TIME facebook

Here’s Why Facebook Just Changed Its Logo

It's a more modern design

Chances are you missed a subtle change to Facebook’s logo Tuesday.

The company has refreshed the logo, which displays the full spelling of the brand. The most conspicuous amendment lies in the shape of the ‘a': it’s now rounded off to a single-story as opposed to its previous double-story version. The letters are also slimmer, and there’s also more white all round.

“We set out to modernize the logo to make it feel more friendly and approachable,” Facebook creative director Josh Higgins told Brand New.

The new logo is also apparently better suited to viewing on mobile devices. “This is actually a huge change and it’s much more than the ‘a,’” Howard Belk, co-chief executive and chief creative officer of branding firm Siegel+Gale, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s driven by mobile.”

The result of a collaboration between Facebook’s in-house team and Process Type Foundry’s Eric Olson, the new Facebook logo will be showing up across Facebook sites and apps soon. The familiar ‘f’ stand-alone logo on the upper corner of Facebook’s main site – also called a favicon – will stay as it is.

MONEY privacy

The New Technology Advertisers Use to Track Everything You Do

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vm—Getty Images

The FTC is currently accepting public comments on the tracking programs.

Several years ago, you may have reached the Internet through only a desktop or laptop computer, where advertisers could gather information on your activities and interests through cookies that tracked the places you visited online.

Today, you may be using a laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone and a desktop to roam the Web. Add a wireless fitness gadget or other connected device and it gets very challenging for companies to seamlessly track where you’ve been and to judge the effectiveness of their online advertisements.

To better keep tabs on your online movements in the multiple-device age, advertisers are turning to cross-device tracking programs, which help them determine if, say, you opened your laptop to buy the product that was advertised on your smartphone. While the technology may hold benefits for marketers and consumers, it’s also raising privacy concerns.

Cybersecurity and privacy attorney Michael Morgan, of counsel at Jones Day, says mobile advertising agencies are looking to cross-device tracking to better show clients the value of mobile advertising “and to be able to point to desktop purchases or purchases on iPads that may have been the result of advertisements that were first presented to consumers on a smartphone or other device.”

“As more of our lives migrate to the online world, companies are able to have a more clear picture and better understanding of their customers and potential customers,” says Morgan.

That could benefit consumers in certain ways. Say you start shopping at your favorite e-tailer on your home computer, then abandon your cart and later try to finish your purchase on your phone. The website may be able to tailor your experience so you don’t have to re-add items to your shopping cart or re-enter credit card information.

But to get that level of convenience, you will have to give up some privacy. “The privacy advocates have raised some concerns about the level of information, or the amount of information [that] currently can be known about a consumer from all of their various online activities,” says Morgan.

Sign of a post-cookie world
The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop Nov. 16 to explore privacy issues, security risks and potential benefits arising from cross-device tracking of consumers for advertising and marketing purposes. “With the advent of new tracking methods … it’s important to ensure that consumers’ privacy remains protected as businesses seek to target them across multiple devices,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release in March.

The agency noted the decreasing effectiveness of cookies in tracking consumers’ online activities. “A cookie may paint an incomplete picture of the consumer who switches between different Web browsers at home and at work. Further, a cookie stored on a consumer’s browser cannot provide insight into the consumer’s activities or preferences within the ‘sandboxed’ apps on the consumer’s phone,” the FTC said.

Attorney and data privacy expert Michael Whitener, a partner in the VLP Law Group in Washington, D.C., sees significance in the FTC’s decision to hold the workshop. “It reflects the fact that we’re entering a post-cookie world, and so the FTC is trying to get a handle on the privacy implications of the new cross-device tracking technologies,” he says.

The self-regulatory industry group Network Advertising Initiative, meanwhile, has said it will issue guidance on cross-device, interest-based advertising and has asked its members to provide comments on the relevant standards, according to Whitener. The NAI recently issued member guidance on use of non-cookie technologies but explicitly said it doesn’t cover cross-device identification or data collection yet, says Whitener.

Logins and ‘digital fingerprints’
The industry uses different approaches to try to follow consumers. It can be as simple as requiring you to log in to a site or service from whatever device you’re using. But there are also complex analytics programs that assemble user characteristics to try to identify you from one device to another.

