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CNBC has a story about how some brands, especially those that have built direct-to-consumer businesses over the past few years, are re-evaluating their holiday advertising plans.

The reason:  social media platforms have become tainted by recent publicity about their data practices, which is leading some brands to reconsider those connections.  And, some policy changes, especially by one company, are making it harder to go direct to consumers.

From the CNBC story:

"Last year — and especially over the holiday season — social media platforms like Facebook were highly effective in reaching consumers stuck at home, aimlessly scrolling on their smartphones. But this year, between Apple’s privacy changes and the ongoing controversy over Facebook’s practices, more and more consumers are steering clear of Facebook’s apps, which include Instagram and WhatsApp. Or they’re turning to new ones, like TikTok.

"The shift has brands worried that an online marketing blitz won’t reach the right customers. Some even fret that they could alienate consumers by being on certain social media sites … An analysis by the market research company eMarketer found that users in the U.S. are expected to spend less time scrolling through Facebook this year and in the coming years. Time spent on the platform for adults over the age of 18 is expected to be down 3.3% in 2021 compared with 2020 levels, eMarketer said. It forecasts it will drop another 1.8% from 2021 to 2022, and fall another 0.7% in 2023."

The Apple changes are cited as being particularly concerning:  "Apple in April made privacy changes impacting how apps can track users. Many consumers have since opted out of tracking by popular apps, which means businesses are gathering less information on users’ daily habits and interests. As a result, it becomes much more difficult for advertisers to target people on the internet effectively."