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Google Adds New ‘Data Safety’ Labels to Play Store Listings to Improve Data Usage Transparency

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Google Adds New 'Data Safety' Labels to Play Store Listings to Improve Data Usage Transparency


Google is rolling out updated ‘data safety’ labels for all apps listed in the Play Store, which will provide more specific info as to how each app collects and utilizes your info, increasing transparency over the process.

As you can see in this example, the new Data Safety section within Play app listings will provide an overview of not only the types of data that each app collects, but how that developer utilizes the information it takes in.

As explained by Google:

“We heard from users and app developers that displaying the data an app collects, without additional context, is not enough. Users want to know for what purpose their data is being collected and whether the developer is sharing user data with third parties. In addition, users want to understand how app developers are securing user data after an app is downloaded.”

The new Data Safety section prompts developers to clearly mark what data is being collected, and signify how it’s being used.

The section will include notes on:

  • Whether the developer is collecting data and for what purpose
  • Whether the developer is sharing data with third parties
  • The app’s security practices, like encryption of data in transit and whether users can ask for data to be deleted
  • Whether a qualifying app has committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy to better protect children in the Play store
  • Whether the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard

Developers will be required to complete this section for their apps by July 20th, or they risk penalties, and potentially being unlisted in the marketplace.

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It’s the latest data transparency development in the market, following on from Apple’s ATT data-sharing prompts, and Google’s own improved Play Store listings on data usage. Google’s also working to phase out third-party tracking cookies, the next big shift on this front, which will see it move to alternate forms of ad targeting, based on Topics, which could have major impacts on ad targeting accuracy.

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Apple’s decision to provide users with more control on this front has already had big impacts, with Meta reporting that Apple’s iOS privacy changes will cost it around $10 billion in 2022 alone. Other platforms have also seen impacts in their ad tools, and while this update will be less disruptive, it’s another factor in the rising data transparency push, that will cumulatively cause major shifts for advertisers over time.

But it makes sense. Data has become the currency of online interaction, and users should have control over such, or at the least, the capacity to fully understand, if they choose, how their personal information is being utilized by advertisers and developers in varying ways.

Which is what this update provides – and again, the impacts here won’t be significant for advertisers, though they may prompt some app makers to scale back their data collection processes, which could have flow-on effects.

Users will start seeing the new Data Safety section within Google Play store listings from today



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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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