This “probabilistic” tracking method involves the collection of such information as device type, operating system, fonts and Internet Protocol address “to create a digital fingerprint to link a user to different devices,” the FTC says. This kind of tracking “is generally invisible to consumers and, unlike tracking through cookies, the consumer has no ability to control it. Accordingly, this practice raises a number of privacy concerns and questions.”

Digital Advertising Association Executive Director Lou Mastria considers cross-device privacy an emerging area for the industry, which has been focused most recently on mobile-environment privacy issues. The group will conduct a review of what cross-device means and what privacy protections can be provided, he told CreditCards.com.

The Better Business Bureau, the DAA’s partner in applying industry self-regulatory policies, issued a compliance warning in 2014 noting that the DAA’s privacy principles are enforceable “irrespective of the technology employed to collect and use consumer web surfing activity to serve interest-based ads.”

Attorney Whitener says he agrees with the position that privacy principles should apply regardless of the tracking technologies being used. He thinks the industry’s self-policing may ward off any new regulations. “The FTC may well take the position it took after its workshop on the Internet of Things, which is that specific legislation would be premature and could stifle innovation in this area.”

Opting out
While there are a number of up-and-coming tracking companies, BlueCava, Tapad, and Drawbridge are the big names, Whitener says. The firms gather various pieces of information about Internet users to try to connect them to specific devices. They also offer opt-out mechanisms.

Tapad, for instance, says on its website that its proprietary technology “assimilates billions of data points to find the human relationship between smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, connected TVs and game consoles.” The firm says its algorithms provide “the highest possible probability that devices are related.”

Among the data it may collect is an “obfuscated user identifier, such as email address, but only to evaluate the probability and nature of connections between devices, never to identify the individual.” The firm says it’s involved in developing industrywide standards for consumer privacy, including clear notice and opt-out choices complying with the Digital Advertising Alliance program for advertising linked to consumer online behavior.

“Notice plus opt-out opportunity is the gold standard in the current environment,” says Whitener.

Consumers should keep in mind, however, that the clients of these technology firms — the websites you interact with — will have their own privacy policies, which could allow for data collection beyond what the vendor’s policy provides, according to Whitener. Ideally, the website will spell out both how it and its service providers collect data, he says.

Writing on the International Association of Privacy Professionals blog early this year, Whitener suggested that digital marketers be fully transparent regarding their data collection and consumer tracking practices; that they provide clear opt-out abilities; and that they be cautious about making no-personal-information-collected claims.

“Privacy policies commonly assert that cookies used by a website operator collect no personal information or that data collected is ‘anonymous,'” Whitener wrote. “That assertion may not be true of some cross-device ID methods, which enable identification of specific individuals.”

Consumers speak out
The FTC is accepting public comments on cross-device tracking, and several citizens have written to oppose tracking and call for the ability to easily opt out.

“I am opposed to any tracking by any entity,” wrote Blanche Wallace of Florida. “If I desire a product or service, I am quite capable of locating a provider. There should be a quick, easy, and obvious way to opt out of tracking.”

Jonathan Bernstein of Illinois wrote: “The most obvious thing to do would be to require any company that tracks any consumer to notify the consumer exactly who is tracking, what is being tracked, and where that data can be shared, each time the consumer logs onto a site that is party to tracking, either with a pop-up window or an email, in real-time at the point of tracking.”

The question, Whitener says, is how companies achieve meaningful notice and choice. “If the consumer has to dig through a long and jargon-filled privacy policy to learn how personal information is collected, how it’s used, and how to opt out of that collection and use, it’s not very meaningful,” Whitener says. “I like the ‘surprise minimization’ principle that California has endorsed: If consumer data is being collected and used in unexpected ways, the ad industry has an obligation to take extra steps to alert the consumer.”

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TIME Culture

Monica Lewinsky Slams a Society Where ‘Shame Is a Commodity’

Cannes Lions : Day Five
Marc Piasecki—Getty Images Monica Lewinsky attends the 'Cannes Lions Festival' on June 25, 2015 in Cannes, France.

Urges brands to help build a more "compassionate society"

Monica Lewinsky made a powerful speech at Cannes Lions festival conference Thursday about how public shaming, media and advertising are connected.

“The more we click on this kind of gossip, the more numb we get to the human life behind it,” she said, according to AdAge. “And the more numb we get, the more we click. All the while, someone is making money off of the back of another suffering.”

