Algorithmic Accountability and Privacy – Inside PR 543

This week, we consider the implications of an Algorithmic Accountability Act, rebalancing the freedom of companies to capture and use our data with our right to informed consent. Plus: Protect your privacy against hidden cameras during your next business trip.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Algorithmic Accountability and Privacy – Inside PR 543 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Welcome Dan York – Inside PR 542

Dan York joins the IPR Team

We have big news this week: Dan York is joining the Inside PR team. Dan is well known to Inside PR listeners for his tech segments on Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson’s FIR podcast. And, if you didn’t know, his day job is as Director, Web Strategy, at the Internet Society.

Gini, Joe and Martin are big fans of Dan’s reports. He provides a perspective that combines expertise in communications and marketing with strong technology underpinnings. When Shel and Neville announced that FIR would be moving to a monthly format, Gini, Joe and Martin immediately put out a call to Dan to ask if he would be willing to contribute to IPR on the other three weeks of the month. And, happily, Dan said yes. So, you may hear Dan less often on FIR (and we encourage you to listen to FIR monthly), you’ll be able to hear him the rest of the time on Inside PR.

So, that leads us to this week’s debut of Dan’s Two Minutes of Tech for Communicators segment. We know he’s going to teach us a lot.

Tell your friends. There’s another reason to listen to the Inside PR podcast – and his name is York. Dan York.

A digital charter for Canada

Canada has long taken privacy and consumer rights seriously. And as public concern about the unseen use of our personal by social networks data increased following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, calls for change have mounted. Now, the Government of Canada has made its next move with the announcement of a Digital Charter for Canada. While the Charter sums up established values and points to aspirational goals, it also takes two real steps toward action with references to Canada’s Privacy Commissioner and Competition Bureau. Both have regulatory muscle that they could flex in the near term. And both are in a position to scrutinize the social networks.

Europe, California, and now Canada. Momentum to reign in the previously underscrutinzed use of our data by the social networks is gaining momentum.

We really never are alone

As if we needed another reminder of where the early optimism of the open web and the social graph has taken us, the New York Times offers a thought provoking look at our relationship with Google.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Welcome Dan York – Inside PR 542 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman, Dan York is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Gain a point. Lose a point. – Inside PR 541

A change of pace for FIR

The FIR Podcast is one of the longest continually-produced podcasts for communications pros. Since 2005, Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson have been providing insight into the communications trends and developments that are important to communications practitioners.

But now they are dialing back their production schedule to once a month. And as podcast producers who have followed in their footsteps, we’re glad that they are continuing. Because if you are a communications pro, you’re sure to learn something useful with each and every FIR podcast.

So, kudos Shel and Neville for finding a way to keep it going and keep it fresh.

GarageBand: Creating dreams

It’s been fifteen years since Apple first offered GarageBand with Macs. Since then, it’s become available for PCs and iOS as well. And that means there’s a whole generation of musicians and podcasters who have brought their ideas to life using Apple’s free software. In fact, we use GarageBand to mix and produce the Inside PR podcast. And it couldn’t be easier to do, thanks to the simple, intuitive interface.

So, here’s to GarageBand. And here’s to the community of creators who have grown up around it. And here’s to Apple for giving us this incredibly useful software.

You’re just not important enough for us to take action

The abuse of social media by foreign or malevolent agents is not just confined to the United States. It is a global problem. But that doesn’t mean that the social and search platforms are giving it the same attention in countries other than the United States. Indeed, you need look no farther than across the border to the north to Canada to see Facebook and Google taking very different approaches to the responsibility that national legislators and regulators say they should take on. In this tally, Facebook gains a point. Google loses a point.

If you’re not part of the solution

Facebook’s local news support project, Today In, underlines the news deserts that have been created by the diminution out of the display ad economy that local newspapers relied on. And in doing so, it drives home that the social and search platforms efforts to “support” journalism are not adequately addressing the problems they have created. It’s time for radically different thinking.

Gini is on holiday this week. So, Joe and Martin are alone together.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 541: Gain a Point. Lose a Point. by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

When “Private” doesn’t yield “Privacy” – Inside PR 540


Is Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of privacy your concept of privacy? Probably not. And this week we discuss Zuckerberg’s ongoing repositioning of Facebook as “private.”

One more thing: Thank you to Emma Haddad for including Inside PR in her list of podcasts PR pros should listen to.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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When “Private” doesn’t lead to “Privacy” – Inside PR 540 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Google takes a pass on election advertising in Canada – IPR 539

Google takes a pass on carrying political advertising in Canada. And there are reports that Cision is up for sale.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Google Takes a Pass on Election Advertising in Canada – Inside PR 539 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Roger McNamee is Zucked – IPR 538

This week, we take a deep dive into Roger McNamee‘s Zucked. McNamee, an early investor in Facebook and an erstwhile advisor to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg has provided us with an insightful consideration of how Facebook and social media have changed over time. It is an account that throws light on questions of responsibility and accountability. And while it pulls no punches, it also presents a vision of what might be done to create a healthier relationship between the giant entities that dominate search, social and tech.

This should be a a must-read for anyone who deals with social media and search, with marketing and online advertising, with community building.

Also, on this week’s show, we pay tribute to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson’s FIR Podcast, which just hit the 1,000 episode mark. Sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and now monthly, Shel and Neville are the seminal PR podcasters. And they’re still going strong and providing insight that we can’t do without. Keep it up guys.

Finally, a shoutout to Martin on the completion of an important milestone. Huzzah Martin!

