This week was dominated by the end of year reports and Apple coming down on Facebook and Google.
Apple blocked Facebook and Google from running internal iOS apps
Apple revoked Facebook's and Google's iOS enterprise app certificates for violating its Terms of Service. The shutdown is a response to news that Facebook has been using Apple’s enterprise app program for internal app distribution to track teenage customers with a “research” app.
Later it was clear that both Google and Facebook had built apps on Apple's enterprise app program that collected data in dubious ways from users, and that both companies were caught distributing these apps to research participants outside the company. Apple said that "Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked."
It's a big deal to have your enterprise app certificate revoked. It powers both a company's internal-only iOS apps and all beta apps that many employees are running. It is unclear what Facebook and Google are expected to do to remedy the situation.
Social media has created an increased demand for exotic pets
Cute otters, red foxes, mountain lions, racoons - the list is long. Parrots are among the most threatened groups of birds, but a few years ago the African grey parrot, was one of the species found all over the internet. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become conduits for black-market trade of animals.
Animals online are big business. Having a dog influencer promote your brand creates 80% more comments and almost 30% more engagement than humans doing it, according to Kyla Brennan, CEO of animal-influencer marketing agency WAGSociety.
However, exotic animals are often illegal for a good reason, and the social media popularity of exotic animals has made them harder to protect and fuels an industry that’s frequently harmful to human and animal participants alike.
The Japanese government peacefully hack into hundreds of millions of IoT devices
In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Japanese government plans to hack into 200 million Internet of Things devices.
The goal with the hacking spree is to demonstrate how vulnerable embedded devices are to attack, most often because of weak - or nonexistent - login credentials, difficulty with patching, and overly trusting relationships between devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
At one point during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics hackers, including Russian state-sponsored attackers, targeted and took down the Wi-Fi and database systems. Internet of Things device insecurity is a significant problem with no easy solution — the dedication from the Japanese government to call attention to the issue is questionable but admirable.
Google, Amazon and Facebook ad sales – the 2018 numbers are in
Google Shopping ads are increasingly popular, with a 42% year over year growth in Q4, according to a report from the performance marketing agency Merkle. This is the highest growth rate for Google Shopping ads since mid-2016. Google Shopping ads accounted for 63% of all Google search ad clicks, for retailers, an all-time high.
Amazon can also report substantial growth in ad sales. Amazon’s ad business topped $10 billion for the year, a 95% increase from 2017. Also, after a scandalous year, Facebook’s 2018 Q4 earnings report showed ad profits did not suffer. Facebook said advertising revenue was $16.6 billion, up 30% year-over-year. Facebook said the average price per ad decreased 2% in the fourth quarter, with the number of ad impressions served across its platforms up 34%.
Tool of the week: Arc
Arc is a neat little tool that connects Google Analytics with Slack. You get your most important Google Analytics data posted to a Slack channel of choice at a daily, weekly or monthly frequency. Arc is perfect for organisations that want to keep track of their Google Analytics data close, but lack the analytics savvy users.
Arc packages critical insights into a couple of sentences easy enough for everyone in your team to understand. It's a nifty way to get more team members curious about data and engaged in impacting numbers, without having to learn Google Analytics to get started.
It's super simple to connect, and you can try it out with one free connector before you go bananas and connect everything.
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