates Trump Organization ads labeled as political

Facebook removed more than 100 ads paid for and posted by The Trump Organization after Facebook mistakenly classified them as political in nature and requiring payment disclosures. Advertisements for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC,  the Trump National Doral golf course in Miami, and the Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland were among the 117 ads removed from Facebook. Those ads have returned to Facebook after the network was notified by Scotland's national newspaper The Scotsman that some Trump property posts had been labeled as political.

Campaigners urge Facebook to restore ad monitoring access

Facebook has agreed to share more information about political advertising on its platform.

DOJ To Look at Impact of Online Advertising on Local TV Ads

Department of Justice antitrust chief Makan Delrahim says that the DOJ will be holding a two-day workshop on the impact of online advertising on the local broadcast TV market, and whether it should adjust its merger reviews given the argument that the edge is now competing for the local car dealer ads and should be considered part of the relevant competitive market. Justice has been considering the issue in relation to a couple of recent merger reviews, Delrahim pointed out, specifically the aborted Sinclair-Tribune merger, and the follow-up Nexstar-Tribune merger.

The Facts About Facebook

Fifteen years ago, I realized you could find almost anything on the internet—music, books, information—except the thing that matters most: people. So I built a service people could use to connect and learn about each other. I’ve heard many questions about our business model, so I want to explain the principles of how we operate. I believe everyone should have a voice and be able to connect. If we’re committed to serving everyone, then we need a service that is affordable to everyone.

Monopoly is breaking America’s free press; it’s time to break monopoly

Open Markets Institute calls on Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to immediately investigate how to protect America’s independent news media from the power and predatory business models of Google and Facebook.

Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data

How well do Americans understand algorithm-driven classification systems, and how much do they think their lives line up with what gets reported about them?