Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg under pressure over data breach

Government officials in the U.S. and Europe are demanding answers from Facebook after reports that Cambridge Analytica, the advertising-data firm that helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, retained information on tens of millions of Facebook users without their consent. Over the weekend, entreaties for the social-media giant to take responsibility evolved into calls for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in front of lawmakers. Facebook has already testified about how its platform was used by Russian propagandists ahead of the 2016 election, but the company never put Zuckerberg himself in the spotlight with government leaders. The pressure may also foreshadow tougher regulation for the social network. "It's clear these platforms can't police themselves," Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Saturday on Twitter. "They say 'trust us.' Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary." Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also separately launched an investigation. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Facebook Suspends Trump Election Data Firm for Policy Breach

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data company that helped President Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election and which may have collected data from 50 million Facebook profiles without their owners' permission. The social-networking company said in a blog post Friday that Cambridge Analytica received some user data through an app developer on its social network, violating its policies. In 2015, Facebook said Cambridge Analytica certified that it had destroyed the information. "Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted," Facebook said in a statement. Cambridge Analytica and parent Strategic Communication Laboratories have been suspended from the social network, "pending further information," Facebook said. Continue reading at AdAge.com

New Election Means New Calls for Facebook, Twitter and Google to Answer Congress

Social media giants that have acknowledged Russians exploited their platforms ahead of the 2016 election face renewed bipartisan demands to explain to Congress what they're doing to counter abuse of their networks ahead of this year's congressional midterms. Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said that the chief executives from companies like Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet's Google should testify as to how they can tackle ongoing interference by Russia, as well as abuse of their networks by others. "This is not a problem that's going to be swept under the rug or is going to go away," Warner said in an interview Wednesday. "If anything, it's increasing." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Ex-Walmart Exec Claims Cheating in Race With Amazon

In its race to catch Amazon in online retailing, Walmart issued misleading e-commerce results and fired an executive who complained the company was breaking the law, according to a lawsuit by the executive. Tri Huynh, a former director of business development at Walmart, claims he was terminated "under false pretenses" after repeatedly raising concerns about the company's "overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth in its e-commerce business by any means possibleeven, illegitimate ones." Under CEO Doug McMillon, Walmart has invested billions to catch up with Amazon in e-commerce over the past few years, and last year enjoyed quarterly online sales growth rates surpassing 50 percent, well above peers that include Target and Best Buy. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Bitcoin Drops as Google Bans Crypto Advertisements

Bitcoin slumped to the lowest level in more than a month after Google said it will ban online advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. Industry officials also said at a Congressional hearing that U.S. regulators need to provide greater clarity. The world's biggest digital currency by market value dropped as much as 9.1 percent to $8,238, the lowest price since Feb. 12, as Alphabet Inc.'s Google announced Wednesday that the restriction would be effective in June. Facebook, Google's primary rival for ad dollars, banned ads for cryptocurrencies in January. Google's updated policy came with the release of its annual "bad ads" report, a review of the number of malicious, deceptive and controversial ads Google scrubs from its massive search, display and video network. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Google to Prioritize Stories for Papers’ Paying Readers

Google users who subscribe to newspapers will find articles from those publications appearing higher in their search results, part of the tech giant's efforts to help media companies find and retain paying readers, according to people familiar with the matter. The Alphabet unit will also begin sharing search data that show who's most likely to buy a subscription, said the people, who asked to be anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. Google executives plan to disclose specific details at an event in New York on March 20, according to the people. Google declined to comment. The moves could help publishers better target potential digital subscribers and keep the ones they've already got by highlighting stories from the outlets they're paying for. The initiative marks the latest olive branch from Silicon Valley in its evolving relationship with media companies. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Wells Fargo Continues Digital Video Rampage, at the Expense of Apple, Samsung and Adidas

Wells Fargo returns to the top of the Viral Video Chart this week with its prosaic campaign about mobile banking app features ("You know you can use that phone to call me," grandma says), accumulating 35.4 million views on top of last week's 21.7 million. Sorry, FKA Twigs and Spike Jonze: Your visually striking Apple HomePod ad, new on the chart this week at No. 9, can't match that. The results are a reminder that, as always, our chart includes both "organic" views by eager viewers and paid views likely generated as pre-roll or other digital advertising. .mfp-fade.mfp-bg { Continue reading at AdAge.com