Facebook In Hot Water Again; Meredith Plans Sale Of Some Time Inc. Titles

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Once More Into The…

Facebook suspended the accounts and admin rights of SCL Group and its subsidiary Cambridge Analytica, the data vendor for the 2016 political runs of Ted Cruz and, later, Donald Trump. The offense: breaking company policy by collecting and storing data on Facebook users and those users’ contacts. Read the blog post. Facebook has pushed back on news analysis characterizing the incident as a “breach,” since the data in question came from users who installed apps and opted in to share their data with them. “Breach” or not, it’s another black eye for Facebook in the political arena, and the improper access highlights the privacy vulnerability inherent in third-party data sharing. The New York Times has more from the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who brought the malfeasance to light.

Time For A Change

Meredith Corp. is exploring the sale of storied Time Inc. brands Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated after acquiring the company for $1.84 billion in January. The Time brands don’t play into Meredith’s strategy of catering to a mostly female audience with titles like Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, Reuters reports. Meredith has brought on investment banks Citigroup and Houlihan Lokey to scout potential buyers, either wealthy individuals or a media, tech or telecom company. The move to sell some of Time’s most iconic brands underscores that, for Meredith, purchasing the media portfolio was mainly about scaling its digital advertising [AdExchanger coverage]. More.

Reg You Later

The Federal Elections Commission is considering expanding political ad disclaimer rules to cover mobile apps. The FEC “is undertaking this rulemaking in light of technological advances since (it) last revised its rules governing internet disclaimers in 2006,” according to a commission briefing published last week (read the doc). Google searches and Facebook ads, for instance, have been exempted from typical rules because there isn’t space for the content and the disclosure text. The commission is reconsidering this exemption, which historically has applied to apparel and outlier promotions like water towers or skywriting. “The dramatic growth in political advertising on the internet highlights the need for regulatory clarity in this area,” the FEC says. The potential rule changes won’t be in place for the 2018 midterms, so self-regulation is still the name of the game. [AdExchanger has more on that.]

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