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Post-Election Backlash Spurs Fake News Crackdown
November 15, 2016
Facebook and Google have amended their internal policies regarding advertising on fake news posts in response to increasing pressure from users and a growing controversy within the company. There are mounting concerns that the presidential election may have been influenced by unvetted fake news stories trending on the network during the past few weeks of the cycle.
Google Cites Amazon Competition in Response to EU
November 7, 2016
Google last week filed a response in a 6-year-old antitrust battle with the EU, which has charged that its search ads unfairly promoted its own shopping service and blocked rivals. The response addresses a revision the EC sent to Google this summer. The commission's original statement of objections narrowly defined online shopping services to exclude services like Amazon, Google noted.
Facebook Share Price Falls Despite Blowout Quarter
November 4, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported a record Q3, beating analysts' expectations for the fourth straight quarter, but concerns among investors about increased expenditures and the company's future prospects drove down share prices. They closed Thursday at $119.95, down more than $7 from Wednesday's closing price of $127.17. Friday saw little movement, with a closing price of $120.75.
Backpage CEO Arrested for Pimping, Child Prostitution
October 7, 2016
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer is facing extradition to California on charges his company earned millions of dollars by promoting adult and child prostitution through escort advertisements run on the site. Ferrer's arrest took place in Houston upon his return from the Netherlands to the headquarters of his Dallas-based company, perhaps the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the U.S.
Pandora Plus Trades Ad Views for Extra Features
September 16, 2016
Pandora on Thursday launched Pandora Plus, a replacement for its $5-a-month Pandora One streaming music service. The 4 million Pandora One subscribers will be switched over to Plus, which will continue to offer ad-free listening at the same price. However, Pandora Plus also offers an opt-in video advertising feature that lets users skip or replay songs. Plus also has an offline mode.
Adblock Plus Now Means Ad Blocking Plus Ads
September 15, 2016
Adblock Plus, together with partner ComboTag, on Tuesday launched the beta version of the Acceptable Ads Platform. AA is an interactive platform that pre-whitelists ads publishers and bloggers then can place on their sites. It will only contain only ads that abide by AA's criteria for size and labeling, and their placement will be governed by the AA rules.
Adblock Plus Mouse Roars at Facebook
August 11, 2016
Adblock Plus on Thursday announced that the open source community had created a filter to neutralize Facebook's latest offensive in its ongoing battle with ad blockers. Any Adblock Plus users who want to implement the workaround will have to update their filterlists manually. "For this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won," said Adblock Plus spokesperson Ben Williams.
Facebook Aims to Scrub Clickbait From News Feed
August 9, 2016
Facebook last week announced a new move to fight clickbait in the News Feed: downranking links from Web domains and Facebook Pages that consistently post clickbait headlines. Those that stop posting clickbait no longer will be downranked. Users who post links that lead to a clickbait domain on their personal Facebook page also could have their posts downgraded, according to Facebook.
EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
July 16, 2016
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
Yahoo to Have Giant Patent Garage Sale
June 9, 2016
Yahoo reportedly has notified potential buyers that it plans to auction off about 3,000 patents and will be accepting bids until mid-June. The intellectual property for sale includes patents for its original search technology. The patents "cover strategic areas such as search, e-commerce and online advertising," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Supreme Court Snubs Google's AdWords Appeal
June 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Google's appeal of a lower court ruling in a suit alleging the company used deceptive practices in the sale and placement of advertising through its AdWords program between 2004 and 2008. Google, a unit of Alphabet, sought to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals September 2015 ruling that the lawsuit could go forward as a class action case.
Facebook AI Digs Deep Into User Content
June 3, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday introduced DeepText, an artificial intelligence-fueled text analytics engine. "Text is a prevalent form of communication on Facebook," wrote Facebook software engineers Ahmad Abdulkader, Aparna Lakshmiratan and Joy Zhang in a post describing its capabilities. "Understanding the various ways text is used on Facebook can help us improve people's experiences with our products."
Report: Smartphone Ad Blockers Picking Up Steam
June 1, 2016
At least 419 million people around the world are blocking advertising on their smartphones, according to a report PageFair released Tuesday. Most of those people -- 408 million of them -- are using ad-blocking browsers, notes the report. The use of ad blockers doubled in 2015, and the use of mobile ad-blocking browsers increased 90 percent during the same year.
Yahoo Bids Could Seriously Underwhelm
May 24, 2016
Bids for Yahoo's core assets were expected to come in at between $2 billion and $3 billion, far below prior estimates that it could fetch $4 billion to $8 billion at auction, according to a news report published last week. Verizon, which remains the leading candidate for Yahoo's assets, and other contenders met with CEO Marissa Mayer at the company's Sunnyvale, California, headquarters
Tweets May Soon Breeze Past 140-Character Limit
May 19, 2016
In an effort to better monetize its platform and boost user traffic, Twitter may relax the 140-character limit on individual tweets by no longer counting photos and Web links. The tweak could take place within two weeks, according to a report that cited an unnamed source who asked for anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public. CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at the move earlier this year.
