Retail Headwinds That Are Actually Tailwinds; Facebook Under The Gun On Political Ads

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The Retail Wags The Dog

A couple of seemingly pessimistic updates for Walmart and Target might actually demonstrate how those retailers are forming more mature strategies for taking on ecommerce … which mainly means Amazon. Target+, the store chain’s third-party marketplace – aka, an ecom channel for products it doesn’t carry in stores – has gone from 30 brand partners to 55 since it launched early this year, Digiday reports. And that’s nice. But the 115,000 or so products available in Target+ hardly compares to Walmart’s selection of 40 million items. Speaking of Walmart, the retail behemoth announced that it’s ceasing grocery delivery in New York City with Jet, its ecommerce and delivery company focused on younger and urban consumers. But why should either Target or Walmart waste time and resources trying to out-Amazon Amazon? Here’s the positive spin: Walmart doesn’t need to break the bank to support same-day grocery delivery because more people opt for buying Walmart groceries online and picking them up in stores than they do for home delivery. And Target doesn’t need to carry millions of SKUs in delivery warehouses across the country because its traditional sweet spot is with curated product lines for Target shoppers and in-store perks. Retail’s glass is half full for once. More.

Can’t Please ’Em All 

Facebook is facing increasing pressure from politicians to not limit political targeting on its platform after Google announced this week that it intends to restrict most targeting categories. While Facebook hasn’t budged on its stance to allow candidates to lie in political ads, it’s weighing its options, including possibly broadening targeting cohorts for political ads. Candidates claim the move would hurt their ability to reach unregistered voters and make it more difficult for smaller organizations to collect donations, The New York Times reports. But since Twitter said it would start banning political advertising later this month and now with the changes going down at Google, Facebook is under fire to alter its policies too. “Twitter fired the starting gun, and Google just cranked it up to 11,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital advertising strategist. “Now the pressure is on Facebook – they’re going to have to act.” More.

Social Butterflies

A trove of 1.2 billion personal profiles, email addresses, phone numbers and social media accounts were discovered on an unprotected Google Cloud server. It’s unclear how the data got there. It could have been left by hackers, though it may not have been malicious, Bloomberg reports. Companies that license B2B or personal profiles from data suppliers – in this case, the company People Data Labs had much of its business account data dropped into the exposed server – often use an outside server to merge with other data sets. What’s interesting about this data dump is that, unlike traditional breaches which usually focus on emails and account passwords, the backbone here is social media profiles. “This is the first time ever that I’ve seen emails, names and numbers linked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and GitHub profiles all in one spot,” said Vinny Troia, CEO of cybersecurity firm Night Lion Security, who discovered the server. “There are no passwords related to this data, but having a new, fresh set of passwords isn’t that exciting anymore. Having all of this social media stuff in one place is a useful weapon and investigative tool.” More.

But Wait, There’s More

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