Social ties: behavioral targeting under the scrutiny of legislators | Morrison & Foerster LLP – Social Media


Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to target social media platforms that collect and use personal information that creates algorithms to target individuals across a variety of dimensions when users interact with these platforms, primarily in the form advertisements and other promotional campaigns for the policy. , entertainment and commercial areas.

The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, introduced in January by Democratic Representatives Anna Eshoo (California) and Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Democratic Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey), aims to prevent advertisers, ad networks and other entities from use personal information. received from third parties to target advertisements. As Media Post reports, “The bill states that personal information includes data that is ‘reasonably linked’ to an individual or device, including inferred data, browsing activity and unique identifiers.”

What makes this bill different from previous privacy bills is that it deviates from the requirement of user consent or the ability for a user to opt out. behavioral targeting. The bill would still allow contextual advertising, which generally refers to advertisements based on information displayed on a particular screen or sought by the individual. But this would prohibit using the collected information for contextual advertising purposes for further targeting in other forums or contexts. The bill would also not restrict certain types of targeted location-based advertising. In addition, the bill would prohibit targeting real or perceived information about a user’s race, national origin, religion, gender, disability or other protected status.

The tech and advertising sectors were quick with their comments on the bill. Learn more about the following:

Like COVID variants, misinformation in social media is increasing

Recent studies have shown a sharp increase in misinformation spread by online gangs and other groups responsible for Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB). These movements continue to spread conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination rhetoric, and often use bullying tactics to harass and intimidate influencers, health officials, and journalists who oppose their alternative views. Many believe these actors cause more harm than government-backed groups, given their ability to infiltrate social media platforms and the difficulty of regulating their informal tactics.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, recently banned conflicting pages associated with a European anti-vaccination movement called “Viral Vendetta” or “V_V,” as this report by Graphika explains.

As Axios recently reported, “Loosely organized activist movements can be more dangerous than robot-led campaigns that are often backed by state or government actors, because they connect people in the real world who can encourage each other to take action. more drastic measures, according to Bryce Webster-Jacobsen, director of intelligence operations at GroupSense, a threat intelligence firm.

According to Meta, the company has now taken swift action against two tactics used by these alternative players:

  • Clamping: We will remove any adversarial networks we find where people work together to mass comment, mass post, or engage in other types of repetitive mass behavior to harass or silence others.
  • Mass ratios: We will remove any adversarial networks we find where people work together to mass report an account or content to be removed from our platform in error.

A growing number of American adults support social media regulation

A recent study by Morning Consult reported that 56% of American adults support government regulation of social media companies. This study also indicated that about three in five American adults do not believe that social media platforms go far enough to keep their users safe.

The year 2021 has seen a surge in governmental and general societal scrutiny of social media platforms and the roles they play – or don’t play – in various societal, governmental and political arenas.

But how to address the myriad issues that policymakers and the public are raising about social media remains elusive, given the massive role it plays in society.

As Ashley Johnson, senior policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, noted in a report that accompanied the Morning Consult survey, “I think if there is legislation, it will be very broad, so to try to compromise and to break this very big gap between the two parties.

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