Feb 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Marketers own up to their role in data privacy reckoning

Sara Fischer of Axios, Hazel Baker of Reuters Vivian Schiller of the Aspen Institute, John Battelle of Recount Media and Shiv Singh of Eargo at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) annual leadership meeting in Palm Springs. Photo credit: @baeason

Marketers that for years funneled billions of dollars into platforms using sketchy third-party data, cookies and reckless privacy practices are beginning to come to terms with a new reality.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) annual leadership meeting in Palm Springs this week, executives confessed that new privacy regulation and industry changes are forcing them to finally be on their best behavior, after years or reckless spending.

What they're saying:

  • "I've literally steered hundreds of millions of dollars to these platforms," Eargo CMO and industry veteran Shiv Singh told me on stage. "And at no point in that journey ... did I ask about their data policies or did I ask about what is their relationship with media or politics or consumer privacy or any of that. So my first response is that we all have a stake in this and I think at some level, we all have screwed up."
  • "IAB conference feels like an AA meeting where we tearfully admit our addiction to third party cookies and promise to clean up," tweeted Ari Paparo, CEO of ad tech firm Beeswax.
  • "We've lost thousands of jobs (in journalism) and advertisers took their money from one place and nobody said anything," said John Battelle, Co-Founder and CEO, Recount Media Inc. on stage.

Go deeper: Ad biz reckons with privacy rules

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Scoop: The Recount raises $13 million in Series A round

The Recount co-founders John Heilemann (left) and John Battelle (right). Photo: The Recount.

Recount Media, a short-form political video startup created by veteran journalists John Battelle and John Heilemann, has raised $13 million its Series A funding round, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: The round includes strategic media companies as partners, instead of just financial investors. "It's better to have big companies looking out for us and rooting for us than a bunch of purely financial investors around the table," Battelle tells Axios.

Privacy group says Facebook isn't sharing all off-platform data with users

Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook is now offering users a feature that lets them see what data it has collected about their activities beyond Facebook, but a new report from Privacy International says that not all the advertisers that have uploaded individual user data to Facebook are included.

Why it matters: As the report notes, without more complete information, it is hard for users to fully exercise their rights under the EU's GDPR and other privacy laws.

Europe nixes Facebook's plea for friendly rules

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is doubling down on its big pitch to lawmakers across the globe: regulate us.

Yes, but: Key regulators aren't buying it. Hours after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with lawmakers in Europe to discuss the company's new proposals for regulation, a French commissioner overseeing the EU's data strategy rejected the plan, saying "It’s not enough. It’s too slow, it’s too low in terms of responsibility and regulation."