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Google stymies media companies from chipping away at its data dominance – Reuters Canada

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OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google upended plans by European media companies to block it from harvesting data about their readers and slash some of its dominance in online advertising, seven people involved in the talks said this month.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the logo of Google in Davos, Switzerland January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Publishers had expected to use data privacy measures going into effect Aug. 15 to bar Google from storing insights about readers, sapping the data advantage that has enabled it to dominate a market filled with advertisers hungry for information to target potential customers.

But Google said it will cut off publishers from a lucrative flow of ads if they follow through with curbing its data collection. Negotiations continue, but Google holds greater leverage because it dominates in both advertising tools and access to advertisers within the $100 billion annual global banner ads market.

“You have to basically implement what (Google) expect from you or you’re out of the market – you can’t do without them,” said Thomas Adhumeau, general counsel at S4M, which competes with Google in software for advertisers.

The publishers’ strategy and the ongoing discussions have not been previously reported.

Google repeatedly has outmaneuvered website owners and its competitors over the last decade to ensure its dominance. In several cases, publishers circumvented Google to attract higher prices for ads, only to see Google reassert itself as an indispensable cog.

Rivals and publishers contend some of Google’s actions were unlawfully anticompetitive, and authorities in United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Australia this year are considering pursuing penalties, with some even mulling breaking up Google.

Media giant News Corp (NWSA.O) this year publicly complained to Australian regulators about Google gaining an advantage over publishers by harvesting audience data. Other companies said they will complain if Google does cut off some ads in August.

Google describes the online ads industry as competitive and says its policies aim to square European Union privacy law with how its ad tools work.

PROTOCOL CHALLENGED

The EU’s two-year-old General Data Protection Regulation requires companies to get users’ permission or have a legitimate reason before handling their data. It prompted the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Europe (IAB), a consortium involving Google along with its clients and partners, to develop a technical protocol known as the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) for ensuring all of them had the appropriate approvals from consumers.

IAB Chief Executive Townsend Feehan said that pushed by major publishers, the consortium last year agreed to ask users for two separate permissions previously tied together: one to be shown personalized ads, the other to have their personal data collected in a profile.

Some websites and apps planned to omit the second permission. That would starve Google’s profile-building, while still allowing those properties to serve up personalized ads from Google’s clients.

But Google now says consumers must grant both permissions to get personalized ads.

“This is contrary to what was agreed” by the consortium, said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers’ Council.

Chetna Bindra, a senior product manager at Google, said its policy around TCF keeps the status quo.

It “doesn’t change any of our policies for publishers, including our consent policy, which helps ensure users have transparency into and control over how their data is being collected and used to serve personalized ads,” Bindra said.

Some Google rivals such as advertiser software maker MediaMath said they may split the data permissions, giving publishers another way to undercut Google. But they still would have to forgo its bountiful ad supply.

Media groups Axel Springer (SPRGn.H) of Germany and Schibsted (SBSTA.OL) of Norway are among those frustrated with Google’s stance.

“We are concerned when big players seek to dictate the ways we should process data,” said Schibsted Chief Privacy Officer Ingvild Ness. “It’s concerning and problematic if we end up in a situation where certain companies become gatekeepers.”

Google uses software, which millions of partner websites rely on to display ads, to track readers’ location, characteristics and the pages and content they consume. These rich profiles allow marketers to target ads to particular users as they browse online.

Publishers, no matter how vast their own audiences, have struggled to compete with the breadth of Google’s profiles.

“When Google harvests that data and enriches their profiles, Google could be seen as bleeding publishers dry one drop at a time,” said Adrien Thil, chief privacy officer at Smart, which competes with Google in publisher software.

Media companies must share revenue with Google to access the unparalleled number of advertiser clients it attracts with its data. Globally, publishers’ share of Google ad revenue has fallen in half to 16% over the last decade, according to a paper released this month by Dina Srinivasan, an antitrust consultant to News Corp.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker

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Edmontonians take to social media to post colourful chalk creations – CTV News Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Artists converged on the downtown Edmonton farmer’s market on Saturday to give the area a colourful update.

The sidewalks are now covered in colourful chalk art.

Several local artists took part, including the designers behind the popular sidewalk Monopoly display that was done in Crestwood back in April.

The event is called Chalk the Block YEG, and organizers are hoping the public will get involved.

“The idea is you be inspired to go back to your community and celebrate all that it’s given you through this crisis by going to your neighbourhood in front of your home, grab some chalk, create a masterpiece of your own – and just celebrate all that community means to you ,” said organizer Elliot Rose.

Artists can get involved by sharing their creations with the hashtag #ChalkTheBlockYEG.

The event runs until July 18.  

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Virus Pushes Singapore Politicians Into Social Media Square Off – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Packed rallies are out, along with their cheers and jeers. In comes the Internet, with its memes and trolls.

