A look at how companies try to reach potential customers.

Google Executive Gets Grilling on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers from both parties sharply criticized Google over its dominance in advertising at a Senate hearing that showcased the arguments likely to play out if the government moves to sue the tech giant for anticompetitive practices. The senators were particularly focused on Google’s dominant position at every step in the chain of technology that connects web publishers with advertisers, and on the ways Google has used the market power it wields through it


Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights

Senate Judiciary Committee

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 19:00

Google is the dominant player in online advertising, a business that accounts for around 85% of its revenues and which allows it to monetize the data it collects through the products it offers for free. Recent consumer complaints and investigations by law enforcement have raised questions about whether Google has acquired or maintained its market power in online advertising in violation of the antitrust laws. News reports indicate this may also be the centerpiece of a forthcoming antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Facebook to Limit Political Ads Week Before Election, Label Premature Claims of Victory

Facebook will prohibit new political advertisements in the week before the US presidential election in Nov and seek to flag premature claims of victory by candidates, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said.

Facebook Moves to Limit Election Chaos in November

Facebook moved to clamp down on any confusion about the November 2020 election on its service, rolling out a series of changes to limit voter misinformation and to prevent interference from President Donald Trump and other politicians. The social network, in one of its most sweeping sets of election actions, said it planned to bar any new political ads on its site in the week before Election Day. It said it would also strengthen measures against posts that try to dissuade people from voting.

Tech's deepening split over ads and privacy

A new fight between Facebook and Apple over the mechanics of ad tech is surfacing an industry divide over user privacy and spotlighting longstanding dilemmas about the tracking and use of personal information online. Facebook warned advertisers jAug 27 that a coming change to Apple's iOS could devastate revenue for ads that sends users straight to the App Store to install an app — an approach that's used widely by developers including mobile game makers.

Facebook Says Apple’s New iPhone Update Will Disrupt Online Advertising

Facebook says privacy changes that Apple has made to its newest operating system will cripple Facebook’s ability to serve targeted ads to iPhone users while they use outside apps. The announcement, which Facebook made in a note to app developers, will affect its Audience Network business, which connects users’ Facebook identities with their off-platform activities. That enables the company to serve them ads on apps outside of Facebook’s. The changes go into effect with Apple’s new operating system for iPhone, called iOS14, which was released in beta form to developers recently.

Justice Department Disagreement Arises Over Possible Google Antitrust Suit

Some Justice Department staffers have expressed internal concerns over plans to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google—and what they view as an aggressive timeline favored by Attorney General William Barr. The department has been moving toward bringing a lawsuit as soon as this summer, but some lawyers involved in the yearlong investigation have expressed a belief that the department doesn’t have a camera-ready case right now and needs more t

TikTok Tracked User Data Using Tactic Banned by Google

TikTok skirted a privacy safeguard in Google’s Android operating system to collect unique identifiers from millions of mobile devices, data that allows the app to track users online without allowing them to opt out. The tactic, which experts in mobile-phone security said was concealed through an unusual added layer of encryption, appears to have violated Google policies limiting how apps track people and wasn’t disclosed to TikTok users. TikTok ended the practice in November 2019. The identifiers collected by TikTok, called MAC addresses, are most commonly used for advertising purposes.

Groups Warn of Downsides to Remote Learning

Over 100 organizations and individuals, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, have signed on to a letter warning about the downside of remote learning in the age of COVID-19 and beyond. As some school districts pull back on reopening in person due to spikes in the virus, privacy and other groups are warning parents and schools to "look past simplistic solutions peddled to increase EdTech profits, and find ways to limit students’ time on digital devices." Their concern is the push for remote learning will translate to EdTech companies capturing more children's data, crowd teac

FCC Commissioner Starks Seeks Details On Bidstream Consumer Data And Procedures To Ensure Data Privacy

On Aug 4, Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks sent letters to AT&T and Verizon inquiring about the aggregation and monetization of sensitive consumer data that is generated for advertising placement purposes. Recent reports indicate that this data is being used to track Americans’ locations to protests and places of worship.