Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

“When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.” – Google Privacy Policy Google says it collects location data when you use … Continue reading Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Some big changes are coming to online privacy, especially when it comes to companies like Google and Facebook.  The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes a new set of rules designed to give people more control over their data. Think about how much of “you” is online.  Things like who you associate with, … Continue reading Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Former Facebook President says Facebook is designed to be addictive

There are now documented cases of social media addiction.  It’s a real thing. According to Facebook’s first President, it’s no coincidence.  Sean Parker started up Napster and later served as Facebook’s President.  The billionaire told an audience at Axios in Philadelphia recently that social network are designed to stimulate and “hook” users. “The thought process … Continue reading Former Facebook President says Facebook is designed to be addictive

A Closer Look: Facebook over-estimates reach by dramatic numbers

Maybe you saw the headline:  Facebook claims it reaches more people in the U.S. than actually live in the U.S.  It’s pretty startling when you realize, according to a report from the Video Advertising Bureau, that Facebook claims to reach 39 million U.S. adults age 18-24… when there are only 31 million that live here … Continue reading A Closer Look: Facebook over-estimates reach by dramatic numbers

One of the creators of Google News calls the search site “shameful and irresponsible” in spreading fake news

Google's already under fire for its role in spreading "Fake News."  Now, one of the engineers who helped create Google News had quite a bit to say about the search site and it wasn’t flattering.  Krishna Bharat helped lead the team the creation team, but posted to Facebook that Google News has become “shameful and … Continue reading One of the creators of Google News calls the search site “shameful and irresponsible” in spreading fake news

Facebook vows to fight back against foreign interference in US elections

CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan to protect the integrity of US election.  He says he wants to make sure “Facebook is a force for good in democracy.” “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine (our) democracy,” Zuckerberg said in a video address.  In order to do that, he said, Facebook … Continue reading Facebook vows to fight back against foreign interference in US elections

Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

When ads target you on-line from where you’ve gone in the real world If clicking on a website once and having its ads stalk you wherever you go on-line wasn’t enough, now there’s real world targeting.  Go to a physical store and they’ll re-target you online. Now Facebook appears to be getting in the game.  … Continue reading Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

It’s a battle over privacy rights that has constitutional law implications.  At the heart of it if a simple question with an incredibly complex answer:  If you share it on social networking websites, does it become public or can access by limited? Right now, the case features two companies going to court:  LinkedIn and hiQ.  … Continue reading If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Here’s an interesting debate: If you’re a public official, should you have the right to block people from your social media page? A number of public officials are being sued, including Governor’s in Maryland, Kentucky, and Maine, by state ACLU chapters. Kentucky Governor Sued In Kentucky, the ACLU there filed suit on behalf of some 600 … Continue reading Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

FTC investigates allegations of deceptive pricing tactics by Amazon

When a company like Amazon buys a company like Whole Food, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes a look at a lot of other things than just the business deal at hand.  Reuters reports that the FTC is looking into allegations of misleading price tactics used by Amazon. The investigation comes on the heels of … Continue reading FTC investigates allegations of deceptive pricing tactics by Amazon

93% of sponsored celebrity posts aren’t FTC complaint

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced it was cracking down on improperly-labeled native advertising and disclosures on paid social media posts.  In April, the FTC sent out more than 90 letters reminding influencers and marketers that influencers should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media. The FTC’s Endorsement Guides provide … Continue reading 93% of sponsored celebrity posts aren’t FTC complaint

Facebook refuses to release political advertising data

Television stations must disclose to the public which politicians bought advertising on which station, how much they spent, and where the ads run.  It’s available for anyone that wants to go the station’s section on the FCC website for all to see. Not so for the internet.  Facebook, not known for its transparency when it … Continue reading Facebook refuses to release political advertising data

Mixing GPS location data with advertising

The privacy folks are about to have a whole lot of new things to worry about.  We’ve all been cyber-stalked by ads following us around the internet.  Publishers put a pixel, in most cases, on their website that tie into their ad network buys.  This allows them to track where else we go on-line and … Continue reading Mixing GPS location data with advertising

The Illusory Truth Effect: The more someone sees “fake news,” the more they believe it

A study done by Yale University’s Department of Psychology, Department of Economics, and School of Management concluded that “even a single exposure (to fake news) increases perceptions of accuracy.” Here’s the kicker: Even when flagged as disputed by fact-checkers, or warned that the story might be fake, the perception of accuracy went up. “Increased perceptions … Continue reading The Illusory Truth Effect: The more someone sees “fake news,” the more they believe it