The era of social distancing ushered in by the deadly coronavirus has forced Singapore’s political parties to face off online in the lead-up to a national election in less than a week.

“Compared to past elections, parties clearly are adopting a more experimental approach to sustain people’s interest and meet different needs,” said Carol Soon, senior research fellow and head of the society and culture department at the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore.

Though previous elections have increasingly seen political parties vie for attention online, social media is quickly shaping up to be a key pillar in campaign strategies this time around. The shift comes as politicians face public health restrictions on election activities with the island still grappling with virus infections. That includes the scrapping of physical rallies, typically held outdoors at stadiums which sometimes attract tens of thousands of voters.

Social media has presented an opportunity for these parties to obtain greater access to voters, many of whom are digitally-savvy and increasingly politically engaged.

Equal Access

Ahead of the July 10 polls, most opposition parties have sought to reach more voters by bolstering their content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are also making use of the ability to conduct live video broadcasts on platforms such as YouTube and Zoom.

To facilitate online campaigning, venues have been provided for candidates to do live streaming at certain time slots throughout the day during the campaign period, equipped with Internet connectivity at subsidized rates.

Minutes after Parliament was dissolved in June, the Workers’ Party – the main opposition force – posted a video introducing the 12 candidates it intends to field in the coming polls. The video of its line-up of candidates smiling for the camera and set to soaring music has garnered 210,000 views to date.

Tan Cheng Bock, the 80-year-old leader of the Progress Singapore Party, became a sensation after he attempted to use millennial slang while addressing the press during a walkabout. Tan has avidly posted content on Instagram, including a video showing how he types with a single finger, in an effort to relate to younger voters.

“Cyberspace has helped open up Singapore’s political culture,” said Cherian George, a professor of media studies at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Communication. Whether that would have an impact on “electoral outcomes is a very different question. So far, the answer is no,” he said.

The Singapore Democratic Party said it’s “constantly looking for ways to creatively” get its message out on social media, but there still are limitations to the online reach. “We have always depended on rallies and large walkabouts which are banned for this election,” Chairman Paul Ananth Tambyah said in an emailed response to questions.

Many of the country’s present ministers, who hail from the ruling People’s Action Party or PAP, already are established on the same online platforms. The party has governed the Southeast Asian nation since independence in 1965. While Singapore doesn’t allow opinion polls, most analysts expect the PAP to easily win again in a race that will see all 93 seats contested by at least two parties for just the second time.

The PAP has revved up its social media activity by posting video segments explaining the party’s stance on key policy issues. It’s focused on the government’s handling of the coronavirus and the economic fallout. Ministers are also posting more updates about their activities on the ground during the campaign season. Collectively, the posts have garnered thousands of likes.

Trial by Internet

But with greater access, also comes greater scrutiny. Social media has proven to be a double-edged sword that can inflict damage on the image of candidates and parties as well.

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s blunder during a speech was widely shared, leading to memes poking fun at him and his comments. Heng is widely seen as the PAP’s successor to current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The Progress Singapore Party’s Tan — a former PAP lawmaker — also had a near slip in rallying support for the ruling party instead of his own.

Just days before, PAP candidate Ivan Lim faced a wave of allegations online over his behavior when he was in the military and as an executive at a unit of conglomerate Keppel Corp Ltd. Lim withdrew from contest shortly after, saying he didn’t want the allegations to distract from the PAP’s efforts. The incident prompted Prime Minister Lee to caution against a “culture of trial by the Internet.”

“It sets a very damaging precedent that you can condemn somebody and write him off on the basis of an Internet campaign,” Lee said at a virtual press conference on June 29. “We don’t have time to settle it now, but we can’t simply write off and destroy people like this.”

In October, Singapore enacted a fake news law that empowers the government to issue correction orders and even force social media platforms to restrict access to web-based content it deems untrue. Officials have said the law is needed to quell errant online information — drawing criticism from the opposition and even Facebook Inc., amid concerns it would set a precedent for stifling free speech.

Since general elections were announced by the prime minister last month, officials continued to invoke the law. In addition to targeting individual Facebook users, a correction order was also issued on Saturday against the Singapore Democratic Party over statements about the city-state’s population target.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Media Advisory – Government Of Canada to Make Announcement Related to Housing in St. Catharines – Canada NewsWire

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ST. CATHARINES, ON, July 3, 2020 /CNW/ – The federal government will be making an announcement related to housing in St. Catharines.

Media are invited to join Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Date:

July 6, 2020



Time:

10:00 a.m



Location:

176 Oakdale Avenue

St. Catharines, ON

Note:

Media are asked to wear sturdy shoes and a medical or cloth mask.

In the interest of ensuring adherence to the 10-person limit on gatherings, media are requested to RSVP to Wilbur McLean at [email protected].

SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

For further information: Wilbur McLean, CMHC, 416-218-3331, [email protected]

Related Links

www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca

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