Lewinsky has re-emerged as a public figure two decades after she was thrust into the center of a media maelstrom over her affair with then-President Bill Clinton. In the last year, she’s come out as a vocal advocate of online compassion—she even gave a speech at TED2015 where she called herself “patient zero”of internet shaming.

“Violation of others is raw material, efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit,” she said Thursday at Cannes. “Whether tallied in dollars, clicks, likes, or just the perverse thrill of exposure, a marketplace has emerged where shame is a commodity, and public humiliation an industry.”

But Lewinsky was quick to add that her focus on shaming wasn’t an indictment of advertising—it was a call to action.

“Building a more compassionate society is going to be a bilateral exercise between individuals and the brands that represent their aspirations, their values and their truths. People make brands. If people are compassionate, brands will be compassionate in return.”

[AdAge]

MONEY Advertising

Watch: Shark TV Fest Hilariously Admits It’s a Blatant Shark Week Rip-Off

On “Ambush Alley,” a group of Black Tip Sharks swim just beneath the water's surface, South Africa.
Aquavision TV Productions—National Geographic Channels On the Nat Geo Wild show “Ambush Alley,” a group of Black Tip Sharks swim just beneath the water's surface, South Africa.

"It's the same friggin' sharks anyway."

The Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” has become a colossal event, not only in terms of being a ratings and marketing bonanza, but also in its role as the inspiration for a larger frenzy, so to speak, of shark-related merchandise, attractions, and entertainment.

Naturally, Discover Channel’s cable TV competitors have tried to get in on the sharktastic action with shark-related programming of their own. But no “Shark Week” imitator has done it quite as blatantly, or hilariously, as the Nat Geo Wild channel’s event dubbed “SharkFest,” which just so happens to kick off on Sunday, July 5, the same day as “Shark Week” begins.

AdWeek called attention to the new “SharkFest” promo, which features comedian Rory Scovel owning up to the way Nat Geo Wild is overtly trying to muddy the waters and steal “Shark Week’s” thunder. “We want you to confuse the two. And you will. And we don’t care—because it gets us ratings,” Scovel says. “We’re going to continue to do it” in the hopes that you “accidentally watch us.”

Most importantly, Scovel points out, viewers shouldn’t care whether they’re watching the sharks chomping seals and menacingly bumping up against shark cages on the Discovery Channel or Nat Geo Wild. “It’s the same friggin’ sharks anyways,” he says. “Sharks cannot sign an exclusive contract with a network … we’re pretty certain on that.”

Scovel then tosses out a couple awesomely lazy and honest slogans:

“SharkFest: Yeah, maybe it’s not our idea. Who cares? Just watch it.”

“SharkFest: It’s on the same time as the other thing. On Nat Geo Wild.”

Watch the whole promo here:

The ad isn’t just funny, though. It’s quite possibly brilliant. “The idea came up of being more transparent about viewer confusion during Shark Week. We thought it would be funny to own that and be playful with it,” Tyler Korba, Nat Geo Wild’s creative director for on-air marketing, explained at the PromaxBDA Brief blog. “If you can’t have fun doing TV, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Viewers are going to know the channel is ripping off “Shark Week,” so the thinking is it’s best to get that out of the way—and even poke fun at themselves. “It’s a little bit of aikido,” said Korba. “Once you’ve called it what it is, once you’ve owned it, you’ve turned a potentially awkward thing into a strength.”

TIME Advertising

This Site Is Running Facebook Ads About Creepy Facebook Ads

"They told us you're single in NYC"

When ad-free social network Ello launched last October, it got instant hype and attention as alternative to Facebook. At its peak — while still in invite-only beta — the site had 34,000 people requesting invitations per hour. It was growing so quickly that it was the victim of a cyberattack in its first weekend.

But as can happen with anything viral, Ello lost steam. And now the network that aims to challenge Facebook has launched a new ad campaign to reach more users—on Facebook.

Beginning Wednesday, Ello is running Facebook ads that target you based on your browsing history and other metrics that Facebook tracks. As a Mic story about the strategy points out, the advertisements “tell you what Facebook’s advertisers can learn about you.” If Facebook knows you’re single, you might see an Ello ad that says, with a person peering out from behind a window, “They told us you’re single in NYC.” Photography lovers could see one that reads, “Photography is better without ads.”

Ello.Ads.Press.Release_single

These creative promotions will pop up on Twitter and Tumblr soon as well—and on some physical billboards (remember those?).

