May 6, 2019 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…

Facebook Plans New Emphasis on Private Communications
In a bold shift in strategy, Facebook is now betting that private messaging and small-group chats will be the future of social media. This is a total about face from what made Facebook the tech giant that it is—encouraging people to share photos and messages publicly.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that Facebook plans to offer encrypted messaging across “all of its major products.” The goal is to make private conversations short-lived. They also want to develop new products within its new messaging services, including payments and e-commerce.

Why is Facebook doing this? Zuckerberg says it’s the result of user demand. The thinking now is that people would rather communicate in small groups or one-on-one instead of blasting out thoughts to the public. Facebook says these changes are not designed to replace the public platform.

Google Boosts DV360 Safety Controls
Google continues to put effort into protecting brands on its social media site. The company issued a blog post informing that, starting in August 2019, Ads.txt will become the new default setting for new campaigns.
Once that change is firmly in place, Google also said that its Google DV360 will quit buying “unauthorized” inventory, leaving only validated inventory available to marketers. The company also announced plans to bring brand safety to the “forefront” with an update that will make it “easier to see cross-campaign brand safety in areas such as content labels and keyword exclusions.” The update will also allow brands to make changes all at once across multiple campaigns.

These changes will come via a new dashboard known as “Brand Controls.” Besides being able to see everything and make changes at the same time, Brand Controls will show marketers the percentage of traffic filtered before a bid is placed, another part of its “fraud detection and brand suitability” safeguards.

FCC’s Commissioner Presses Carriers on Location Privacy
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is seeking information from the major wireless carriers regarding when they stopped selling customer’s location data and how these companies went about deleting or destroying shared data.

In a letter, Rosenworcel also asked the carriers how they currently treat customer’s location data. The inquiry is said to be the result of media reports that the data has been sold with consumer consent and without proper safeguards.

Commissioner Rosenworcel also publicly rebuked the FCC for its failure over the past year to respond to the data sales revelations. She said the public has not been provided any details on the matter.

Google to Let Users Delete Mobile Auto-Tracking Data
Google has announced a new feature for mobile users—the ability to delete mobile auto tracking data. This is data that involves search and location.

The feature will be rolled out in the coming weeks. It will automatically delete a person’s location history along with web and app activity after either three or 18 months. Users will have the ability to decide what length of time works best for them. And the function will continue to delete data based on the user’s preference moving forward.

Google took steps at clarifying how it tracks mobile phones last year (electronic tracking). The introduction of the auto-delete function is in response to the revelation that Google apps were able to track a phone’s location when the location history in the phone was turned off.

Senator Raises Concerns over Data-Protection Rules Hurting Small Businesses
A prominent US politician has publicly questioned if privacy laws, such as GDPR in the European Union and attempts by California to follow suit, are hurting small businesses.

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi is worried that efforts to protect personal data are also “inadvertently” decreasing privacy. Wicker is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In a hearing, Wicker also has concerns that GDPR is causing some small businesses to shut down due to compliance costs. But Ireland’s data-protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, in response to Wicker’s concerns, said there is no direct evidence GDPR causing small businesses to go belly up.

Dixon also said other problems can be solved simply by carefully crafting the rights provided in any legislation similar to GDPR. Analysts believe a new nationwide privacy law is a longshot to get enacted this year.