This week in digital is action packed! With influencer marketing FTC guidelines, impact of AI on news publishing and moderation, and several client vertical updates, this is a (self-reported) top-five update.  

New FTC guidelines have been released on how influencers should disclose paid posts. The FTC sent an initial round of warnings in April to influencers who were not compliant. Another round of letters was recently sent to ask influencers to identify any connections they have to brands. The FTC guidelines can be summed up in four recommendations:

  1. Clearly disclose when you have a financial or family relationship with a brand
  2. Don’t assume that using a platform’s disclosure tool is sufficient
  3. Avoid ambiguous disclosures like #thanks, #collab, #sp, #spon, or #ambassador
  4. Don’t rely on a disclosure placed after a Click More link or in another easy-to-miss location

Facebook reveals new brand safety standards to block ads serving on fake news and on offensive videos in response to advertiser fears of being paired with content that wouldn’t reflect well on their brands, which is largely inspired by Google’s YouTube controversy from earlier this year. The new guidelines apply to publishers that want to run ads on their content and require that they provide authentic proof that they are who they represent themselves to be and have had a Facebook profile or page for at least one month, among other criteria. Publishers that share clickbait or sensationalism, or post false news are ineligible to show Facebook ads.

Washington Post has a robot reporter that has published 850 articles in the past year. The artificial intelligence technology is called Heliograf, and has been around since 2016 when it was used to cover short reports and alerts on the Rio Olympics. Since then, it’s been used to cover congressional and gubernatorial races on Election Day and DC area high school football games. Here’s an example.

New York Times uses AI and bots to moderate comments on the enabling commenting features on articles to increase from 10% to 25%, with a goal of reaching 80%. The bot solves the need to have manpower manually moderate comments.

TV ad updates inspired by digital. Overall there are less 30-second spots in 2017 and more 15-second spots than there were in 2014 (61% of ads were 30-seconds in 2014, now 49%). In fact, Fox is testing 6-second spots during NFL games during pauses in the action and drawing inspiration from digital and social video. Amazon is upping the game by offering in-store attribution (telling marketers if people bought stuff after seeing the ad) for video advertisements that will air during their original content series.

Pew Research reports that two-thirds (67%) of U.S. adults report getting at least some of their news on social media, while a fifth (20%) report doing so “often.”

Vertical updates:


Have a great Friday!