TV Networks Demand Audit Of Nielsen; Irish Privacy Watchdog Initiates 'Mass Action' Suit Against Facebook

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Audit Demanded

Remember when the TV networks and Nielsen got into a pretty big fight because Nielsen didn’t do such a great job of measuring TV audiences during the pandemic? Well, CBS, ABC, NBC and other TV networks are now calling for an audit of Nielsen — a name synonymous with TV ratings — to convey their “profound” dissatisfaction and concerns with Nielsen’s handling of TV usage and measurement data. According to Variety, the VAB, an industry group that represents the TV networks, is demanding that Nielsen submit to a third-party audit from Ernst & Young. The networks claim Nielsen let its system — the bedrock of advertising deals for TV programs — degrade as the nation went into lockdown, and undercounted TV viewership by as much as 10% in 2020. Nielsen supposedly even undercounted streaming activity. The independent auditor would be tasked with verifying the accuracy of Nielsen’s metric reporting during the March 2020-21 time period and make recommendations that could include numerical adjustments. Meanwhile, Nielsen has said it maintains “full confidence” in the way it tabulates TV ratings.

Mass Action

Facebook is reportedly going to be hit with a “mass action” suit in Europe over a major leak of user data that dates back to 2019. The data breach was only recently discovered after it was learned that information on 533 million accounts — including Facebook IDs, location, mobile phone numbers, email address, relationship status and employer — was found posted for free download on a hacker forum. TechCrunch reports that Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) is commencing the suit alleging that the Facebook breach violated personal data protections outlined by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Oh, and Facebook’s European headquarters is based in Ireland, which makes Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) the lead regulator there. Article 82 of the GDPR provides for a “right to compensation and liability” for those affected by violations of the law. That it could be years before the DPC decides on the 2019 Facebook leak likely explains why the DRI chose a class-action style lawsuit in parallel to the regulatory investigation.

Google Vs. Australia (Again)

Speaking of lawsuits, Google and Australia’s top competition regulator are at it again. After coming to blows earlier this year over a law that forced Google and other tech giants to pay for news, the country’s federal court found that Google misled users about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices between 2017 and 2018. Per CNBC, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), who spearheaded the legal salvo against Google in 2019, called the ruling an “important victory for consumers” when it comes to protecting online privacy. So ... how were Android users tripped up? According to the ACCC, Google misled them into thinking the search giant could collect personal data only if the “location history” setting was on. However, the court found that Google could still collect, store and use personally identifiable location data if the setting for “web and application activity” was on — even if “location history” was turned off. Google says the court rejected many of the ACCC’s broad claims and disagreed with the “remaining findings.” The tech giant hassince improved user transparency and control.

But Wait, There’s More!

What’s next for PRAM as ad targeting fundamentally changes? [Adweek]

Browser makers, now including Mozilla’s Firefox, are already ditching Google’s proposed cookieless ad targeting method FLoC. [Digiday]

Amazon spent $11 billion on video and music content last year, according to its annual report. [CNBC]

Snapchat has become an on-demand delivery app for teens to score illegal drugs. [Business Insider]

State Farm has become the official marketing partner for Twitch Rivals North America, Twitch’s proprietary, competitive entertainment series. [tweet]

Facebook’s self-styled and handpicked “Oversight Board” will make a decision on whether or not to overturn an indefinite suspension of the account of former president Donald Trump within “weeks.” [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired!

Alejandro Lopez is named US head of Mediabrands Content Studio. [CampaignUS]

Wunderman Thompson hires Omnicom veteran Audrey Melofchik as New York CEO. [Adweek]

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