Man fined $4,000 for clicking the Like button of defamatory Facebook posts

Here’s a twist.  A Swiss man has been fined roughly $4,000 bucks for clicking the Like button on Facebook.  Yup, you read that right.  Fortune reports that the man (not named in court) clicked the Like button on what a judge termed defamatory comments on Facebook. By clicking the Like button, the judge said, the … Continue reading Man fined $4,000 for clicking the Like button of defamatory Facebook posts

Social media companies facing fines for failing to remove hate speech, illegal content quickly enough

Social Media is under attack again in Great Britain as government officials debate fines if Facebook and Twitter don’t remove illegal content fast enough. Britain’s home affairs committee unleashed a scathing report, going so far as to suggest the social media companies pay for policing.  They compared it to a soccer team that pays for … Continue reading Social media companies facing fines for failing to remove hate speech, illegal content quickly enough

FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Turn over its use of Supercookies (also called Zombie Cookies). The FTC has accused Turn of deception by tracking consumers for ads even after people tried to opt out.  While not admitting any wrongdoing, the settlement will prohibit Turn from misrepresenting what it does in gathering … Continue reading FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

I put this up right outside my office door to remind everybody who walks into our TV station how important it is that journalists do their job. The Bill of Rights warrants Congress shall make no law abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press.  The founders saw journalists role as so important it … Continue reading Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor

Al Gore jokes aside, the man credited with creating the WWW in web addresses says we’ve got some big problems on-line that need to be addressed. He’s published a letter to the world, titled “Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor.” In the letter, Tim Berners-Lee, talks about three specific things that need … Continue reading Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor

How to label something Fake News on Facebook and have the fact-checkers take a look

Have you seen the “Disputed News” flag on Facebook articles yet? If not, you will soon. It hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet, but Facebook now has a way for you to report Fake News. To mark a news story as fake: Click next to the post you’d like to mark as fake Click Report … Continue reading How to label something Fake News on Facebook and have the fact-checkers take a look

With growing advertiser complaints, Facebook agrees to third-party measurement

With rising unhappiness among advertisers and ad agencies with Facebook’s measurements and its resistance to third-party verification (see list below), Facebook blinked. It now says it will commit to an outside audit to verify data accuracy. “We are committing to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to verify the accuracy of the information … Continue reading With growing advertiser complaints, Facebook agrees to third-party measurement

Majority of millennials say they don’t think pirating video is illegal

There's more evidence that this Millennial generation is really different than Boomers. Taking a look at two studies, one done by YouGuv commissioned by Irdeto and the other by Anatomy Media,  shows than more than half of millennials watch content illegally. The survey also asked  if they felt any guilt or remorse for watching pirated video.  … Continue reading Majority of millennials say they don’t think pirating video is illegal

World’s largest advertiser tells digital agencies to fix the problems or else

The largest advertiser in the US (and the world), Procter & Gamble, just shook up the digital advertising industry. "The days of giving digital a pass are over," said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, at the IAB Annual Leadership meeting.  He’s mandating new requirements for digital agencies and media if they want to … Continue reading World’s largest advertiser tells digital agencies to fix the problems or else

Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

I knew my “Smart TV” was a little different when I got my first one and discovered that just like a computer, it might sometimes reboot for no particular reason. I certainly never thought it was listening to me and sharing what I said. Things certainly have changed now the TV’s are connected to the … Continue reading Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Is advertising protected speech? And can internet companies use your personal information in advertising without your permission? These answer to these questions seems to be yes if you agree with the advertising trade associations that are asking the FCC to change its opt-in privacy rules for online service providers. The Association of National Advertisers, the … Continue reading Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Can students tell the difference between fake news and real news?

This fake news thing is bigger than just election results.  “Fake news” has become a label people freely put on facts they don’t agree with.  People will call something “fake news” when in fact it’s true.  They just disagree.  But call something by a label enough and it often sticks.  Source:  this past election. But … Continue reading Can students tell the difference between fake news and real news?

Fake news might actually be a good thing for real journalism

Everybody is up in arms about fake news these days. Politicos that think it swung the election are crying foul. Advertisers that had their ads show up on fake news sites are unhappy. Journalists talk about how it continues to undermine public trust. Wait a minute, though. How does fake news hurt journalism? I mean, … Continue reading Fake news might actually be a good thing for real journalism

Bipartisan investigation demands answers on cable TV’s “misleading fees and sales practices”

In a bi-partisan effort, Senators from both parties are calling on Charter Communications (which also acquired Time Warner) and Comcast to stop what they call “misleading placement of fees on customers’ bills, and inadequate advertising disclosure for service promotions.” They've asked before and say they've never got an answer to their complaints even after holding … Continue reading Bipartisan investigation demands answers on cable TV’s “misleading fees and sales practices”

Now ransomware is showing up on a Smart TV?

