No Ads In WhatsApp; New RTB Guidance From UK Regulator

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Facebook is giving up on its plan to introduce ads on WhatsApp. The messaging app recently shut down a team tasked with bringing ads to the platform and deleted the code from its app, The Wall Street Journal reports. Despite unveiling a prototype ad unit last year in WhatsApp’s Status feature, the app will now focus on helping businesses interact with their customers, a huge opportunity in developing countries where people use WhatsApp for shopping and customer service. More.

IC-Oh My

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the United Kingdom’s consumer data regulatory group, published an update on Friday about its investigation into RTB under GDPR. “Two key organizations in the industry are starting to make the changes needed,” writes Simon McDougall, the ICO’s executive director of technology and innovation. Read the full post. The update credits the IAB UK and Google with making changes approved by the ICO, and tasks the IAB UK with developing guidance on “security, data minimization and data retention” and educating the industry on privacy and security. “We will continue to engage with IAB UK to ensure these proposals are executed in a timely manner.” The update acknowledged Google’s recent change to stop passing content categories (like “sports,” “news” or “weather”) in bid requests and its plan to phase out third-party cookies in two years. Though no companies or organizations are cited, McDougall warns that others have failed to make appropriate responses. “Given our understanding of the lack of maturity in some parts of this industry we anticipate it may be necessary to take formal regulatory action and will continue to progress our work on that basis.”

A Look Inside

Insider Inc., Axel Springer’s Business Insider subsidiary, laid out three ambitious five-year growth targets: Grow paid subscribers from about 200,000 now to more than 1 million and global unique visitors per month to a billion up from 375 million, and double the newsroom and analyst staff from 500 to 1,000. Insider’s current revenue mix is about one-third advertising, one-third subscriptions and one-third data and research. A shakeout is in progress among digital news publishers that were “grossly overcapitalized” by investors in the past 15 years, Insider CEO Henry Blodget tells Poynter. Demand for news and digital media remains high, he said, and leaders such as The New York Times give reason for optimism. “We’re not necessarily trying to be the fastest growing or biggest. We aim to be sustainable and are investing all the time in that.” More.

Not Enough Privacy

The W3C, the standards body of the World Wide Web, announced a Privacy Community Group on Friday that will be chaired by top engineers from Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla. The mission of the group is to “develop privacy-focused web standards and APIs to improve user privacy on the web through enhanced browser behavior,” according to the charter. The W3C is also the venue where Chrome engineers honed their cookie policy and other privacy features. Facebook isn’t the open web, but it recently put out a call for academic research proposals for private cryptographic solutions that currently rely on site tags, cookies and user-level data.

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