Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.
As crazy as it might be to imagine President Trump on Snapchat (although has anything about his four years in office made sense?) Donald does indeed have an account – with about 1.9 million subscribers – but not for long. Business Insider reports that Snap will permanently ban Trump from Snapchat when he leaves office on Jan. 20 in the wake of last week’s mob attack on the US Capitol building. Snap believes that his account poses a threat to public safety, citing Trump's efforts to spread "misinformation, hate speech and incite violence." Guess he wasn’t posting videos with bunny ears and rainbow vomit. The company had already suspended Trump's account after last week’s riot for the remainder of his term. Snap is just the latest social media platform to either ban or censure Trump, following on the heels of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
It’s A Deal
Digital ad verification company Integral Ad Science (IAS) has acquired Amino Payments, a provider of software for programmatic advertising transparency. Read the release. The deal will help IAS provide a more comprehensive set of programmatic transparency solutions for marketers. IAS already has a product called Total Visibility, which provides insight into digital media quality and corresponding supply path costs. Amino and IAS were well acquainted before the acquisition. IAS partnered with Amino to launch Total Visibility in April of last year. “As even more digital media is transacted programmatically, the need for transparency will continue to be critical for advertisers,” said Amino’s CEO, Will Luttrell. (Wonder if this deal was closed using blockchain. 🤔)
I guess this is what you call sweat equity? Google closed its $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit on Thursday, albeit without antitrust approval from the Justice Department, according to Bloomberg. In a blog post Google said that it’s “committed” to protecting health information and putting users in control of their own data. Perhaps. Shortly after the blog was published, the DOJ’s antitrust division released a statement saying it hasn’t signed off on the deal, which has faced criticism and regulatory scrutiny in Europe and the US. The DOJ is investigating whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit could harm competition and consumers in the US. The EU, however, apparently likes the idea of cutting carbs, and approved the deal in December after Google pledged to continue giving rival health and fitness apps and services access to Fitbit data.
Although some argue that it’s too little too late, Facebook has been trying to take aggressive action following the storming of the Capitol in DC. Facebook took a series of actions over the past week that, together, amount to its most aggressive interventions against President Trump and his supporters so far. They also demonstrate that the company continues to grapple with how best to police its platforms while still allowing for political discussion. Facebook continues to face criticism from opposing sides of the debate. Some believe it doesn’t do enough to curb problematic content while others, mainly conservatives, claim that its moderation efforts amount to censorship. Facebook does, however, have unique insight into human behavior. Last Wednesday, as footage of the pro-Trump rally-turned-siege began streaming on its platform, Facebook’s data scientists and executives saw warning signs of more trouble to come, according to The Wall Street Journal. User reports of violent content jumped more than tenfold from the number of reports that morning, while a tracker for user reports of false news surged to nearly 40,000 in an hour – about four times higher than recent daily peaks. On Instagram, views skyrocketed for content from authors in “zero trust” countries, reflecting potential efforts at platform manipulation by entities overseas. Company leaders feared a feedback loop in which the incendiary events in Washington could rile up social media users – and potentially lead to even more strife in real life.
But Wait, There’s More!
Sheryl Sandberg has deflected blame for the Capitol riot, but new evidence shows how Facebook’s platform played a role. [The Washington Post]
Ecommerce platforms continue to struggle with people trying to sell products that promote hate. [Digiday]
Here’s a continually updated list of how marketers and media players are responding to political unrest. [Ad Age]
The FTC has reached a settlement with Flo Health, a fertility-tracking app accused of improperly sharing data with Facebook, including about whether users were ovulating. [The Wall Street Journal]
Connecticut’s AG is conducting an antitrust investigation into how Amazon runs its e-books business. [The New York Times]
LoopMe and Unity partner to increase inventory and help drive business outcomes across screens. [release]
VIOOH, a programmatic marketplace for out-of-home advertising, is partnering with Ubimo to offer data-driven digital OOH ads on JCDecaux Inventory. [release]
The Trade Desk promotes Michelle Hulst to COO from EVP of global data and strategy. Hulst will report directly to CEO Jeff Green. [release]
Ebiquity appoints Paul Williamson as managing director of its North America business. [release]
WPP hires Rob Reilly as global chief creative officer following a 7-year run at McCann Worldgroup. [Adweek]
Location-based game monetization company Admix brings on Google vet Michael Silberberg as VP of global agency partnerships, and Spotify vet Alex Faust as EMEA VP of ad sales. [ExchangeWire]
Merkle appoints Erin Hutchinson as global chief marketing and communications officer. [release]