A big FTC fine for Facebook? Plus, Amazon's romance with New York City is over, sort of: Friday Wake-Up Call

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, at a House of Representatives committee hearing in April.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, at a House of Representatives committee hearing in April. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today
Facebook is reportedly in talks with the Federal Trade Commission to pay a "multi-billion dollar fine" for user privacy lapses, The Washington Post reports. The report mentions the figure of $2 billion, which sounds slightly less impressive when you consider that Facebook took in revenue of $55.8 billion last year. The probe was opened after the Cambridge Analytica user data privacy scandal was exposed.

The newspaper writes: "For the FTC, a significant punishment levied against Facebook could represent a new era of scrutiny for Silicon Valley companies after years of privacy missteps." A fine would settle the case with the FTC. If the talks fall apart, the case could wind up in court -- but that would surely bring the company very bad PR, and it doesn't need more of that.

Lookin' for love in all the wrong places
The courtship between Amazon and New York City is over; the tech company announced the breakup on Valentine's Day. Amazon says it won't set up a huge new corporate office in Long Island City, Queens, after all. It also isn't getting back out into the dating scene to look for a replacement city. Instead, it will add more staff across other offices. The city and state had wooed Amazon with $3 billion in government incentives, but opposition grew, with critics asking why a tech giant run by the world's richest man needed tax breaks.

Amazon already has a 5,000-strong presence in New York, and it's expected to maintain close ties with Madison Avenue despite it all, Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes. Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer, expects the company to keep investing in New York -- especially given its "continued emergence as a media and advertising powerhouse." To push this Valentine's Day metaphor to the hilt, it seems NYC and Amazon -- post breakup -- will remain good friends.

Best joke: "I have never related more to Jeff Bezos now that he has flaked out on a promise to go to Queens," comedy writer Jason O. Gilbert tweeted.

Meanwhile in India
An important story got overshadowed yesterday by breaking news: India's government is suggesting the country adopt Chinese-style internet censorship. The New York Times reports that officials could require that "Facebook, Google, Twitter, TikTok and others remove posts or videos that they deem libelous, invasive of privacy, hateful or deceptive." Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government can impose the rules anytime, The Times says. India has the second-biggest internet population after China, with around 500 million people estimated to be online. This is another reminder of how far the internet has strayed from the old utopian vision of a World Wide Web uniting everyone.

Just briefly:
Lockdown:
In Los Angeles, a lockdown at Netflix and KTLA TV studio "was lifted Thursday afternoon after police detained a former Netflix employee who called a current worker and said that he had a gun," The Los Angeles TImes reports. There was reportedly no gun.

Huh: A popular Chinese beverage brand is running ads claiming its coconut milk can help women increase the size of their breasts, the South China Morning Post reports.

Crackdown?: Today, makers of e-cigarettes "are free to market their products where they choose, even on television and radio, where traditional cigarette ads are still banned," Jessica Rosenworcel, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, writes in USA Today, arguing for a crackdown.

Apple goes shopping: Apple acquired a U.K. digital marketing startup called DataTiger, Bloomberg News reports. The CEO's LinkedIn profile says he wants to "bring the stale era of 'email-list thinking' and slow, campaign-based marketing to an end."

Streaming wars: "CBS raised its subscription target for CBS All Access, which allows consumers to watch live sports, television shows and other programming, and its Showtime streaming platform, to 25 million by 2022 from an earlier forecast of 16 million," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Conspiracy theories: Facebook is considering whether to remove "anti-vaccine information from software systems that recommend other things to read on its social network," Bloomberg News reports.

Headline of the day: "Coffee meets Bagel dating app announces data breach on Valentine's Day," from BuzzFeed News.

Ad of the day: Airbus announced that it will stop making its double-decker superjumbo A380 jet, which made its first commercial flight in 2007. There simply isn't enough of a market for it. To mark the occasion, let's look back at a 2015 Jennifer Aniston ad for Emirates' luxurious A380, complete with on-flight showers and a bar. Aniston plays a diva who's gotten a little too accustomed to the finer things in life. Watch it here.

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