Groups like Snapchat, Twitter, Amazon, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Pinterest were called out in a new Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report for not agreeing to third party measurement audits by the Media Rating Council. The Media Rating Council essentially acts as the media and advertising watchdog, and their audits of advertising metrics are considered the industry standard.

ANA claims the companies are "walled gardens" that restrict convenient access to vendors they don't approve that could independently verify the validity of their metrics. As a result, some of these companies could get away with reporting false advertising metrics, as Facebook and Twitter did in 2016. (Both companies later owned up to the false reporting.) Google and Facebook both and agreed to MRC audits earlier this year.

Why it matters: Ad buyer confidence falters without transparent metrics. For example, ad agencies and vendors said they and their clients were wary of buying Snap ads earlier this year, because they don't trust the metrics the company reports back to them. As a result, Snap has added more third-party measurement vendors to its roster, but ANA executives and industry professionals say an audit would ease concerns.

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.