News Briefs September 2019

267
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Texas Border Business

Google’s YouTube to pay $170 million penalty for collecting data on kids

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Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), and its YouTube video service will pay $170 million to settle allegations that it broke federal law by collecting personal information about children, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday. YouTube had been accused of tracking viewers of children’s channels using cookies without parental consent and using those cookies to target millions of dollars in advertisements to those viewers.  The settlement with the FTC and the New York attorney general’s office, which will receive $34 million, is the largest since a law banning collecting information about children under age 13 came into effect in 1998. The law was revised in 2013 to include “cookies,” used to track a person’s internet viewing habits. Source: Reuters

Gold could soar to its highest level since 2013 if the Fed keeps cutting rates, economist says

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Gold could soar above $1,600 per ounce — its highest level since 2013 — next year if the Federal Reserve continues to lower interest rates, according to BNP Paribas. It would be the third key psychological level the metal has breached in a year: it edged over $1,400 in July and $1,500 in August. “Gold nudged up on the latest tit-for-tat US-China trade measures and is looking to move higher with more Fed rate cuts,” Harry Tchilinguirian, an economist at BNP Paribas, wrote in a note Wednesday. Gold, long known as a safe-haven asset, has spiked this year as global uncertainty has pushed investors out of riskier assets like stocks. Other safe-haven assets have also rallied. A bond rally has pushed US Treasury yields to new lows, and even the US Dollar has maintained its strength amidst market volatility. Source: Business Insider 

Under the Influence: Influencer Marketing

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Instagram recently announced a new way companies can reach potential customers: branded content ads. The advertising technique will amplify the already profound effect of influencer marketing, in which content creators advocate for brands on their social media channels. In the case of branded content ads, a company will send sample products to an Instagram user with a large following, who then features the product in a post. The extra layer comes when the company then repurposes the post as an advertisement. It’s the latest development in the brave new world of social media marketing. Not that it’s new for a company to borrow goodwill by associating with a personality; after all, celebrities have been loaning their coolness capital to brands for decades. But the age of social media has opened up the territory of endorsements to “real people” with engaged followers.  Source: Newswise 

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The future of retail, mobile, online & digital-only banking technology

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The digital age is changing how people interact and do business on a day-to-day basis, and technological advancements are continuing to influence the future of banking around the world. An increasing demand for a digital banking experience from millennials and Gen Zers is transforming how the entire banking industry operates. From retail and mobile banking, to neobank startups, technology has its hand in seemingly every aspect of the banking industry; and, the influence of technology will continue to launch banking into a digitized future. Consumers can already see AI being used by most banks through chatbots in the front office. Banks are using AI to smooth customer identification and authentication, while also mimicking live employees through chatbots and voice assistants. With so many different facets of the banking industry undergoing change, it’s crucial for those connected to the banking industry to be informed and stay ahead. Source: Business Insider 

Facebook brings face recognition to all users, discontinues ‘Tag Suggestions’

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Facebook Inc is opening up its face recognition technology to all users with an option to opt out, the social media company said on Tuesday, as it discontinued a related feature called “Tag Suggestions.” The old feature enabled users to choose whether Facebook could suggest that their friends tag them in photos, without giving them control over other uses of the technology. The face recognition setting, available to some Facebook users since December 2017, has additional functions such as notifying account holders if their profile photo is used by someone else. People who opt in to the new setting will still have tag suggestions automatically generated about them. Facebook’s face recognition technology has been at the center of a privacy related lawsuit since 2015. Source: Reuters

U.S. government gives states nearly $2 billion to combat opioid crisis

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it will offer states more than $1.8 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic. The funds will be used for expanding access to treatments for opioid overdosing and to gather case data from across states, the HHS said.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will spend $900 million over three years – about $301 million in the first year – to help states and territories track overdose data as closely as possible, the HHS said in a statement. Meanwhile, HHS unit Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is awarding about $932 million to support prevention, treatment and recovery services. Prescription opioid pain treatments and drugs like heroin and the more potent fentanyl were responsible for 47,600 U.S. deaths in 2017, according to the government, with only a small decline last year. Source: Reuters 

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