Google Boots Ads for Predatory Payday Lenders
May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.
Reddit Tech Forum May Ban Sites That Circumvent Ad Blockers
May 11, 2016
A forum on Reddit, /r/ Technology, on Monday announced it was considering blocking links to websites that require visitors to turn off their ad blockers before viewing content on the site. "It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content," said creq, the moderator of the site. "We see this as a security risk."
Adblock Plus to Websites: 'We've Got Your Back'
May 6, 2016
Adblock Plus, which has been in the forefront of online ad blocking, this week announced the beta of Flattr Plus, which promises no less than to revolutionize Web monetization. Users decide how much money they want to have distributed among their favorite sites, and the Flattr Plus algorithm automatically divvies up the proceeds among the sites they engage with the most.
Hulu May Offer a Live TV Broadcast Option
May 2, 2016
Hulu reportedly is in talks to launch a cable TV-like service early next year. Hulu, which is a joint venture of Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast's NBCUniversal, is said to be negotiating with Disney and Fox to deliver live broadcast and paid channels, including ABC, ESPN, Disney, Fox, Fox News, FX and Fox Sports. Other programmers and content providers apparently have discussed potential partnerships with Hulu.
Microsoft Curbs Cortana in Windows 10
April 30, 2016
Microsoft has decided to restrict its Cortana digital assistant to operating with the Edge browser and Bing search engine in Windows 10. "As Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent [its] design and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana," said Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana.
BlockIQ Escalates War on Ad Blockers
April 28, 2016
As consumers turn to ad blockers to avoid advertising on their mobile and computer screens, marketers and content providers who depend on pitches to pay the bills are searching frantically for ways to counter the pesky programs. BlockIQ offers them one. BlockIQ, owned by AdSupply, which recently merged with Adaptive Medias, has launched BlockBypass.
Google Fattens Up Entertainment Programming Search Results
April 21, 2016
Google will begin listing live air times for TV shows in its search results, Danial Alegre, president of global partnerships announced Wednesday at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas. This new feature will allow users to search for movies and TV shows. Results will show availability on broadcast and cable TV channels, as well as streaming and online rentals.
Publishers vs. Brave Software: Battle for the Ad Viewer
April 14, 2016
Brave Software is a startup that has ratcheted the ad-blocking game to a new level, and it is raising a lot of stink in the online community. For many people, Web-based ads have become an intolerable, costly distraction. That has led to a variety of ad-blocking approaches. The use of ad-blocking software is growing, because users feel they are being attacked by distracting Web-based ads.
Facebook Entices VR Content Creators With Open Source Surround Cam
April 13, 2016
Facebook on Tuesday unveiled a high-quality 360-degree 3D camera suitable for creating virtual reality content. The Facebook Surround 360 system, which made its debut at the F8 developers conference, includes a production-ready camera -- which costs about $30,000 to build and looks like a flying saucer from a science fiction movie -- and software for controlling the camera and for stitching and rendering what the camera captures.
Marketers Poised to Run the Customer Experience Show, Survey Says
April 12, 2016
Marketing will shape the customer experience by 2020, based on a recent Marketo study of nearly 500 chief marketing officers and senior marketing executives worldwide. The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted the research on behalf of Marketo. Eighty-percent of the respondents believed their departments would exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020.
Publishers Put Brave Ad-Blocking Browser on Notice
April 11, 2016
A group of newspaper publishers last week sent what amounted to a cease-and-desist letter to Brave Software, which offers the HTTPS Brave browser with built-in ad blocking and tracking protection. Brave has offered to let publishers make money off blocked ads by partnering with them "for a lower fee than they pay their third-party data-tracking partners," CEO Brendan Eich said.
Blendle Bets Readers Will Micropay for Good Journalism
March 25, 2016
Blendle, a Netherlands-based news aggregation site that draws comparisons to Spotify, on Wednesday announced its beta launch in the U.S. Blendle made its debut with the participation of several major new organizations and financial backing from Axel Springer and The New York Times. The 5-year-old company, which recently expanded into Germany, has opened the beta phase to 10,000 users.
Google Reports Web Traffic Encryption Progress
March 18, 2016
Google this week launched a section of its transparency report to track the progress of efforts to encrypt the Web, by both the company and third-party sites estimated to account for about 25 percent of Web traffic. The report will be updated weekly with information about progress the company has made toward implementing HTTPS by default across its services.
Instagram's New Algorithm Promises Most Favorable Sorting
March 17, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday announced plans to dump chronological posts in favor of algorithmic recommendations. Users miss about 70 percent of the content that flows through their feeds, which the company attributed to its growth and its system for ordering content. The new algorithm, which will begin rolling out in the coming months, will weigh the content by relevancy to the user.
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Is fake news a major problem?
Yes -- people don't know which news to trust.
No -- it's very easy to spot.
Yes -- it's propaganda warfare, and the U.S. is losing.
No -- people have always believed what suited them.
Yes -- but only temporarily, as people are catching on.
No -- much of it actually isn't fake.