In short, the ads are quite aggressive, but in a visually attractive, winking fashion. They hint, not so subtly, at abandoning Facebook, the very place where you’d be seeing these ads, in favor of free, cleaner, artsier pastures. Indeed, while Ello has lost some of its viral steam in the past months, it has continued to attract people from the design community. When CEO Paul Budnitz spoke to Fortune last year, he name-dropped accounts like those of Duane King and Greg Foley, both of whom almost exclusively post photographs or color schemes, as some of his favorite pages. If Ello remains a home just for the art-inclined, Budnitz and his colleagues have said, that’s fine by them.

“Ello’s not for everyone—that was never our intent,” Ello cofounder Todd Berger has posted to his own Ello page.

Ello.Ads.Press.Release_adult

Until now, Ello, which is a registered “benefit corporation,” has not spent money on advertising. But the company is beefing up its marketing. It also rolled out a mobile app in April and landed $5 million in new funding. Later this year, it reportedly plans a commerce offering wherein users will be able to sell items to their followers (think Etsy).

In recent interviews, Budnitz has tried to distance Ello from the label of an anti-Facebook network. But the new ads make their statement pretty clear: Facebook is creepy, and it isn’t free, and it isn’t pretty.

Ello.Ads.Press.Release_free

If it seems extremely ironic that a company seen as the anti-Facebook is advertising on Facebook, Budnitz told Mic that it’s simply a case of Ello utilizing the best outlet it has to reach new users. “Facebook is by far the best advertising platform ever invented,” he told the site. “I don’t think it’s a social network, but as an ad platform, I couldn’t ask for something better.”

TIME snapchat

Snapchat’s New Ad Agency Could Totally Own Millennials

Snapchat Raising Money That Could Value Company At Up To $19 Billion
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Could this be how to reach younger consumers?

We all know that companies are desperately trying to reach Millennials — and an ad agency’s partnership with Snapchat could finally help them do that.

Snapchat, the Silicon Valley startup that allows you to send pictures and have them quickly disappear, is working with ad agency WPP and The Daily Mail to form Truffle Pig, a content-marketing agency, reports Business Insider.

Truffle Pig will use Snapchat and other mediums to push social marketing. BI notes that all three companies own equity in the new group.

Snapchat’s unique hold among younger consumers will surely drive interest in the new project, as companies and brands look for new ways to reach a younger demographic.

TIME Advertising

1 in 5 Tinder Users Swipe Right on Brands

Tinder Plus Launch Party With Jason Derulo And ZEDD
Gabriel Olsen—FilmMagic Sean Rad arrives for the Tinder Plus Launch Party With Jason Derulo And ZEDD at Hangar 8 on June 17, 2015 in Santa Monica, California.

People really do love brands

Dating app Tinder is proving that people really do love brands — enough to “swipe right” to match with them 20% of the time, according to Tinder co-founder Sean Rad. Rad is courting advertisers at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this week as the company continues to build out its ad offerings, Advertising Week reports.

So far, Tinder has let brands create profiles on the app just as a human user would, paying to have it show up in users’ feed of potential suitors they endorse by swiping right, or reject by swiping left. Bud Light, the movie Spy, and Orbitz are among the earliest to advertise on the app.

“Users can match with these brands when they swipe right, and what we’ve seen sort of consistently when we’ve done this is an over 20% swipe right rate, which is amazing engagement,” Rad told Advertising Week.

Tinder also recently introduced another revenue source: Tinder Plus, a paid tier that offers features like the ability to “undo” swipes and to temporarily match with users in a different part of the world.

But the company also seems to have additional plans for its ad products, namely something to do with swiping up, a variant on Tinder’s signature side-swiping user interface. Rad revealed that the company is in the process of filing a patent for the swiping interface in any direction — including up/down — though he avoided answering questions as to what these new directions will be used for.

TIME Advertising

4 Times Brands Shamelessly Pandered to Millennials

How do you do, fellow kids?

General Motors on Monday issued a press release entirely in emoji. Will this get the kids to buy the 2016 Chevy Cruze? Who knows. But GM is hardly the first company to try to exploit Internet culture for its own branding gains among Millennials.

Here’s a few other times big companies have tried to get down with the kids, with varying degrees of success:

1. Volkswagen rides the “i” train

In 2012, German carmaker Volkswagen showed off the “iBeetle,” a version of its famous Beetle designed to work especially well with smartphones. Not only that, the car came with an app that sent “postcards” and kept track of “milestones,” like driving was playing Xbox and reaching 10,000 miles was the same as killing 10,000 bad guys in Call of Duty.

