Ad Transparency Report: X Fails, Apple & Google Must Improve

On April 17th, Mozilla and the Finnish research company CheckFirst released a report this Tuesday, stating that tech companies such as Apple, Google, TikTok, and X have not provided sufficient transparency tools for advertising, leaving room for false information and manipulative behavior.

Ad Transparency Report

The research group evaluated the transparency tools of companies like Apple and Google comprehensively from December 2023 to January 2024 based on over 20 parameters including functionality, data accessibility, and accuracy.

The investigation found that X platform had the worst transparency, with related data only accessible through slow-loading CVS files and lacking a user-friendly web interface. Furthermore, the platform also exhibited significant deficiencies in target parameters and recipient data, further highlighting the need for improvement.

The report praised Apple for providing an API for free and offering a fairly reliable search function in its data repository. Users can search using keywords, advertisers, date ranges, etc. However, this feature is only available in English. The researchers also noted that Apple lacked information on useful aspects like research and engagement.

Ad Transparency Report

The research suggests that Apple should provide users with more information, including full disclosure of ads and ad entities, as well as detailed information on micro-targeting strategies and funding sources. It also recommends Apple to include tooltips and help sections to assist users in understanding the content they are viewing.

Apple currently provides one year of historical ad data, but researchers hope to extend this to at least ten years.

Researchers propose to lift intellectual property restrictions, simplify the registration process for advertising resource library APIs, and allow users free access to data. They also suggest that the design of application interfaces should follow universally adopted standards rather than niche solutions.

Finally, the report includes recommendations for regulatory bodies. It calls on the European Commission and the Digital Services Coordinating Committee to establish advertising repository guidance principles and impose stricter guidelines for brands, sponsors, or paid influencers’ content.

[Source: IT Home]

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