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Crisis of confidence in Silicon Valley

Mark Zuckerberg’s “confessional” on CNN broadcast on Thursday 22 March 2018 was a blatant attempt at a public relations ‘damage limitation’ exercise.

I’m not convinced it had the desired effect.

Facebook’s share price continues to fall and pressure for an investigation of the company and its dealings with UK-company Cambridge Analytica continues to mount on both sides of the Atlantic.

“This is a major breach of trust and we are sorry about that, ” says Zuckerberg. Right. But you can’t help feeling he’s trying to play the ‘victim’ of some unwitting scam.

Facebook have made one bad mistake after another  – whether that’s providing a platform for sexual exploitation of women and children or the spread of toxic extremist ideology of sick, evil terrorists.

And judging by the law suits its fa...

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British Government showdown with social media giants next month

Last chance saloon for social media giants, warns Matthew Hancock, Secretary of State, DCMS as British Government raises the prospect of a ‘breach of duty of care’ owed to users of social media services and promises more legislation unless they get themselves sorted out.

Speaking to The Sunday Times (25 March 2018), Hancock said Facebook and other tech giants that harvested personal data from users would be ordered to simplify their terms and conditions so they fitted on a single page.

He’s summoned Facebook, Google and Twitter to a showdown next month following revelations about the way Facebook data was used by the UK firm Cambridge Analytica to help Donald Trump’s Presidential election campaign.

A cloud still hangs over the prospect of unlawful profiling of UK citizens to influence ...

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Schrems fails to deliver a knockout blow to Facebook Ireland at the Court of Justice, European Union

On Thursday 25 January 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that 30-year old Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems couldn’t bring a class action law suit against Facebook Ireland for what he claims was illegal use of personal data but granted him permission to challenge the social media giant’s business practices in his native Austria.

The second CJEU ruling in Schrems’ long-running legal battle with Facebook is significant for widening legal jurisdiction against Facebook Ireland by granting the right of Schrems to take legal action against Facebook Ireland in the Austrian courts.

Facebook Ireland, headquartered in Dublin, unsuccessfully argued that the matter could only be heard in Irish courts.

The case now returns to Austrian courts that had previously faile...

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Legality of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC’s) hangs in the balance awaiting decision by CJEU

Ireland’s High Court has just ruled today (Tuesday 3 October 2017) that the decision to ban the use of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) by social media giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google to transfer users’ personal data to the US must be initially decided by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Giving her judgment in open court, Irish High Court Judge Caroline Costello said: “I have decided to ask the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. European Union law guarantees a high level of protection to EU citizens…they are entitled to an equivalent high level of protection when their data is transferred outside of the European Economic Area.”

This of course looks like a spooky re-run of the Safe Harbor legal action brought by Max Schrems that resulted in the...

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Europe’s Digital Czar criticises Facebook’s electronic vacuum cleaner approach to data collection

facebook and clean upGuenther Oettinger, Europe’s digital economy chief and the German representative on the European Commission has delivered a stark warning to Google and Facebook that they must either comply with the principles of the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or face being thrown out of the single market.

Oettinger accused the tech giants of using “an electronic vacuum cleaner” to collect and then target advertising using detailed information of users often without their knowledge or consent.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Oettinger said: “The Americans are in the lead, they’ve got the data, the business models and so the power.”

He predicted that Google and Facebook “will go to the Member States where data protection is least developed, come along with thei...

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PewDiePie is the future of TV

PweDiePieMy guess is you’ve never heard of PewDiePie, have you?

But what if I told you this Swedish vlogger who loves sharing the latest video games and slightly bonkers videos on YouTube is also the biggest star on YouTube himself with 32,222,075 subscribers and a whopping 6,753,075,673 views.

And he launched his channel in April 2010.

Closer to home, my daughter Zara loves this YouTube vlogger.

And by all accounts so do very many other teenager girls who follow her latest musings – if fact over 6.5m subscribers do.

Zoella screen grabThe elf-like and sublimely charming 24 year-old fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella (real name Zoe Elizabeth Sugg) speaks for a new generation of TV viewers. And I’m not talking about those who regularly tune into CBBC’s Blue Peter.

The mainstay of Zoella’s channel is about frien...

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Are you connected with your shoppers 24 hours a day?

shop around the clockRetailers that simply try to appeal to shoppers during waking hours may be in for a shock, according to new research from the US by brand strategy consultants Vivaldi Partners Group.

There’s a new breed of consumer that can’t actually be reached through traditional marketing channels and marketers need to have deployed strategies in order to reach this group who are active at any time of day.

And it’s not enough to break your customer base down into groups according to age and gender – marketers need to build up the fullest possible picture of each customer in order to target them with highly individualised messages.

The days of traditional bricks and mortar, 9am to 5pm shopping habits haven’t completely disappeared but increasingly consumers are now comfortable shopping in the tw...

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Have you been left behind in the digital revolution?

John-Hamm-Mad-Men-dealThere can be few sectors that have been disrupted to the extent that marketing has been by digital.

The days when marketing directors splashed the cash on elaborate global TV campaigns with gigantic budgets and expenses to match harks back to a bygone era that’s much more Mad Men than the reality brand owners face today.

Most marketing is campaign driven. Brand owners are constantly under pressure to get product and service to market in the shortest time possible. This then takes on a life of its own, spinning activity on a monthly, quarterly and seasonal basis.

Just take a look at the adverts on TV if you don’t believe me. Yet the reality is that at any given moment, only a small proportion of the TV audience will be vaguely interested in what the advertiser has to say.

Digital has tu...

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What the PRCA and NLA can learn from Winston Churchill!

Winston ChurchillIt was Winston Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived, who said “In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.”

Given the acrimonious legal battles that the PRCA has been having with the NLA and the subsequent decision at the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think it’s time for both sides to do well in remembering those words.

Let’s face it.

Both sides must build a new bridge – a better, more robust bridge – where the focus is on collaboration rather than conflict. And in my opinion it can be done as there’s a heap of goodwill on the PRCA side for this to happen – and repairing this broken relationship should start now.

The motivation for doing so is obvious.

The power of the media as a channel for connecting with des...

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One of the world’s biggest corporates makes a donation to CND

Unilever Peace campaign for Lynx

Strange, but true…

Unilever will continue to use the peace logo in promotions for its new Lynx fragrance but is making an undisclosed donation to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) after the protest group slammed its “callous” use of the iconic symbol.

The FMCG company said the “universally recognised symbol of peace” is a key part of its bid to raise awareness of peace globally, which forms part of the marketing campaign for its new “Peace” sub brand.

The campaign, which has seen 70ft peace signs tagged on various landmarks across the capital, was slammed by CND as being a “disingenuous”. CND general secretary Kate Hudson told The Independent earlier this week that the promotions are “a flagrant co-opting of decades of activism”.

Unilever defended its use of t...

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