2. 7-11 wants hipsters to drink Slurpees

If you’ve ever been wandering the streets of Williamsburg looking for the best organic mustache wax, 7-11 thinks you’d like a Slurpee. Last year the convenience store chain put out plastic mason jars and straws with plastic mustaches. So put on some Mumford and Sons and get ready for a killer brain freeze.

3. Clorox wanted its own emoji

After Apple announced more racially diverse emoji earlier this year, Clorox responded by asking “Where’s the bleach?” The Internet thought this was a little weird, and regardless of intent, this was a dud.

4. The GOP courts hipsters, too

Ok, so this isn’t technically a company, but the Republican Party also tried to win over millennials, making commercials in which a hipster-looking 20-something explained why he’s a Republican. It was roundly mocked, most famously by John Oliver.

TIME facebook

How Facebook is Trying To Make Better Mobile Ads

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Watch your back, TV

Facebook has mobile mostly figured out. At the beginning of the year, the category generated nearly three-quarters of the social networking company’s advertising revenue. But Zuckerberg’s execs are betting there’s still plenty of room for growth.

Facebook is currently developing new ad formats for mobile devices that “it hopes will deliver more immersive experiences for customers and greater value for advertisers,” according to the Wall Street Journal. For example, a prototype of the new offering allows marketers “to create fully-branded, interactive destinations within the Facebook environment, featuring full-screen video, product information and other content.”

That’s beneficial to advertisers because many mobile ad formats don’t work well on smaller devices, especially those that are essentially sized-down version of their desktop equivalents.

“We’re trying to give marketers a canvas that’s more engaging,” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox told the Journal. “We’re working on creating things that seem weird at first, and then become invisible.”

The new ads may help Facebook keep users within its network, WSJ reporter Jack Marshall points out. The company could host content from marketers just as Facebook’s Instant Article program hosts content from media publishers, he writes.

On Tuesday, Cox will present the new ad format at the Cannes Lions ad festival in France. The company plans to work alongside advertisers, soliciting their input in order to perfect its product before taking it public. If successful, the strategy could help Facebook lure more advertising money away from TV and other venues.

MONEY Tech

Our National Robocalling Nightmare May Soon Be Over

robot using smartphone
iStock

Take that, spammers and robocallers!

In the phrase “unwanted robocall,” the word unwanted probably isn’t necessary. Is there any automated sales call that is actually wanted? Ever?

Earlier this year, 200,000 people signed a petition asking telecom companies to give customers the means to block commercial robocalls. They probably could have gotten tens of millions of such signatures with a little more time and outreach.

In any event, on Thursday, hallelujah, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a package that will make it much easier to put a stop to the extremely annoying and unwanted robocalls. The commission’s decision “affirmed consumers’ rights to control the calls they receive,” while also clarifying that it was fully legal for telephone companies to offer robocall-blocking technology to customers.

“Complaints related to unwanted calls are the largest category of complaints received by the Commission, numbering more than 215,000 in 2014,” an FCC statement explained. (The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, reportedly received an astounding 3 million complaints about robocalls in 2014.) The new rules are intended to address consumer concerns by “closing loopholes and strengthening consumer protections already on the books,” according to the FCC.

Despite heavy lobbying from multiple industries on the pro-robocall and pro-spam side, the FCC ruled to uphold and clarify the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, while also bolstering the protections offered by the Do Not Call Registry. Specifically, the package affirmed:

• Phone service providers can offer robocall-blocking technology to customers.

• Consumers can decide to opt out of robocalls at any time.

• The same protections and opt-out rights regarding telemarketing messages apply to text messages as well as calls to wireless and landline phones.

A group of consumer advocates jointly applauded the measure as soon as it was announced. “We applaud the FCC for holding the line to keep the plague of unwanted robocalls from becoming even worse,” said Susan Grant, director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America. “Since the FCC has now clarified that telephone companies can block these types of calls, we expect the companies to act quickly to implement blocking options for their customers.”

On the other hand, speaking on behalf of the business community, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that the FCC’s move could lead to more class-action lawsuits against companies, which would “likely lead to increased costs for consumers.”

Or perhaps businesses could simply stop robocalling and avoid lawsuits entirely.

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