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1. GDPR, the law on data protection and privacy for individuals in the European Union, goes into effect

As you may have noticed from the e-mails flooding your personal inbox, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the Europe Union at the end of May. The new law requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of people for transactions that occur within the EU, and also regulates the exportation of personal data outside of the EU. Organizations that fail to meet the GDPR obligation could be fined up to €20 million €20 million ($US$23.3 million) or 4% of their annual turnover (whichever one is bigger). Thus far, Facebook and Google have been hit with a lawsuit, which seeks to fine the companies €3.9 billion and €3.7 billion respectfully (approximately $8.8 billion).

Implications: GDPR is one of the most rigorous data protection laws to date, giving greater rights to individuals over how their data is used. The new regulation holds businesses, especially those undergoing digital transformation, more accountable for monitoring and protecting data.

2. Facebook releases new rules for ads with political content and tests ads in Stories
Facebook released new rules for ads containing political content to prevent abuse, especially during elections, across a number of its platforms. Going forward, all election-related and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. must be clearly labelled with a “Paid for by” disclosure. If a user clicks on the label, they will be taken to a publicly searchable archive with more information on the campaign budget and the number of people who saw it – including their age, location, and gender. The new political content rules also apply for ads that cover “National issues of public importance” (i.e. education, health, military and values) and could impact non-candidate advertising. Facebook also reported that it will start testing 5-to-15 second, skippable videos ads in Facebook Stories.

Implications: It is important that advertisers speak to their Facebook leads to understand the impact of the new content rules on their client’s media investment. As for Stories, the format is growing 15 times faster than feed posts and is projected to surpass feed sharing. By embracing evolving user behavior on the platform, Facebook is looking to enhance its business.

3. Amazon to open an Indie Beauty Shop
Amazon announced that it will launch an Indie Beauty Shop this month. The new marketplace will give users the opportunity to find unique products (across skincare, men’s grooming and makeup) before they reach a wider audience. The brands offered on Amazon’s new platform must be at least 50 percent owned by an independent operator and not be sold at major retail stores, such as Ultra, Target, or Walmart.

Implications: The new platform’s semi-exclusive feel will help Amazon target the modern beauty world, while allowing smaller players to compete with big brands. However, it is unclear how the new marketplace will address existing hurdles for beauty shoppers on Amazon (i.e. fake reviews, counterfeits and being unable to gauge the shades of makeup products, like foundation and eye shadow, via a computer screen)

4. Microsoft announces a new Xbox Adaptive Controller for players with disabilities
Microsoft has announced a new controller for people with limited mobility, called the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The device has two large buttons and 19 jacks, which connect to external switches, buttons, mounts and joysticks to make it easier for more people to play games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. The customizable controller will go on sale later this year for $99.99.

Implications: From Facebook’s Automatic Alt Text for the blind, to the Apple Watch tracking everyday movements for wheelchair users, the technology industry is increasing its attention on accessibility. The Xbox Adaptive Controller device is a great example of inclusive design and delivers on Microsoft’s commitment to harness technology to create opportunities and assist people with disabilities with work, life, and human connections.

5: Mary Meeker’s internet trends report was published earlier this month. She is an influential American venture capitalist and former Wall Street securities analyst who primarily works on new technologies. You can find the video here and slides here.