Social shorts: Facebook braces for privacy laws, Snapchat tests new mode, Instagram to verify user ages

Social Media

This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Facebook braces for privacy laws, #YouTubeIsOverParty accuses YouTube of censorship

Facebook counts down to CCPA. With mere weeks to go before the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) takes effect, the social giant last week posted a statement that boiled down to one message: Facebook is ready. “We are ready for its arrival in part because we’ve made many long-term investments across our products to help people everywhere easily manage their privacy and understand their choices,” Facebook wrote. CCPA will be enforced starting January 1, 2020, giving internet users the right to see what data big tech companies collect about them and with whom it is shared. In preparation for the law, the California-based social network has been busy adding new tools to support CCPA compliance, including a new privacy hub that outlines Facebook’s data policies for collection and usage. The company has also added a range of self-serve tools that allow Facebook users to download or delete data.

#YouTubeIsOverParty. Last week, YouTube announced updates to its harassment policy, resulting in a number of creators voicing concerns and frustrations over the stricter new guidelines. Over the last several days, creators and users alike have posted notifications showing content that’s been flagged or entirely removed from the video-sharing platform – a clear indication that the company is moving swiftly to enforce its updated policies. YouTubers have taken to Twitter with #YouTubeIsOverParty in a protest against the new guidelines, which are impeding the monetization efforts of some creators. To make matters worse, many of the videos flagged or removed included explanations that appear unclear and unreasonable – prompting cries of censorship on Twitter.

Facebook fires contractor over bribes, Instagram tests new Stories layouts

Facebook contractor tied to ad-related bribery. A Facebook contractor was fired after being paid thousands of dollars in bribes to reactivate banned ad accounts, according to a BuzzFeed News investigation. The Facebook contractor in question was allegedly paid to reactivate ad accounts connected to Ads Inc. – a marketing firm based in San Diego (which BuzzFeed News previously found was running a Facebook scam involving ads that made false claims about celebrities). “This behavior is absolutely prohibited under our policies and the individual is no longer working with Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We’re continuing to investigate the allegations and will take any further necessary action.” Ads Inc. announced it was shutting down in October as a result of the BuzzFeed News investigation. According to BuzzFeed, the Facebook contractor was based in the company’s Austin office. 

Instagram tests new Stories layout. Instagram may soon rollout new grid layouts for Stories, according to a recent discovery by social media commentator Matt Navarra. Navarra shared a video on his Twitter account showing a new Layout mode, which includes six different grid layouts from which users can insert two, three, four, or six media files. The video also shows options with grids placed vertically and horizontally. The Layout grid was initially spotted in testing by Jane Manchun Wong back in August, which means the feature has likely evolved to the next stage of beta testing.

Snapchat tests new mode, Instagram to verify ages of new users

Snapchat tests ‘Cameo’ mode. The image and video sharing app has started testing ‘Cameo’ – a new mode that lets users insert their faces into GIFs to add their own spin to a range of short clips. With the new mode, users can take a selfie and choose a body type to help Snapchat identify how a user looks. From there, users can use the Bitmoji button in the Snapchat messaging keyboard to access Cameo GIFs that include the user’s face. According to TechCrunch, which first announced the news this week, Snap said it plans to launch the new feature on December 18th with a global rollout on iOS and Android.

Instagram begins verifying age for new users. Almost a decade after its launch, Instagram will finally start asking new users to provide their age in an attempt to better protect younger users. The new requirement started earlier this week, with the photo-sharing app prompting new users for their date of birth when an account is created. Up until now, Instagram users simply had to confirm that they were older than 13 when signing up, but weren’t required to provide a birthday. Instagram said it would use age information to recommend younger people opt for more privacy settings, such as allowing new message requests only from people they follow.


