New Privacy and Russia Hacking Concerns Roil Online Businesses



Silver Beacon Marketing’s Weekly Briefing


Good morning. It’s Monday, October 9. This day is still called Columbus Day on federal calendars. There is no regular mail delivery and some big banks are closed. FDR created Columbus Day in the late 1930s, and there is a big movement to rename or abolish the well-intentioned but historically inaccurate holiday. Time has a good article on the controversy.


  • The Russian political ads that ran on Facebook were divisive at best.
  • Yahoo admits that all customers were hacked in 2013, not just a third of them.
  • Maybe you’ll use Walmart and Amazon for mail next year. We’ll explain below.

Questions or comments?  Click the green button below & write George.

We continue discovering the bad things that happened to our privacy because of data breaches over the last several years. 

That includes Yahoo (now a part of Verizon-owned Oath) admitting that all 3 billion user accounts were compromised in 2013 instead of the 1 billion previously claimed. The breach is four years old so there is little if anything you can do now to protect your privacy from that.

We’ve also learned that the and Kickstarter website breaches of 15 million records are now available on black markets. Lifehacker has more info at the link below.

And we’ve been telling you how the Trump administration’s FCC guidance regarding privacy has been to allow Internet companies to sell your browsing data. Google announced this week to publishers that it is testing Insight Engine, a new service that “will include age, gender, relevant search history, shopping history and what visitors seem in the market to buy”.

Learn more: NPR coverage of Yahoo, Lifehacker on data availability, AdAge on Google selling data

Facebook sent Congressional investigators more than 3,000 ads that it says were purchased by Russian organizations in 2016. The post on the left, featuring a hoax image of Hillary Clinton and Osama bin Laden, is reportedly typical of the content. Ads included doctored images of Secretary Clinton in a jail cell and images that sought to exacerbate racial and other divides.

Facebook is now warning advertisers that approval for political and advocacy ads will be delayed by human reviews.

We’re also learning that antivirus software maker Kaspersky may have assisted the Russian government in obtaining classified information from an NSA contractor’s home computer. We warned readers about Kaspersky last month and suggested they use alternatives like AVG or BitDefender. We’ve got a link below from Ars Technica quoting the original article in the Wall Street Journal, which is only available to subscribers.

Learn more: Faked Facebook postsRussian anti-virus software, Facebook’s comments

Walmart and Amazon traded punches again this week in their battle for 21st century marketplace dominance. Walmart bought Parcel, a logistics company that delivers in 2 hour windows and integrates with smartphone apps.

That move comes on the heels of media reports that Amazon is testing a program called Seller Flex that will compete with UPS and FedEx for the company’s business. Amazon accounts for 5%-10% of UPS revenue and “less than 3%” of FedEx revenue.

Remember that Amazon’s most profitable business is AWS, its web-services division which generated $4 billion in revenue and a 25% profit margin in the second quarter. AWS began as an ancillary service reselling Amazon’s scalable computing services. There’s no reason why the same can’t be true of an Amazon delivery service.

And Amazon announced Friday that AWS will be General Electric’s preferred cloud service provider.

Learn more: Walmart’s Parcel announcement, AdAge on Amazon delivery, Amazon GE announcement

Spotlight Headlines

  • Google search results for movies and television will begin showing audience reviews as the search engine looks for unique data to display.
  • Squaring off against Google, Facebook announced it will expand its use of Wikipedia information throughout the site.
  • Puerto Rico may get cell service back faster thanks to permission granted to Google to launch its large scale Project Loon balloons carrying tech equipment overhead.
  • But the communications world also got word of a loss this week: AOL’s famous AIM chat service will close on December 15, twenty years after its launch.
  • Remember when we told you that Amazon was testing a personal clothing service? They just bought Body Labs, a company that makes 3D images of people so they can try on clothes via computer images.

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