The bad news keeps coming for YouTube.
The platform has been under intense scrutiny from research firm Adalytics. Its latest report, which accuses YouTube of serving targeted ads on kid-focused content, may have also uncovered evidence that YouTube has been violating Apple’s privacy protections by not asking for user consent when deploying an attribution tracker on iOS, Adweek reports.
Adalytics tested more than 300 YouTube ad clicks that could potentially identify users, and says the platform never asked for consent to be tracked, which is a requirement on iOS.
YouTube parent Google says it doesn’t need to display a consent pop-up because YouTube is not using any tracking signals that have been banned by Apple.
But YouTube’s iOS app applies an identifier called WBRAID when a user clicks an ad and gets sent to the advertiser’s landing page. The WBRAID identifier is then made available to other trackers and data brokers that work with the advertiser.
Google developed WBRAID as a way to comply with Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) initiative, which prohibits tracking individual users without their explicit consent. Google says it’s a measurement tool and can’t be used to identify users. But because the WBRAID identifier is unique to each ad click and, therefore, arguably attributable to specific users, it may not be compliant with ATT.
Ultimately, only Apple can decide.
The TV industry’s measurement conflicts seem to never end.
Nielsen plans to incorporate Amazon Prime’s first-party streaming data into its audience measurement, starting with Thursday Night Football. The integration is set to be audited by the Media Rating Council this week, and it’s causing an uproar among other TV networks, Ad Age reports.
It could signify a conflict of interest: Amazon uses Nielsen as currency to sell ads, so if Nielsen incorporates Amazon streaming data into its audience measurement, it might inflate Thursday Night Football ratings. Last year, Amazon reported 18% higher viewership than Nielsen (and publicized its internal viewership for each game).
Other networks aren’t necessarily opposed to the idea of trading on their own data, to some extent. The broadcaster joint industry committee (JIC) is on a mission to consolidate streaming data from networks to feed alternative TV currencies.
In reality, broadcasters are salty. Networks say they’ve tried to make similar deals with Nielsen, and allege that the ratings giant hasn’t sent back information about the technical specifications or who would pay for an audit. Nielsen denies those claims.
Whatever the case, there’s still a rift between Nielsen and many major TV networks that are active members of the JIC, which Nielsen refuses to join.
And the finger-pointing continues.
Tech companies are abdicating their roles as bulwarks against political misinformation, which will have serious repercussions for the 2024 presidential election, The Washington Post reports.
YouTube stated in June that it would stop taking down videos falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen. Meta now lets users opt out of its fact-checking program. And X’s unmoderated content has scared away oodles of advertisers.
Many factors are prompting tech companies to withdraw from the fray. Facing cooling profits and surging layoffs, companies have deprioritized ensuring content is accurate and unbiased. Meta, for instance, shelved its Facebook Journalism Project and shut down a team that gauged the risk of certain Meta products last year.
A recent ruling blocked the Biden administration from working with social media companies to remove “protected speech” from their platforms.
And don’t underestimate the power of Elon Musk. His sweeping changes at X, such as the reinstatement of controversial accounts like Trump’s and massive workforce cuts that put the kibosh on effectively policing fraud, harassment and hate speech, started a chain reaction in the tech industry. Let users do whatever they want? If Musk can do it, so can I.
But Wait, There’s More!
Instacart files for IPO. [Axios]
So does Klaviyo. [CNBC]
The anticlimactic death of the streaming wars. [Wired]
ESPN considers charging up to $35 per month for its new streaming service that’s in the works. [The Information]
How TV shows and movies go viral on TikTok. [Variety]
In an affiliate marketing play powered by generative AI, Macworld, PCWorld, Tech Advisor and TechHive are adding an AI chatbot, Smart Answers, to their sites. [The Verge]
TikTok edges out Instagram in the time US adults spend on the app, and it could lap Facebook by 2025, per Insider Intelligence. But its ad spend lags Meta’s by a lot. [Insider]
YouTube is pushing further into podcasts by adding support for RSS feeds by podcasters and private RSS feeds for users. [TechCrunch]
Meta must face a lawsuit over collection of user data from the California DMV. [MediaPost]