Happy September and welcome to this week’s edition of 5 for Friday! Below you’ll find this week’s crop of hand-picked headlines plucked right from our news feeds.
A historic bill proposed late last week is seeking to prevent California's broadband providers from throttling traffic, charging higher fees for speed, and exempting their own video streams from consumers' data caps.
Dubbed SB 822, it passed 27-to-12 in the California Senate, and 61-to-18 in the Assembly. If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, it would restore open internet rules, and represent (as sponsor Scott Wiener, a state senator representing the district of San Francisco put it) “the strongest net neutrality protections in the country.”
Fight for the Future, an advocates group committed to “expanding the Internet’s power for good,” called the bill’s passage “a major victory for Internet activists who harnessed massive public outcry to pass the bill and a resounding defeat for big telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast.”
The organization predicts that other states will follow California's lead, if the bill is signed.
Effective October 3rd, Apple’s App Store will require new and newly updated apps to include links to their privacy policies in their metadata.
According to the company's guidelines, the move was designed to put more emphasis on protecting users’ personal information, an element “paramount in the Apple ecosystem.”
Urging those who handle personal data to do so in accordance with privacy best practices, applicable laws, and the terms of their Apple Developer Program License Agreement, the company will expect app developers (and the parties with whom they share data) to be able to identify any user data that their apps collect, provide details on how it was collected, and account for its usage.
In addition, they’ll have to explain their data retention and deletion policies, as well as describe how users can revoke consent or request deletion of their PII.
Amazon is rumored to be developing a free, ad-supported streaming service that will be built into its Fire TV platform.
Possibly called “Free Dive,” the offering would give Amazon an edge among market leaders (like Roku and Apple TV) and technology companies with unique distribution or presentation strategies.
If true, the upshot for Amazon could be enormous: because they control their platform (and data!), they can use it to scale viewership, offer exclusive content, and generate revenue in the form of advertising dollars which have quietly become a reliable area of growth for the ecommerce giant.
“It’s now a multi-billion dollar business for us,” said Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky during the company’s most recent earnings call. “We’re seeing strong adoption across a number of front -- Amazon vendors, sellers, authors as well as third-party advertisers who want to reach Amazon customers.”
Known for introducing some “radical changes” to the way we experience the web, the team behind Google Chrome is looking to fundamentally rethink Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).
Over time, they argue, URLs have gotten more complicated and, as web functionality has expanded, become “unintelligible strings of gibberish that combine components from third-parties” or “masked by link shorteners and redirect schemes.”
According to Chrome’s engineering Manager, Adrienne Porter Felt, “people have a really hard time understanding URLs; they’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general don’t convey site identity.”
She, along with her colleagues, want to move toward a place where those challenges are resolved, but this will mean “big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs” and finding an alternative that will “enhance security and identity integrity while also adding convenience for everyday tasks like sharing links on mobile devices.”
The tracking capabilities of Facebook’s pixel are coming to Facebook Groups.
The new feature (which is available to groups with 250 or more members) will allow marketers to track the behaviors of users within these previously walled gardens, and use the data they generate to deliver targeted messages.
For some brands, creating a Facebook Group has helped extend reach and build a community. Almost all have reported high levels of engagement and personalization, outcomes that are becoming increasingly difficult to achieve on the Network’s News Feed.
A Facebook spokesperson shared the following statement on giving Groups access to pixel:
“We launched Group Insights last year as a way to help admins see metrics regarding the growth, activity and membership of their groups. We’re now expanding Group Insights to let Group admins and brands link their groups with their existing Facebook ads pixel, allowing them to understand how members in their Group engage with their websites. We’re beginning to test this feature with a small number of partners, and will continue to roll it out in the coming weeks.”