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What Digital Marketers Need to Know About California’s New CCPA Law

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There are a lot of questions swirling around California’s new Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was enacted on January 1st, 2020. The good news is that enforcement action under the CCPA cannot be enforced until July, so brands still have some time to ensure compliance.

Essentially, this is California’s version of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), however there are some major differences in implementation.

And while this new law legally only impacts California residents, the regulations will likely impact many websites in the US, and possibly others overseas. If a company has clients in California than they need to comply with the CCPA, and for many, it’ll be easier to make one update to their website/s to cover new laws like this, rather than output a patchwork of IP-driven geo updates for every state or country that decides to produce a new online privacy framework.

The CCPA states that any business which collects, shares or sells the consumer data of more than 50,000 people, or produced revenue of more than $25 million in the previous year, must comply with the new law. This means that not every company needs to worry about it, for now.

Here’s an overview of some of the key CCPA considerations.

What’s the difference between GDPR and CCPA?

At a high-level, the biggest difference between these laws is that:

  • GDPR is opt-in for consumer data protection
  • CCPA is opt-out for consumer data protection

European consumers must agree to data tracking, generally via a notification pop-up that they can click on on any given website. Since it was enacted in 2018, 95% of consumers have opted in to relevant data tracking via these notifications – that means that only 5% of European Internet traffic isn’t being tracked under this law.

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In addition, the GDPR also allows European consumers to have their data wiped and/or provided to them on request.

CCPA, on the other hand, is an opt-out law, which means that the same type of popup a consumer might see under a GDPR compliant website will instead ask if the consumer wants to opt-out of being tracked via cookies. In addition, under the CCPA, consumers are supposed to be given the option to deny companies the ability to sell their data as they see fit. It’s anticipated that this will see a rise in “don’t sell my data” buttons built into the footers of business websites.

“Even when there’s the option to say no, maybe 10% of the people say no” to having their data sold to third parties, says Ben Barokas, CEO of SourcePoint.

Based on the opt-in data from the GDPR, my guess would be that the opt-out will likely see similar take up to the numbers from Europe – 5% of consumers will likely take action as a result of having the option readily available.

Why is Internet tracking of consumers so important to business?

To cut a long story short, tracking consumers’ online behavior enables companies to deliver the right content to the right person at the most optimal time. This is good for both the business and consumer – the business only wants to invest in advertising for true prospects at the right time, and by doing this correctly, it can have a big impact on ROI.

At the same time, according to research by AdLucent, seven out of 10 consumers want personalized ads.

AdLucent ad personalization report

Four out of five consumers say that they’re more likely to make a purchase when given a personalized ad by a brand, and 71% of consumers get frustrated when their online shopping experience is too impersonal.

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The stats above make the estimates of a 5%-10% opt-out rate under CCPA palatable for our purposes. Most consumers actually don’t want to opt-out for these reasons, and many of the rest are likely too lazy or aren’t knowledgeable enough to do so.

Why are these new Internet laws are being enacted?

A couple of years ago many, including myself, predicted the death of cookies for tracking folks online. And while this hasn’t happened as yet, it certainly seems like cookies are nearing the end of their life span.

“Proprietary HTTP cookies were (and remain) the core mechanism for distinguishing one consumer from another, and each cookie may only be read by the party that sets it. There is no standardized, centralized mechanism for consumers to convey their interests or privacy preferences, which can then travel with them and be reliably broadcast to the right parties as consumers surf the web or hop from app to app on their mobile devices.”

~Jordan Mitchell, IAB Tech Lab

The above describes the consumer privacy problem that led to Europe’s GDPR and the new CCPA in California, while the privacy controls of most browsers have now made cookies less effective at tracking, anyway.

As a result, we’re gradually moving towards a singular identifier across the entire web, rather than private cookies from every website and app used. This will demand that our technology stacks evolve and innovate on this new standard – which, it’s worth noting, will also be opt-in.

Content marketers need to educate themselves on consumer privacy and tracking technology, because one way or another, they will need to adjust.

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The end result?

Cookies are eventually going away, and consumer privacy protection laws will grow globally. The replacement of the cookie will likely be a “global” one-click opt-in or opt-out for all websites and apps bound by these laws.

This will impact real-time bidding advertising online, but based on consumer input, that impact will be limited.

Most consumers like personalization online, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. The balance then lies in ensuring the safety of the data you collect, maintaining consumer trust, while also utilizing relevant, valuable insights to underline the inherent value of such processes. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers

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Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers


With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.





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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps


Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.



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