Instagram Scrambles In Wake Of Data-Scraping Report; Amazon Formalizes Marketing Partner Program

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Under The Hood

Facebook is reviewing all of its 600-plus marketing partners after a Business Insider report revealed some were scraping data and storing passwords on Instagram without consent. The move shows that Instagram, which has been largely shielded from the public backlash over Facebook’s data security issues, is just as vulnerable as its parent app. In addition to the review, Facebook will develop a tool to prevent data scraping and remove violators from its platform with cease and desist letters. “We know these efforts won’t catch every violation, but they will help,” a Facebook spokesperson said. More.

All Grown Up

Speaking of marketing partners, Amazon’s ad platform has matured to a point where it’s formalizing its own ecosystem of third parties that help advertisers get the most out of its platform. Amazon’s ad platform is notoriously difficult to use, spawning a group of startups and agencies that specialize in helping marketers master its unique features. By recommending individual companies within that group, Amazon is simplifying marketers’ searches by guiding them to vetted partners. “I think this is an effort to bring some order to brands who are ready to grow their presence on Amazon,” Jason Hartley, national head of search and paid social at 360i, told Digiday. 

Off The Beaten Track

People understand in a general way that they’re being tracked online unless they’ve set up privacy protections, but seeing the evidence can still be disarming. “Even expecting this, I was bowled over by the scale and detail of the tracking,”  writes Farhad Manjoo, a tech writer from The New York Times who agreed to an invasive test of his browser activity for an internal data report. The data came from a special version of Firefox that had been jury-rigged as a full tracking hub for data passed by sites and the browser, including location data and info like screen size and resolution that companies use for fingerprinting. “As soon as I logged on that day, I was swarmed – ad trackers surrounded me, and, identifying me by a 19-digit number I think of as a prisoner tag, they followed me from page to page as I traipsed across the web.” More.

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