Twitter Touts Brand Safety At NewFronts; Epic And Apple Battle In Court

Twitter: social responsibility

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Playing It Safe

Who needs the razzle dazzle? There’s nothing sexier than safety and incremental reach, and Twitter touted both during its NewFronts presentation on Wednesday. “The TV-like quality of the content is clear,” said JP Maheu, Twitter’s VP of US client services. To be fair, Twitter does have partnerships with numerous premium publishers, including a long-standing relationship with NBCU. And there’s more: new deals with Tastemade, Refinery29 and music encyclopedia Genius and content agreements with the MLB and the NHL. But brand safety has been a perennial challenge for a service that bills itself as home base for “what’s happening,” because sometimes what’s happening is toxic. And so alongside its new content deals, Twitter highlighted a new pre-roll offering called Curated Categories, whereby Twitter-curated sets of publishers are bundled around specific themes and niche topics. Think “light-hearted content,” “basketball,” “soccer” or “gaming personalities.” “We have a social and ethical responsibility to make Twitter a safe place for everyone – including brands,” said Doug Brodman, Twitter’s director of agency and platform solutions in North America.

Epic Battle

Let the real games begin. The legal battle between Apple and Epic Games kicked off on Monday over Apple’s App Store practices. The Fortnite maker filed a federal suit in US court after its hugely popular video game was kicked out of the App Store last year for flouting Apple’s rules on digital payments by establishing its own system, CNN reports. Epic is claiming that Apple runs its store as an illegal monopoly, since it gets a 30% cut of many in-app purchases on iOS devices and does not allow alternative payment systems. The high-profile trial is expected to run at least two weeks. If Epic wins, NPR reports, Apple could be forced to reshape the policies that regulate its highly lucrative App Store. Epic isn’t the only entity putting pressure on Apple over its App Store practices. US and European regulators are both wary of Apple’s distribution power. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is seeking to establish that Apple’s App Store, and its refusal to allow other app stores on its platform, constitutes anti-competitive behavior. However, according to The Verge, Apple did support cross-wallet play before banning Fortnite, and that fact became a serious issue for Epic on the trial’s second day.

Bad Signal

Facebook shut down Signal’s account this week after the encrypted messaging app attempted to show users how much data Instagram collects about them and how that data is used to target ads, MacRumors reports. Per Business Insider, Signal said it tried to buy multi-variant Instagram ads that would show users how Facebook targets them – and Facebook responded by deactivating its account and banning the ads. So much for transparency. In a blog post titled “The Instagram ads Facebook won’t show you,” Signal describes how it generated ads to explain to users why they were seeing those very ads (how meta). For example, “You got this ad because you’re a newlywed pilates instructor and you’re cartoon crazy. This ad used your location to see you’re in La Jolla. You’re into parenting blogs and thinking about LGBTQ adoption.” As Singal observed in its post, “Facebook is more than willing to sell visiblity into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used.”

But Wait, There’s More!

Facebook’s Oversight Board ruled on Wednesday to permanently ban former President Donald Trump’s account [Business Insider] … but the door still remains open for his possible return [USA Today]

Ad tech company Beachfront says it ran a national addressable ad execution on Vizio smart TV sets that met the specifications of the Open Addressable Ready consortium. [NextTV]

Snapchat is facing a lawsuit over a fatal high-speed car crash. [MediaPost]

The mobile ad industry is grappling with early uncertainties related to Apple’s tracking crackdown [Digiday]

Salesforce and Disney Studios Content are partnering to help support Disney marketers and filmmakers using the Salesforce platform. [release]

Corel has acquired Texas-based ad-blocking software maker Ad Remover. [Ottowa Business Journal]

In-game advertising provider Frameplay is integrating Oracle’s Moat to provide advertisers with a third-party measurement and verification solution for the in-game environment. [Destination CRM]

You’re Hired! has brought on Harmen Westra as head of sales for North America. [release]

Apple has hired former Google scientist Samy Bengio, who left the search giant amid turmoil in its AI research department. [AsumeTech]

Contextual provider Semasio has appointed Raquel Carvalho as product director of insights. [release]

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