The Stack: Google and Apple face tracking claims, Ofcom target algorithms

This week: Both Google and Apple are dealing with allegations of tracking mobile users without permission, Ofcom’s chief executive says social media companies could be forced to disclose their algorithms…

This week has seen more issues across the board for Big Tech. After losing top research manager Srinivasan Venkatachary to GoogleApple was sued for iPhone user tracking claims who had disabled tracking in their settings. Google’s win was tempered by their own follow-up case, which settled with the Alphabet-owned company pay more than £390m to resolve complaints.

Elsewhere, Amazon has joined the list of big tech companies that have announced massive job cuts, with plans to lay off 10,000 employees after “overhiring” during the pandemic, and Meta has definitely shelved its portal and smartwatch projects. However, if all this sounds bad, have a thought (or not) for Twitter, which has seen several privacy officers are abandoning ship and could head down the messy road to bankruptcy.

Belts appear to be tightening in APAC, with Alibaba exceptionally silent approach to their performance for singles day possibly indicating a slowdown in retail growth. Chinese Titan Companion Tencent has sold most of its stake in food delivery company Meituan in what some analysts have seen as an attempt to hedge against economic headwinds, headwinds which Deliveroo cites as the reason for their withdrawal from the Australian market. Back in the UK, Ofcom’s chief executive warned that social platforms may be forced to open up their newsfeed algorithms under review because she fears the impact that curated content has on the well-being of users.

Better news has surfaced from agency lands, with S4 Capital posts 29% like-for-like revenue growth. This week also saw the announcement that the digital marketing agency Incubeta will be acquired by Carlylea move that could help advance the company’s global growth ambitions.

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Sharon D. Cole