Wow.  Just wow. Darrn Cauthon is a software developer.  On Christmas day, he says, a family member was using their Smart TV and downloaded an app to watch a movie.  The TV set froze up. When it rebooted, this notice appeared claiming to be from FBI Director James Comey. Full of grammatical errors, it said … Continue reading Now ransomware is showing up on a Smart TV?

Are legitimate news websites spreading fake news with widgets?

Will Google start penalizing publishers for using Taboola or Outbrain?  Should they? You may not know the names “Taboola” or “Outbrain” but you’ve no doubt seen their work.  These are two of the digital industry’s aggregators that typically mix paid sponsorships, native ads,  and click bait articles into a widget that gets posted at the … Continue reading Are legitimate news websites spreading fake news with widgets?

Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

Put a bad review on line and you risk not just making the business mad, but maybe lawsuits and fines. You may not even know you’re doing something that could get you in trouble, but buried in the TOS (term of service agreements) you never read, or buried in some small type on a contract … Continue reading Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

Biggest ad fraud in history?  Hackers stealing $3-$5 million dollars a day using video ads

White Ops security researchers have exposed the most profitable and advanced ad fraud operation ever seen by the industry. Dubbed "The Methbot Operation" after references to "meth" in the code of the bot itself, a group of operators has siphoned off as much as $180 million from major U.S. media companies and brand advertisers. Controlled … Continue reading Biggest ad fraud in history?  Hackers stealing $3-$5 million dollars a day using video ads

Big advertising agencies under investigation by Department of Justice

The investigation into price fixing at major ad agencies just got bigger with the number of agencies publicly announcing they have been contacted by the Department of Justice. Three of WPP’s subsidiaries have received subpoenas from the Justice Department relating to antitrust claims.  By revenue, WPP is the world’s largest ad company.  Others said to … Continue reading Big advertising agencies under investigation by Department of Justice

The dirty little secret of digital ad networks

In the rush to move to digital advertising, there’s been an awful lot of ad dollars wasted because people didn’t really know what they were buying. Remember the early days of the world wide web?  People reported “hits” – which we then learned equated to server calls and could be as little as a pixel … Continue reading The dirty little secret of digital ad networks

Are you really, really concerned about this fake news stuff?

  We all should be concerned about this fake news stuff. Regardless of where it comes from or where you might run into it, spreading falsehoods makes all of us dumber. It appears most Americans agree. 73% of American say they are concerned about fake news Civic Science released a survey of 2,000 adults after the … Continue reading Are you really, really concerned about this fake news stuff?

Looking for inspiration? 17 quick quotes about leadership

Here are several of my favorite quotes about leadership. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams “The growth and … Continue reading Looking for inspiration? 17 quick quotes about leadership

A symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, group charges copyright fees to use “We Shall Overcome”

Should the song be Public Domain? The same law firm that succeeded in getting “Happy Birthday” into the public domain is now trying to get “We Shall Overcome” released from copyright.  This week, a federal court ruled to let the case move forward. The song became a galvanizing force in the civil rights movement during the … Continue reading A symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, group charges copyright fees to use “We Shall Overcome”

Here we go again: Facebook estimates “bug” overstated unique reach by 55%

Facebook announced yet more problems with its own metrics.  They call it a bug, but in light of the recent admission that video views were incorrectly reported for a two-year period, it’s one more confidence shaker for Facebook’s platform for the people spending money on FB.  When people are spending $6 billion dollars a quarter … Continue reading Here we go again: Facebook estimates “bug” overstated unique reach by 55%

Facebook bans fake news ads, but can the algorithm detect it?

Facebook says it can’t effectively detect fake news or misinformation in its news feed, although it is working to improve it. But apparently Facebook can detect fake news or misinformation in its advertising feed. Because… it’s now banned fake news publishers from using its ad network. That means fake news now joins gambling, porn, adult … Continue reading Facebook bans fake news ads, but can the algorithm detect it?

