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Was AdChoices Just Flipped the (Twitter)Bird on Behavioral Targeting?




by:
Sheppard Mullin Richter Hampton LLP - Los Angeles Office

 
August 8, 2013

Previously published on August 7, 2013

It appears that users won’t be seeing the blue AdChoices triangle icon on Twitter anytime soon. AdChoices and its blue triangle icon are the work of the Digital Advertising Alliance (a consortium of trade groups) to provide users with disclosure of and the ability to opt out of targeted behavioral advertising (e.g. ads based on websites visited). This industry self-regulatory option was intended to be a broad and unifying option to stave off governmental regulation.

Recently Twitter began allowing promoted tweets to be targeted based on users’ individual browsing activity. But Twitter has opted for its own opt out structure utilizing user controlled browser settings rather than the advertising industry’s AdChoices blue triangle. The Twitter process does work, and is easy to use if one is aware of it. But can AdChoices survive or become a viable industry standard with the desired effect of creating cohesive industry self-regulation when a major platform player like Twitter chooses not to participate? Even if the browser model for opting out becomes the dominant self-regulatory model, does this schism make governmental regulation more likely because the browser option doesn’t have the obvious user interface that the blue triangle does? Another VHS vs. Betamax or Blu Ray vs. HD DVD?

Facebook did not initially utilize AdChoices for certain targeted advertising products, but subsequently became fully compliant with AdChoices. Will Twitter do the same? Company statements suggest it won’t, but time will tell.



 

The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.
 

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