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The Wedge Widens Between Advertisers And Twitter; Snap Gets Dinged On Privacy In Illinois

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Twitter Gets Bitter

Just when Twitter thought Elon Musk was done scaring ad dollars away from the platform, a whistleblower jumped in with security breach accusations.

As if advertisers aren’t already giving Twitter a wide enough berth.  

The whistleblower is Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s own ex-chief security officer. Twitter fired Zatko in January, and now he’s accusing Twitter of intentionally undercounting spam bots on its platform and violating its privacy agreements with the FTC, which include limiting the number of employees that have access to central Twitter privacy controls, WSJ reports.

This accusation is going to make ad buyers even more hesitant to spend on Twitter, one agency exec tells Digiday.

Twitter, meanwhile, already reported a 1% year-over-year revenue decrease last quarter, which it mostly blamed on uncertainty around Musk’s acquisition plans. Even so, Twitter is doing its best to prioritize its advertising business, which increased 2% year-over-year.

Meaning Twitter has a lot to lose if advertisers continue to flee.

But it’s possible that Twitter was already losing their attention even before Musk came into the picture. Marketers tell Digiday that Twitter represents a small proportion of their performance marketing budgets. (Guess they’re spending it on TikTok instead.)

Oh, Snap

Speaking of platforms and privacy, well, so are lawyers.

Advocates are especially vocal lately about health-related privacy protections, and the latest offender is Snapchat.

Its parent company Snap just settled a class-action lawsuit for $35 million, USA Today reports. Snap supposedly collected biometric data from Snapchat’s camera lens filters without user consent, violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The $35 million is to be paid out to Illinois residents whose data was allegedly collected through the filters.

Unsurprisingly, Snap denied that any biometric data collected by the platform could be used to identify a specific individual, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Not that Snap is the only platform accused of being negligent with personal information lately. Meta is paying $650 million to settle its own violation of BIPA last year and, not to be left out, Google and TikTok both also settled suits in Illinois earlier this year over facial recognition features.

Illinois isn’t joking around.

Ecommerce Takes A Dip

Ecommerce is slowing down around the world – and that’s going to have implications for advertisers.

Lower ecommerce revenue means less ad spending on digital platforms, according to GroupM.

Although it’s hardly fair to compare this most recent Q2 to the second quarter of last year, when ecommerce sales were still surging amid the pandemic, according to MediaPost.

But, as brick-and-mortar retail rebounds amid a prolonged return to post-pandemic normalcy, ecommerce has suffered.

“In many countries, ecommerce is growing slower than retail right now,” said Brian Wieser, GroupM’s global president of business intelligence.

Getting a handle on the ecommerce market is tricky, though, because different countries define ecommerce differently. And, as consumer behavior changes and practices like “buy online, pick up in store” – good old BOPIS – remain popular, it can be hard to distinguish between an ecommerce-based transaction and a purely in-person transaction.

But many consider retail numbers to be a proxy for predicting consumer behavior, Wieser said. And as ecommerce revenues come back down to earth from pandemic highs, it could cause a pullback in ecommerce ad spending.

But Wait, There’s More!

In the first settlement under CCPA, Sephora will pay $1.2 million for sharing user data with a third-party tracking company without consent. [NBC News]

Why brands keep trying to make “zero-party data” happen. [Ad Age]

Instagram Reels drive high engagement, but it’s not where the influencers are. [Insider]

Differential pricing could be a viable method for subscription streaming services looking to boost average revenue per user. [Mobile Dev Memo]

How Equifax gathers income data through partnerships with employers – and how that data is used. [Sanford School of Public Policy]

Gaming-focused ad network Thece is looking to create an alternative pathway for esports companies to generate revenue from their livestreamed content. [Digiday]

Commerce-based startup Lily AI raises $25 million. [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired!

C-suite moves: Comscore names new CIO, COO and CTO (and announces the exit of its CCO). [TV News Check]

Pinterest hires former Meta senior marketing director Stacy Malone as its VP of global business marketing. [Adweek]



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