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Roger McNamee is Zucked – Inside PR 538 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

As radio fades, can podcasting survive the attention of advertisers? – IPR 537

Joe had a moment of surprise when he realized that, not only does he no longer listens to radio, he doesn’t even own a radio! Over the past few years, he had transferred his listening time from linear radio to on-demand podcasts. And he hadn’t even noticed the shift in his media consumption – until his wife threw out the last radio in their house.

A recent report out of the UK suggests that Joe isn’t alone:

Since 2010, around 840,000 15 to 24-year-olds have switched off for good, according to research from Enders Analysis. And among the 6.5 million or so who do still tune in, the amount of time they spend listening has plummeted 29% between 2010 and 2018.


Both Martin and Gini also have noticed a shift in their media consumption. Not just one that adds to their daily information diet. But a shift that has replaced one medium with another.

So, if podcasting is constituting a greater portion of many people’s media consumption, you just know that advertisers are eyeing it and entrepreneurs are looking to provide them with a new medium to reach consumers. We’ve seen Spotify’s big move, acquiring Gimlet and Anchor. This is unlikely to be the last move of this sort.

As others follow, what does that mean for the open podcasting system that has let enthusiast and professional podcasters coexist? Will services like Spotify start to push the enthusiasts off to the side, out of sight, as they promote their own professionally produced podcasts so that they can maximize revenue? Sound familiar? Substitute the words blog and Facebook for podcasts and Spotify.

So, is this the end? Not necessarily. It may be possible for two systems of podcasting to existing together, thanks to things like Patreon, which didn’t exist during the rise of Facebook and the decline of blogs, along with membership-oriented initiatives life that being advanced by outlets like Slate.

If you’re a listener to Inside PR, it’s probable that you too have made room for podcasting by reducing your consumption of other media. Have you done this consciously or has it crept up on you. Do you see a future for enthusiast podcasts like Inside PR — or will we soon go the way of MySpace?

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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As radio fades, can podcasting survive the attention of advertisers? – IPR 537 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

As newsrooms disappear… IPR 536

We have our own news to break on this week’s Inside PR. Gini and Martin are going to be working together. Martin has joined the Spin Sucks team. Gini has been building Spin Sucks as a community for a decade – and growth has reached the point in which she needs help leading the content team. Enter Martin. Gini and Martin talk about the Spin Sucks editorial approach, in which Joe hears some traits of Jay Rosen’s community-interest-driven alternative model for journalism. We also talk about the role of the Spin Sucks Slack community.

We also talk about the acceleration of job losses in journalism. In one way, it might be like that old saying that, “I went broke very slowly for a long time, and then very quickly very suddenly.” So, there’s no doubt that the journalism job losses this year have been massive. But even more remarkable is where most of those losses have been this year — in digital media. Digital media, which only a couple years ago many investors and entrepreneurs were betting on as the platform that would replace traditional media. Clearly, online journalism has proven no less immune to the hoovering of advertising support by Google and Facebook. So, in 2019, we’re still waiting for the new model that will save journalism as we know it.

And talking about PR in a world of disappearing and shrinking newsrooms, Martin and Gini argue that PR pros must stay true to the core value of relationships while making the search for the new influencers and news brokers with whom they must establish working relationships.

Having said that, are we in a world in which we are playing for time. Do we need to find a new core to PR to replace the central role that media relations once played. At one time, we thought it would be social media. But that has fragmented. And it seems that the pace of change is accelerating. So, we continue the search for the next key leverage point.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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As newsrooms disappear… by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Data Laundering the Facebook Way – Inside PR 535

In late January, Facebook launched a PR initiative that, on its face, appeared intended to reframe in 2019 the issues that got away from them in 2018, AKA Facebook’s privacy offences that dominated the year since the Cambridge Analytica scandal became public. This week on Inside PR, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley talk about this first phase of what by late February was unmistakably a concerted effort by Facebook to reframe the issues swirling around it.

Martin doesn’t buy Facebook’s argument that we are getting Facebook’s service for free? Not for a second. We’re paying — and the currency is our data. Gini argues that we are the product when it comes to social media. However, she accepts Facebook’s argument that they are not selling our data. Instead, she focuses on the need for each of us to make our own calculation about whether what we receive is a fair exchange for our attention and what Facebook learns about us. And Joe? Well he’s not buying Facebook’s arguments that they don’t sell our data. They do sell the intelligence and insight that comes from possessing our data. And, as far as he’s concerned that makes them “Data Launderers,” the digital equivalent of money launderers.

Martin picks up on this and says that we can see Facebook as not necessarily selling the data, but being the agent by which our data is used and obtains the value of using it. And they can do this because they are so big. Perhaps too big. And, says Martin, all you have to do is look at what Facebook is doing with WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram — rolling up the data each has about us. Different data from what we view as different platforms gives them an even more granular portrait of us that they can draw on to the benefit of advertisers. What of the trust we established with these platforms when they gave us the reassurance of remaining discrete and protecting us from being rolled into an even bigger data bank?

Gini brings it back to a pragmatic reality. Facebook has become so effective, so pervasive, so dominant, can an advertiser ignore them? And that leads us to accept their assertions of good intent.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Data Laundering the Facebook Way – Inside PR 535 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Know your ISP knows if you know what it knows about you. – Inside PR 534

This week on Inside PR, we talk about the creep factor in social media and the need for us to be aware of the use of our data and to demand control back from the social platforms.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Know your ISP knows if you know what it knows about you. – Inside PR 534 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.