Mark Zuckerberg responds to criticism that Facebook let fake news impact the election

When so many people get their news from social media, what’s the responsibility of Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, has responded to criticism that Facebook helped skew the election results by allowing fake news to populate the site. Here is his response, in how own words, right from his Facebook page: I want to share … Continue reading Mark Zuckerberg responds to criticism that Facebook let fake news impact the election

Facebook ends ad practices that target/exclude users based on race

It seems like Facebook is getting battered a lot these days, but I’ll give the folks at Facebook some credit.  Most companies, faced with a lawsuit – especially one that claims you are violating the Civil Rights Act and excluding minorities from opportunities – would lawyer up and shut up. Facebook is taking a little … Continue reading Facebook ends ad practices that target/exclude users based on race

Should internet providers be held liable when its users illegally download content?

“In this copyright action, the putative owners of more than 1,400 musical composition copyrights seek to hold Cox Communications, Inc. and Cox Com, LLC (collectively, "Cox") contributorily and vicariously liable for alleged copyright infringement taking place over its high-speed internet service." With those words, the court’s opinion in the case against Cox Communications for copyright … Continue reading Should internet providers be held liable when its users illegally download content?

Study: Misleading info 90% more popular than accurate info on social media

Admit it. You sometimes read weird stuff on Facebook — even if you know it might not be true. Combine the facts that more people say they get news from Facebook and that Facebook isn’t in the business of verifying truth and you get a potentially dangerous combination of bad info being put out there and spreading … Continue reading Study: Misleading info 90% more popular than accurate info on social media

FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to require broadband/internet providers to get “explicit consent” before sharing data with marketing companies.  That means no more forcing people to “opt out” of obscure user agreements.  In other words, if they want to share our data with advertising companies, they’ll need to ask us… and we’ll have to … Continue reading FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

Facebook says it will now publish news even if it violates it standards

Facebook maintains it’s not a news organization.  When the majority of people get their news from you, you are whether you want to be or not. RELATED:  Facebook is in the news business whether it wants to be or not A Knight Foundation study shows 63% of Facebook and Twitter users say Facebook “serves as a … Continue reading Facebook says it will now publish news even if it violates it standards

Google News adds Fact Checking to top stories

In the world of social media and online aggregation, the one thing that is most rare is truth.  Every day I come across stories and posts that stretch the truth or obliterate it completely.  I believe it’s a big part of why the trust in media in general has plummeted to historic lows. RELATED: Trust … Continue reading Google News adds Fact Checking to top stories

When did we become an opt-out world?

We all know that nobody reads Terms of Service on anybody’s website, or User Agreements when downloading an app. We have just come to accept that there’s probably bad stuff in there that we won’t want but it’s the price we have to pay. I say enough! It’s time to become an opt-in world. Want … Continue reading When did we become an opt-out world?

14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

It could lead to significant changes in how social media deals with the situation. Every day, approximately 1.8 billion photos are uploaded to the internet.  Microsoft estimates some 720,000 of these pictures contain online child sexual abuse.  Every single day. If the exact image is uploaded to sites multiple times, it can be blocked.  But … Continue reading 14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

Digital advertising is under fire right now

Yes, digital advertising is under fire right now.  I know some of my friends that work at traditional media and legacy media companies are enjoying it a bit right now and maybe even piling on.  But what we’re seeing isn’t so much a problem with digital advertising as it is businesses and marketers waking up … Continue reading Digital advertising is under fire right now

Facebook has been providing inflated video metrics for the past two years

Facebook has now publicly apologized for overstating video metrics for more than two years.  That’s nice.  But not not so nice if you’re one of the people that’s been relying on those metrics to place advertising buys on the social media platform. Overestimated by 60%-80% One of the world’s largest advertising agencies, Publicis, says Facebook … Continue reading Facebook has been providing inflated video metrics for the past two years

Does a newspaper have an ethical obligation to reveal the source of its advertisers?

A controversial mailer and newspaper ads have the folks in Allentown, PA upset. It's led to resignations of a school's CEO and teachers and has been condemned by educators and public officials. The local newspaper knows who paid for it.  Do they have an obligation to reveal who's behind it? A mailer shows the picture … Continue reading Does a newspaper have an ethical obligation to reveal the source of its advertisers?

Newspaper publisher, lawyer charged with felonies after filing Open Records request

“We are shocked that any journalist would be jailed for simply asking a question,” the Society of Professional Journalists said in a statement in Atlanta Journal-Constitution So are journalists across the country.  Not only have the publisher and lawyer been charged with felonies (felonies!), but they had to post $10,000 bonds and now undergo drug … Continue reading Newspaper publisher, lawyer charged with felonies after filing Open Records request