C-suite transitions at the Academy of Country Music, Schwan’s Co., Google and JP Morgan

The Academy of Country Music (ACM) has promoted its CMO, Damon Whiteside, to CEO. After serving in the CMO role for six years now, he will take over as the organization’s lead on January 6, splitting his time between Los Angeles and Nashville. “His experience, commitment and enthusiasm in the Country Music world are well documented and we are confident that he will enhance the Academy’s ability to bring together fans, artists and the industry,” said Ed Warm, chairman of the board for the ACM. During his tenure as CMO, Whiteside is credited with overseeing the development of ACM’s multimillion-dollar marketing and media campaigns and building strategic partnerships with media partners, digital companies and Fortune 500 brands. 

Schwan’s Co., a food services business, has named Robert Rios chief marketing officer. He will serve as Schwan’s first-ever CMO and be part of the company’s executive leadership committee. “As the food industry continues to rapidly change, we are particularly excited about the role Roberto will play in accelerating our company’s digital transformation, building on the strength of our brands, catching trends and meeting evolving consumer preferences and customer needs,” said CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios. With more than 25 years’ experience in the consumer goods industry, Rios most recently served as the CMO for beverages at PepsiCo’s world headquarters, overseeing the company’s Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, 7UP and LifeWater brands. 

PayPal’s former COO Bill Ready is moving to Google at the start of the year as the new head of commerce, reports TechCrunch. Ready will report directly to Google’s SVP of Ads, Commerce and Payments Prabhakar Raghavan and focus on bringing Google’s “vision, strategy and delivery” to its commerce products. “Bill’s exceptional track record building great experiences for consumers and deeply strategic partnerships makes him a powerful addition to our team. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of commerce at Google,” said Raghavan in a statement shared with TechCrunch. Ready was the founder of the tech startup of Braintree which was acquired by PayPal in 2013. He has been part of PayPal’s leadership team since the acquisition.  

JP Morgan’s CMO Kristin Lemkau is transitioning to a new role within the company, serving as the head of the U.S. wealth management division, according to The Drum. The wealth management division is a new business unit launched by JP Morgan, reports the Wall Street Journal, catering to clients with up to $25 million in assets. There has been no official announcement about who will take over the role of CMO for JP Morgan per The Drum’s coverage. Lemkau, who started with JP Morgan within its PR department, was named CMO in 2014. Earlier this year, Ad Club of New York named Lemkau marketer of the year.

Bezos adds 6 more execs to his S-team, Foursquare and Episerver get new CEOs

Jeff Bezos has added six new members to Amazon’s senior executive team, including two women – bringing the total number of women on the team to three. Known as the “S-team,” the elite, 22-member group is made up of senior-most leaders who head various divisions of the company with direct communication to Bezos. The newest additions have all been promoted from within the company, including Christine Beauchamp as Amazon Fashion Vice President, and Colleen Aubrey as Amazon Advertising Vice President. The new faces of the S-team also include Rohit Prasad, Alexa Vice President; Neil Lindsey, Amazon Prime chief; and Peter Krawiec, Corporate Development Vice President, who was a central figure in the company’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods.

Location-based platform Foursquare has promoted David Shim to the role of CEO and added his name to the board of directors. Shim, who joined the location-based technology platform Foursquare as president in June, was previously the founder and CEO of Placed, which provides ad-to-store attribution services for brands. Foursquare’s current CEO, Jeff Glueck, will be leaving Foursquare at the end of the year to explore new opportunities, reports Adweek.

Episerver, a digital experience platform, has named Alex Atzberger as its new CEO. With more than 15 years of experience at SAP, most recently as president of SAP Customer Experience, Atzberger was chosen after the company’s board interviewed many highly qualified candidates, according to Episerver’s Executive Chairman Adam Berger, who recently served as the company’s interim CEO. “When we dreamed up the perfect candidate it was him. Alex is entirely additive to this all-star Episerver team who welcomes his leadership to hit our customer-centricity strategy out of the park for the betterment of our customers, their respective customers and our partners,” said Berger. Episerver announced last month its acquisition of the content intelligence and analytics platform Idio.

About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.

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