The Big Story
The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments that could shape the future of the internet. Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh are the two cases on the docket that could result in a landmark reinterpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which has protected tech platforms against their users posts and content. The decision, which is expected to be delivered this summer, could have an impact on both tech giants and their advertisers.
In 2015, an American student, Nohemi Gonzalez, was one of the many killed in the Paris terrorist attacks. A day afterwards, the foreign terrorist organization ISIS took responsibility for the attacks by releasing a written statement and YouTube video. Gonzalez’s family took legal action against Google, the parent company of YouTube, arguing that their algorithm—which tailors content based on users’ profiles–led users towards the terrorist group’s content. This set the grounds for Twitter v. Taamneh, a more recent case where the family of a victim of the Istanbul terrorist attack sued Twitter, Google and Facebook for allowing terrorist groups to use their platform to disseminate propaganda. This case further calls into question whether internet platforms are liable for “aiding and abetting” foreign terrorist organizations.
As of now, the Supreme Court justices seem hesitant to limit social media platforms’ immunity from its users’ posts due to the immense consequences it could bring. However, with new technologies like AI changing the way of online content, these arguments are bringing into question Section 230’s efficacy in the current landscape.
If the Supreme Court decides to hold social platforms responsible for content delivered through recommendations, advertisers will likely also take a hit. Social platforms trying to avoid lawsuits could potentially abandon algorithms altogether, leaving advertisers blind in how to reach their target audience on the platform. As a result, ad dollars would have less value on social media, which has been a growing advertising strategy for the past decade. Without these informative algorithms, advertisers also run the risk of brand safety by potentially placing ads next to harmful content. Any change to a platform’s algorithm will ultimately come at the cost of advertisers who will have to pay more on platforms looking to heighten content moderation efforts.
TikTok has recently announced their new partnership with Mercedes Benz in which they will be working together to integrate TikTok content into the “superscreen” of Mercedes’ new E-Class car. With driver safety being a concern, TikTok assured this capability would only be available while the vehicle is stationary, stating “from passing time waiting while stationary in your vehicle to simply enjoying a moment to yourself while your car is at rest, before heading to your destination, TikTok will be your new favorite activity when parked, delivering you a stream of videos tailored just for you.” With this partnership, TikTok looks to gain more users from new means outside of mobile and TikTok. Considering TikTok’s target audience, it will be interesting to see how this partnership advances them in the space.
Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the company will be rolling out a new paid verification subscription service across Instagram and Facebook called Meta Verified. According to Zuckerberg, “this new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.” Similar to Elon Musk’s strategy with Twitter Blue, Zuckerberg is enacting a monthly fee for users to receive a blue verification badge on their profiles. Unlike Twitter’s initial go at their verification subscription, Meta has put impersonation protections in place with Meta Verified to avoid potential internet trolling like what took place on Twitter. To be meet the criteria, users must be at least 18 years old, meet minimum account activity requirements and submit a government ID proving their profile’s identity.
LinkedIn has introduced new SEO related tools aimed at helping users’ content stand out and widening their reach.
- SEO Titles and Descriptions allows users to optimize their content for specific keywords, making content more findable. This will also help customize how users’ LinkedIn articles appear in search engines.
- The updated Activity section on users’ profiles can now showcase mages, videos, newsletters, while also allowing users to choose which content is displayed first.
- The new central location for analytics and creation tools enables users to create content and measure performance in one place, allowing for quick and informed optimizations.
- LinkedIn has made several newsletter updates aimed at boosting users’ reach and discovery. Users can now plan content and share at optimal times with new scheduling features for newsletters and articles. In addition to this, LinkedIn has created a one-click subscribe URL and an embeddable button for newsletters allowing existing and potential readers to subscribe to directly from LinkedIn or other channels. Lastly, LinkedIn is bringing more visibility to newsletters by making them more visible both on the platform and on search results.
Yahoo is shutting down its supply-side platform to focus efforts on its demand side platform. As a result, the company laid off more than 20% of its entire workforce with 50% of ad-tech employees being cut. The purpose of this according to CEO Jim Lanzone is “it’s really about narrowing our focus on the piece of ad tech we do best, which is our DSP [and] not spreading our resources too thinly across every part of the stack.” In its plan to refine its DSP, Yahoo wants to focus on the premium side of the market full of Fortune 500 companies and top advertising agencies.
To cater to the growing demands of CTV advertising, Google has introduced new features to their DV360 platform. These tools aim to help advertisers with planning, purchasing, and measuring their CTV campaigns. Reach Planner is a feature that helps advertisers evaluate unique and incremental reach of streaming publishers like YouTube, Hulu and Roku, as well as linear TV. Deal ID is a powerful forecasting tool that advertisers can use to predict campaign performance before actually spending any budget. With Instant Reserve, advertisers can book premium placements, like across YouTube TV, more easily. Lastly, Google’s Unique Reach Overlap is a new report that identifies duplicate reach across publishers, campaigns, and devices. This new report can help reduce media waste by determining campaign-level frequency caps and it can also help to identify the source of the most incremental reach.