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Digital Digest – 14 May

In this week’s Digital Digest, we look closer to home as the Government bans unhealthy food and drink advertising pre-watershed and ITV launches a campaign to showcase its drama and reality programming.

We then shine a light on big tech, as Starbucks threatens to leave Facebook, TikTok is taken to court over the use of children’s data, and Germany bans Facebook from accessing WhatsApp data.

Finally, we look to North America, and the battle between Canada and the USA to attract top tech talent.


‘Dismay’ at Govt Go-Ahead for HFSS Ad Restrictions for TV and Online

Advertisers and industry heads have reacted with “dismay” to the UK government’s announcement that it plans to press ahead with an advertising ban for food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) completely online and before the 9pm watershed on TV.

The Department for Health and Social Care ran a rapid consultation for six weeks to try and understand the impact of introducing a total ban on online HFSS advertising.

Experts have warned of the financial impact of HFSS restrictions on media owners. In ITV’s latest annual report, it predicted a 4% decline in ad sales from 2023 – equivalent to about £65m a year – should a ban on HFSS come into force.

ITV’s drama and reality stars go head-to-head in new brand campaign

ITV has kicked off a new brand campaign to showcase its smorgasbord of drama and reality shows. The campaign was created with Uncommon Creative Studio and shot by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables), whose credits also include classic ITV crime drama Prime Suspect.

Nils Leonard, co-founder at Uncommon, said: “ITV are unique – they are the only place to bring together epic British drama and ferocious reality in one place on the ITV Hub.

The campaign is set to follow with another battle between ITV drama and reality TV stars launching next week.


Starbucks considers leaving Facebook over hate and intolerance, report says

Coffee giant Starbucks is said to be considering leaving Facebook over the “negative/insensitive, hate speech-related comments” it receives on its posts about social justice issues.

The report is based on internal discussions seen by the outlet that were written by Facebook employees who manage the platform’s relationship with the world’s largest coffee company.

Starbucks spokesperson Sanja Gould would not confirm if the company was considering removing its Facebook page, but told Buzzfeed in a statement that the coffee corporation stands “against hate speech”.

TikTok sued over use of children’s data

A former children’s commissioner for England has launched a “landmark case” against the video-sharing app TikTok, alleging that it illegally collects the personal information of its child users. Despite a minimum age requirement of 13, Ofcom found last year that 42% of UK eight to 12-year-olds used TikTok.

As with other social media companies such as Facebook, there have long been concerns about data collection and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating TikTok’s handling of children’s personal information.

Tom Southwell, a partner at Scott + Scott, which is acting for Longfield, said: “TikTok and ByteDance’s advertising revenue is built on the personal information of its users, including children.”

Germany bans Facebook from handling WhatsApp data over privacy concerns

Germany’s leading data protection regulator has banned Facebook from using data generated by WhatsApp users. The ruling follows a controversy over the messaging app’s latest privacy terms, which the regulator believes are illegal.

The move follows emergency discussions in Hamburg after WhatsApp asked users to consent to the new terms or stop using it.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, accused the Hamburg data protection authority of misunderstanding the purpose of the update and said there was no legitimate basis for the ban.


North America battles for top tech talent

It seems Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration may have turned Canada into a technology powerhouse, after the country opened their doors the best and the brightest while the U.S. tightened restrictions on high skilled workers.

Canada’s 900,000 “tech talent workers” now account for 5.6% of its workforce, compared with 3.7% in it’s southern neighbour. Companies are growing so fast, they’re struggling to meet demand.

But Justin Treaudu’s dream of a Silicon Valley in the snow may be dashed following the election of Joe Biden who has promised to issue more high-skilled visas. Will overseas talent go back to the U.S. to live and work? Or can Canada maintain their competitive edge?

What’s clear is that the battle for tech talent is heating up (well, as much as it can in Canada)!


  1. It’s been a bad week for big tech, with tech-focused growth companies suffering the most from a global stock sell-off, mounted by inflation fears that central banks will tighten monetary policy.

  2. To add to their woes, new internet laws announced in the Queen’s Speech could see Ofcom fine companies up to £18m or 10% of their annual global turnover (whichever is higher) if they fail to take down harmful content.

  3. Meanwhile, Refuge has warned that technology is playing a growing role in domestic abuse cases with perpetrators using multiple accounts and devices to abuse, control and monitor their partners using a range of tech as well as sophisticated malicious software.

  4. Elsewhere, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and ‘Technoking’ has caused a storm by suspending the purchase of its electric vehicles with Bitcoin, despite the company investing $1.5 billion in Bitcoin this quarter and publicly vouching for the crypto currency’s longevity.


  1. Noahpinion: How Clubhouse might still win

  2. Financial Times: An uphill race for Peloton as gyms reopen

  3. WIRED: Social media companies say they want to be transparent. So why aren’t they?


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