Silicon Valley Testifies In DC; Nielsen Adds Gracenote Data To DMP

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Tech Testifies

Washington, DC, politicians grilled Facebook, Twitter and Google this week about how their platforms have been manipulated by foreign agents. “It shouldn’t be news to anyone that Russia interfered in the election,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during a hearing convened by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Lawmakers and the internet giants disagree whether legislation, like the Honest Ads Act, is necessary to hold online political ads to the same disclosure standards as those in traditional channels. [AdExchanger coverage] The platforms’ lawyers touted the efforts they’ve made to bring transparency to political advertising. But self-regulation isn’t enough, said Honest Ads Act sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). “While you are taking responsibility for a lot of what’s happened here and trying to make some changes, there wouldn’t be an outside enforcer of any of your policies, right? It would just be you?” she asked. Silence from the lawyers. “Can someone answer the question?” Klobuchar pressed. “That’s correct,” said Sean Edgett, Twitter’s acting general counsel. The lawyers are scheduled to appear before Congress again on Wednesday, for grilling part deux, this time before the Senate and House intelligence committees. More in The New York Times.

Graced With Data

Nielsen will incorporate smart-TV data from Gracenote into its Marketing Cloud DMP. Read the release. Nielsen acquired Gracenote, a content-recognition company integrated with some 27 million connected TV sets in the US, last year for $560 million and has used the service to build features like content recognition for smart-TV partners. According to Anthony Ha at TechCrunch, the next hurdle is to “combine it with data on things like demographics, credit card spending and online behavior” to improve ads served to those audiences. More.

Privacy Push

Marketers are scrambling to prepare for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in June, but they shouldn’t forget about Europe’s ePrivacy regulation, which requires marketers to obtain consent for every cookie dropped on a user and would limit Google’s and Facebook’s collection of consumer data from owned properties like WhatsApp and Gmail. The ePrivacy law doesn’t distinguish which types of cookies are permissible, so non-tracking cookies used for A/B tests could be banned. As with GDPR, companies that don’t comply with the ePrivacy regulation could be fined up to 4% of global turnover. But it’s not bad news for everyone: Publishers with big logged-in user bases, browsers and telecom companies may be able to leverage their scale to secure broad-based opt-ins. Digiday has more. Related in AdExchanger: A Marketer’s Guide To GDPR.

Time Will Telco

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a deal by the telco CenturyLink to acquire rival Level 3 Communications. The approval was expected, but Democrats in the FCC minority say language in the deal paves the way for bigger and more monopolistic mergers. Moving forward, “conditions will be ‘narrowly tailored’ and address only direct consequences of the deal itself, according to the order approving the merger,” reports Bloomberg about FCC oversight under Commissioner Ajit Pai, who has delivered a series of wins to the country’s largest internet service providers. By narrowly defining the bounds of M&A regulation, Pai improves the odds of any given telco deal, since a lot of the value a company like Comcast, AT&T or CenturyLink can bring to media and tech companies is their ownership of cable distribution and mobile contracts. Relatedly, Quartz covers the marked differences in how the mobile web is packaged in Spain and Portugal, where net neutrality standards don’t exist.

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