Twitter Apologizes For Data Misuse; Group Nine Scoops Up PopSugar

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Twitter Oops

Twitter used emails and phone numbers provided by users for two-factor authentication – when you provide a backup security contact to catch any improper account logins – for advertising purposes. Specifically, emails and phone numbers were used for Tailored Audiences campaigns, Twitter’s matching service for email lists and CRM data, the company disclosed in a blog post. Twitter said the practice “was an error and we apologize for it.” That’s a different approach than Facebook, at least, which unabashedly used information submitted by its two-factor authentication for ad targeting until July, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  ordered Facebook to stop the practice as part of its $5 billion fine.

Get Your News

Group Nine Media has agreed to acquire PopSugar in a deal that values the women-focused publisher at more than $300 million. It’s the third major digital media consolidation story in the past couple of weeks, following Vox’s acquisition of New York Media for $105 million and Vice’s $400 million takeover of Refinery29. Group Nine, which is backed by the TV company Discovery, is now valued at $1 billion, according to the valuation for PopSugar (which itself was backed by NBCUniversal), The Wall Street Journal reports. The slew of M&A could be seen as a good sign for digital media, considering the decent valuations and the mere fact that new-media companies are being acquired. On the other hand, all three recent acquisitions were all-stock or mostly stock deals, which aren’t as risky as cash deals and incentivize the acquirer to inflate the price because it goes straight to its own valuation. More.

The States Take On Facebook 

Roughly 40 state attorneys general will participate in an antitrust investigation against Facebook, led by New York’s Letitia James, The Washington Post reports. More. James announced a probe into Facebook with seven other states and the District of Columbia last month that, among other things, will look at Facebook’s ad prices to determine whether the company has “endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices or increased the price of advertising,” she said. Read AdExchanger’s coverage on that. James and New York are still soliciting other states to join the investigation, which Facebook faces in addition to two other antitrust inquiries from the Department of Justice and FTC. Read about how they all differ here.

S4 In The Valley

Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital acquired Firewood, a Silicon Valley-based digital agency with clients that include Google, Salesforce, Facebook and LinkedIn. The agency, which does digital creative and performance marketing, will merge with content production shop MediaMonks. Firewood deploys staff to internal client marketing teams, embracing an “embedded” model used by other S4 agencies to capitalize on the changing structure of agency-client relationships. MediaMonks helps its clients with in-house digital production work, while MightyHive supports clients that are in-housing programmatic. Firewood’s client list also fits nicely with Sorrell’s mandate to work with clients in fast-growing sectors. “Firewood has an enviable client list comprising many of Silicon Valley’s finest,” he said in a statement. Read the release.

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