Kantar Media Newsroom: Facebook’s in Trouble, Not Sure if You Heard

Welcome to this week’s Kantar Media Newsroom, your weekly summary of the news that matters in the media and marketing industries. To learn more about how we can help you monitor both paid and earned media and make informed decisions, please contact us at info-us@kantarmedia.com.

Mo’ Facebook Inquiries, Mo’ Problems

The can of worms keeps getting bigger and bigger

In case the rock you live under doesn’t get good Wi-Fi service, let’s get you up to speed: Facbeook is in “trouble” for privacy issues, and as its own investigations dig deeper, more misuse is uncovered. In response to this, Facebook is taking steps to recommit its service to privacy and transparency by forming an independent election research commission to investigate the potential interference of Russian-purchased ads meant to create divisiveness in an already contentious presidential election.  “The U.S. and E.U. consumer groups urged Zuckerberg to commit to ‘global compliance with the GDPR’ when testifying before Congress this week. ‘These are protections that all users should be entitled to no matter where they are located,’ read the letter, signed by Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, and Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad of the Norwegian Consumer Council.”

Mark, you got some ‘splaining to do!

But unlike the amiable “I Love Lucy” character, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t caught sipping Vitameatavegemin (it’s so tasty too!) or with a mouthful of chocolate bonbons. He’s getting ready to testify before Congress this week, to answer some tough questions on this Cambridge Analytica data breach saga. What’s interesting to note is this CEO, who nearly single-handedly changed the way the world uses social media, has avoided interviews and lives a pretty secluded life – even before, during or after this scandal erupted. This will be one of the first times Zuckerberg is put in the spotlight to answer some hard-hitting questions – under oath, no less. What other major corporation can say that about their CEO? Not many, I assure you. Certainly he will be hit with some zingers and hopefully his team has been coaching him throughout this process in all things body language, attitude and tone. Ultimately, “Internet companies owe their customers straightforward answers to those questions. But government regulation should be a last resort. For now, calls for more such regulation are premature. We must first examine the extent and nature of the problem, and then assess the pros and cons of all possible solutions.”

There go the ads

Facebook doesn’t charge users for a profile or use of its site – so how does it make its BILLIONS? You know, all those ads you see as you scroll and watch video! Of course nothing is free, and the data Facebook has on its users in order for advertisers to hyper-focus targeting brings in significant ad dollars. Now that it seems Facebook is less than secure with its user-data sharing, advertisers are responding. Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has pulled its ads from Facebook, also using this as an opportunity to open up the “user privacy” conversation. “’Trust, right now, isn't being earned. I mean, technology companies aren't treating people like people. They're not treating people like human beings. They're expecting them to have an unreasonable amount of knowledge about how their information is being used,’ Mozilla chief marketing officer Jascha Kaykas-Wolff said. ‘We're uncomfortable with the way that technology companies are treating people. Like, fundamentally. Absolutely, businesses should be able to run using data. … But technology companies can't take for granted that all the things that they're doing are easy to understand,’ Kaykas-Wolff added.” Furthermore, “David Polgar, a tech ethicist, said ‘no social media platform is free’ and we are paying with our personal data. ‘Your privacy is a currency. Every time you log onto Facebook or any social media platform you are giving currency, you're just not giving dollars,’ Polgar said.” I mean, it makes sense, but it hurts a little more when it’s said out loud.


Sen. McCain ties Trump’s “wobbles” to Syrian attack

Speaking of requiring CEOs to go through public speaking training – President Trump is yet again tweeting, speaking and then contradicting everything. Senator John McCain is accusing Trump’s latest waffling to an attack in Syria over the weekend. “The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee took a break from battling brain cancer in Arizona to press Trump to show more backbone. ‘Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria,’ the war hero wrote in a statement. ‘Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack … The President responded decisively when Assad used chemical weapons last year. He should do so again, and demonstrate that Assad will pay a price for his war crimes.’” It’s no secret that the US has a storied past of making mistakes with diplomacy in Syria, with our current president no better. Tweeting one thing, speaking at an event saying another, all while going against what his security council is advising. It’s clear a consistent message is required to handle Assad – but what Trump is bumping up against is Putin – the one guy he has a hard time trying to reprimand.

When the Governor runs for Senate

Rick Scott, the Republican Governor of Florida just announced his intention to run for Senate – for a seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson. “Scott’s announcement sets the stage for what is expected to be one of the most expensive races in the country, taking place in a swing state that was a key to Trump’s 2016 victory. It also offers a test of whether a tight alliance with Trump provides more help or harm in the current political environment. For months, Trump and Republican Party leaders have been trying to coax Scott to challenge Nelson, who is seeking his fourth term and has been stepping up appearances across Florida, the nation’s third most populous state.” This will force the Dems to funnel significant cash to Nelson’s campaign, diverting funds from other races. The slim margin in the Senate will bring lots of attention to several key elections across the country, no doubt this will be one of the biggest.

Trade war – stunned stock market

Unknown territory has made the stock market essentially “freak out” the past week or so, and it doesn’t show signs of calming down. “Trade war jitters took the wind out of the sails of last week’s quick rally, and the question heading into the new week is whether this same issue might keep waving a yellow ‘caution’ flag at the market. One thing seems pretty sure: Volatility is likely to continue, which could keep things choppy.” You can’t just blame trade concerns for the blustery stock market – a weak jobs report was published last week, and Facebook has also been on the minds of traders, with the social media giant dropping 14% of its share value since early March.


Who's on Top? March 26 - April 1, 2018

Kohl's and JC Penny go head-to-head

For the third week in a row, March Madness games garnered the highest revenue during the week of March 26 for both new ad spend ($12.4 million) and overall ad spend ($83.4 million).

Retailers Kohl’s and JC Penney went head-to-head releasing new sales promotions this week. Kohl's spent $3.6 million advertising Easter deals for the entire family, while JC Penny spent $3 million on national TV ads featuring a mystery coupon hidden in a chocolate bar.


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