P rivacy Controls, Ad Fraud and Stolen Stories

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Nick Cotton Nov 2, 2018

Here’s the news we’re talking about around the Zbra Studios water cooler. We’ve provided key bullet points from each article for the speed readers out there.

Google is Putting More Privacy Controls Directly in Search
By Lily Hay Newman from Wired
  • “The company will start showcasing privacy mechanisms directly within search, so you can review and delete your activity log without having to navigate to another screen, learn what data Google collects about you, and more easily find relevant granular privacy controls.”
  • “Google calls the new feature Your Data, and has experimented with offering information about data privacy in different formats like video, illustrations, and text. The idea, Miraglia says, is to help as many users as possible understand what data a service collects, why, and what controls are available.”
  • “Privacy advocates say, though, that while more clarity and explanation is always helpful, Your Data doesn’t address underlying questions about whether users can trust that Google’s controls actually do what the company claims.”
This Ad Fraud Scheme Stole Millions, But Almost No One In The Advertising Industry Wants To Own Up To It
By Craig Silverman from Buzzfeed News
  • “The fraud operation exposed by BuzzFeed News last week involved more than 125 Android apps and websites that tracked real human users and used this data to program bots to mimic their behavior as a way to evade fraud detection systems. These bots opened apps and loaded webpages in order to generate fake ad views, and therefore revenue for the fraudsters. The affected apps and websites were distributed among a web of shell and front companies to hide their true owners and obscure the scale of the operation.”
  • “Carroll said the lack of public disclosure about the ongoing theft of advertising budgets is part of the industry’s effort ‘to stave off law enforcement and lawmakers.’ But now law enforcement and lawmakers are applying scrutiny to the digital ad industry, and to criminal behavior within it.”
  • “Google removed many of the apps from its Android Play store, so BuzzFeed News was only able to examine ad networks integrated into apps still available for download.”
The ‘Stories’ product that Facebook copied from Snapchat is now Facebook’s future
By Kurt Wagner from Recode
  • “Stories has been a huge hit inside of Facebook’s apps, especially Instagram and WhatsApp. Zuckerberg even said that people will share more to Stories than they will to Facebook or Instagram’s feeds in the ‘not-too-distant future,’ making Stories one of the most dominant ways that people share photos and videos online.”
  • “There is a problem with Facebook’s obsession with Stories, though: The business isn’t there yet, which means that as users turn their time and attention to Stories, and away from the feed, Facebook is scrambling to build a business that can capitalize on that shift in attention.”
  • “Facebook hasn’t built the kind of robust business around video ads that it has around its regular feed ads.”

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