Brands Lean In To TikTok; FCC May Fine Telcos For Weak Location Data Safeguards

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What Makes It Tik?

A story by Bloomberg’s Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier examines the intense sharing activity on TikTok, where successful marketing campaigns can get billions of views. “This type of virality just does not happen on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube,” said Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of the influencer platform Captiv8. On the other hand, what is a “view” on TikTok? The company doesn’t say how it measures the metric. And viral posts can rack up 10 times more views than there are US downloads of the TikTok app, according to this story. Popular TikTok accounts have already tallied millions or tens of millions of followers – more than all but the upper echelons of Instagram influencers and YouTube creators. Advertisers still haven’t committed en masse to TikTok because they want more targeting, self-serve access and better measurement. That said, “with risk can come great return,” according to Meghan Myszkowski, Essence North America’s head of social media advertising. More.

Location, Location, Location

The FCC is pursuing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines against AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon (the country’s top mobile carriers) for failing to safeguard subscriber location data, The Wall Street Journal reports. “Such notices aren’t final, and the companies can still argue they aren’t liable or should pay less.” The FCC is acting now because those telcos told members of Congress they would shut down middlemen companies’ access to their location data feeds, following reports by The New York Times and other outlets that documented data-reseller violations. Data aggregators are allowed to use the carrier’s location feed (which has exact coordinates, compared to Wi-Fi locations and GPS data that app developers would see) for legitimate use cases, such as fraud detection and roadside assistance. One improper use of location data cited by the Journal is a prison phone provider that offered location tracking as a workaround to getting a warrant. It’s unclear where on that spectrum data resellers fall who package anonymized location data for marketers. Because that does happen. More.

Coronavirus Cancels F8

Facebook will cancel its F8 developers conference this year over fears of the spreading coronavirus. “This was a tough call to make – F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world – but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” the company said in a blog post. Facebook will hold locally hosted events and livestream content, but it’s unclear to what extent. This isn’t the first major global event that’s been tabled over COVID-19 concerns. Mobile World Congress was cancelled in Barcelona this month, and Facebook has also cancelled its global marketing summit in San Francisco next month. And there’s talk of the Tokyo Olympics potentially being cancelled this summer if the outbreak isn’t under control by then. Read Facebook’s blog post.

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