This week, we were struck by a food corporation’s CEO admonishing the Trump administration on his company’s Twitter, the latest in data exposure and the return of the Hummer
I’m Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, and these are personal reflections. I am very angry, and time isn’t making me less angry. A MLF colleague of mine lost his wife and family this week to a needless, irresponsible series of events in Iran…
— Maple Leaf Foods (@MapleLeafFoods) January 13, 2020
The chief executive of the Canadian packaged meats company used his company’s Twitter account to strongly criticize the Trump administration for its actions that led to the downing of Flight 752 in Iran on Jan. 8. Michael McCain angrily launched a series of tweets at “the narcissist in Washington” following the crash of the Ukrainian flight, which killed the wife and son of one of his colleagues. It was an unusual move for a high-ranking executive to take control of their corporation’s social media account to voice such personal, political views. But McCain “gave great thought” to his remarks, according to Maple Leaf’s VP of communications, and asked to make the posts.
Read more: National Post
A woman who flubbed a simple question on “Family Feud Canada” received $10,000 from the brand she incorrectly referenced. The question, which only had one answer, was “Name Popeye’s favorite food.” Rather than answering “spinach,” as the question was in reference to the cartoon character, the contestant answered “chicken.” Popeyes—the restaurant chain that’s seen plenty of PR for its highly in-demand chicken sandwich—responded to the gaffe by offering the woman $10,000 worth of Popeyes food, tweeting, “Our survey says you got that right. DM us to claim your $10,000 worth of Popeyes. #LoveThatChickenFromPopeyes.”
Read more: Newsweek
After The New York Times ran an article in November 2019 about requesting access to user data—as required under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—consumers were jarred by companies’ requests for additional data. For example, Berbix, a company that verifies people’s identities when they ask to unlock their data, asks consumers to upload photos of their government ID and to take a selfie. The company then requests a second selfie, but it asks the user to look “happy or joyful.”
While requestors may be flummoxed by the need to upload additional information about themselves, Berbix’s goal is to ensure the requestor isn’t faking their identity by uploading photos they find online of a person. Researchers have shown how relatively easy it is to claim another person’s identity when requesting data, which can allow for the unlocking of information from credit card numbers to passwords. “Regulators need to think more about the unintended consequences of empowering individuals to access and delete their data,” Berbix founder Steve Kirkham told the Times. “We want to prevent fraudulent requests and let the good ones go through.”
Read more: The New York Times
The latest companies under fire for potentially violating data privacy laws are some of the biggest names in online dating. A new report by the Norwegian Consumer Council finds that Grindr, OkCupid and Tinder, mobile platforms meant for on-the-go romance, have been sharing user’s location information, gender, sexual orientation and dating preferences—and in the case of OkCupid, answers to sensitive, optional questions. The data is handed off to advertising partners, who can use the data as they see fit or sell it to other third-party vendors. These particular findings are troublesome in the European Union, where new privacy laws are being developed, as well as countries such as Pakistan and Qatar that outlaw same-sex practices. As of now, the report is still being circulated and no changes to policy have been reported.
Read more: The New York Times
For many years, the name Hummer—a behemoth SUV made by General Motors—was considered a gas guzzler, and the line was pulled in 2010 when GM went bankrupt. Given the popularity of electric vehicles and gas-efficient cars, it seems odd that the Hummer could fit into today’s automobile landscape, but GM is reviving the brand as an electric pickup truck. Sales are expected to begin in early 2022, with a Super Bowl commercial starring LeBron James slated to air next month. Hummer will return as a member of the GM brand family rather than a standalone brand, as it was before discontinuation. The introduction of the new Hummer falls in line with a trend coming out of Detroit to offer larger electric vehicles while getting rid of many lower-margin passenger car models. As is the case with many electric cars, GM hopes niche customers will pay a premium for the new Hummer.
Read more: The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Census Bureau plans to spend $500 million on public education and outreach for the 2020 Census, including more than 1,000 ads intended to reach 99% of all U.S. households. The “Shape your Future. Start here.” campaign includes advertising, public events, partnerships and digital and traditional media. Many of the ads target immigrant and minority communities and emphasize that data collected is confidential and cannot be shared—including with other government agencies.
Read more: The Washington Post
Hummer photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash.