Sunnier Side of the Office

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

Surely by now, you’ve heard about the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica story. As I’m writing this there are almost too many new stories to keep up. More news will keep coming out of this in the coming days and weeks, but here’s a recap of how this news cycle began late Friday.

On Friday night, Facebook posted a statement saying that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica, the data and voter-targeting company that the Trump campaign used for the 2016 election, after discovering it had harvested user data, even though it told Facebook that the data had been destroyed.

That post was to get ahead of news coming out Saturday, when the New York Times and the Observer(sibling of The Guardian) published stories about Cambridge Analytica, on account of a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, who had worked at the data firm. “used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements,” according to the Observer. At the time frame in question, Cambridge Analytica was headed by Steve Bannon.

How’d Cambridge Analytica get that data? Through a third-party app in which hundreds of thousands of Facebook users were paid to take a personality quiz and agreed to have their data collected for academic use. The problem with that, according to the Observer, is “the app also collected the information of the test-takers’ Facebook friends, leading to the accumulation of a data pool tens of millions-strong. Facebook’s ‘platform policy’ allowed only collection of friends’ data to improve user experience in the app and barred it being sold on or used for advertising.”

The New York Times reported that some of that user data can still be seen online, indicating that there was indeed a breach of data privacy. The New York Times also said that “the breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.”

There are too many articles to link to at this point, but here are a few key ones:
For more on Wylie, the whistleblower, go here.

On MondayFacebook said it hired a digital forensics firm to conduct an audit of Cambridge Analytica to see if the Facebook data obtained by CA still exists.

Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth wrote a post  Monday addressing the issue. Facebook security chief Alex Stamos plans to step down after disputes with policy executives.

Time will tell how this all shakes out, but one outcome could be U.S. regulation for the social platforms as it relates to user privacy and data collection.


Programmatic Audio Expands in 2018

By Coltin Chapman

We’re just three months into 2018, and the programmatic audio landscape has already changed. Pandora is the latest to offer programmatic audio, following Spotify, which started programmatic in 2016, and iHeartRadio, which has offered it since 2014. Advertisers will be able to leverage all 2,000 of Pandora’s proprietary audience segments when buying media programmatically, allowing for more in-depth targeting and audience breakouts.

This growth within the audio market has caught the attention of the Media Rating Council (MRC), which works with the industry to establish accreditations for audience measurement services. The MRC noticed a spike in audio related media earlier this year and worked with 66 audio partners to create standards for the growing medium:

·      Audio Ad must be played with the audio player in a non-muted state and at a non-zero volume.

·      Ads must be filtered for invalid traffic using the MRC’s Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines Addendum.

·      Ad must play for a minimum duration of two continuous seconds.

Pandora entering into the programmatic audio market gives advertisers the option to extend their audio media buys to a broader audience. Brands will also have a larger incentive to purchase programmatic audio thanks to the MRC’s recent audibility standards, which ensure that their audio impressions are fraud-free and brand safe.

Getting Lucky with Lyft

We’re thrilled to partner once again with Lyft for a project where we brought the luck o’ the Irish to riders over the weekend. Users who opted in to ‘Lucky Mode’ in eight cities were picked up in a gold-wrapped car with a gold treasure chest waiting for them in the back seat. If they found the lucky key before the ride ends, they kept the treasure. In Boston, that treasure was tickets to see the Dropkick Murphys.

See more at Ad Age’s Creativity.

This Week In Social: March Madness Madness

By Melissa Santiago

NCAA Bracket season is here once again. Every year approximately 70 million people fill out NCAA March Madness brackets. The money wagered amongst friends, coworkers, and online is estimated to total over $10.4 billion.

Part of the bracket appeal is Cinderella teams, which are low-ranking teams who go on to win games against top-tier teams. A new Cinderella story emerged on Friday when the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers, the No. 16 seed and underdog, beat No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers. Twitter users came out in full force to launch the Retrievers into momentary internet fame.

This marks the first time a 16-seed has ever beat a 1-seed team and is being called the second-greatest upset in NCAA history. What did this win mean for 70 million brackets? The NCAA reports Friday’s upset means there are no more perfect brackets left.

Sadly, UMBC was knocked out the tournament on Sunday night after a loss to Kansas State, but have secured their place as one of top two Retrievers in basketball history.