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Pinterest Is Taking a Stand Against Plantation Weddings

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Pinterest—a social media platform on which users post aspirational wedding photos, among other things—will be restricting content that romanticizes plantation weddings following pressure from advocacy groups. “Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” a Pinterest spokesperson told BuzzFeed News via email. “We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.”

The civil rights advocacy group Color of Change has been urging companies like Pinterest and The Knot to stop promoting plantations—where slaves were tortured and forced into labor—as wedding venues altogether. “Plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen,” Color of Change’s letter to The Knot read. “The wedding industry routinely denies the violent conditions black people faced under chattel slavery by promoting plantations as romantic places to marry.”

As Arisha Hatch, the vice president of Color of Change, told BuzzFeed News, “If we were talking about concentration camps, it would be weird and disrespectful and egregious for folks to be seeking to have their weddings at these locations.”

While users can still search for “plantation weddings” on Pinterest, they’ll now see an advisory noting that some of the images—or pins, as they’re called—have been reported as potentially going against their policies, which include removing images that “glorify violence.”

The Knot Worldwide, which owns The Knot and Wedding Wire, similarly said that they were working with Color of Change to ensure former plantations acknowledge and don’t romanticize their past. While former slave plantations will still be able to list themselves as wedding venues on The Knot, they will no longer be allowed to describe themselves as “elegant” or “charming,” even if they have re-branded themselves as farms or manors.

“We want to make sure we’re serving all our couples and that they don’t feel in any way discriminated against,” Dhanusha Sivajee, the chief marketing officer of The Knot Worldwide, told BuzzFeed News.

Plantation weddings have come under fire in recent years. Celebrities like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were slammed for getting married at the Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina in 2012. In addition to being a popular wedding venue, it also offers tours of its original slave cabins.

The decision to restrict this kind of content was met with general applause on Twitter.

Some who were less aware of the controversy surrounding plantation weddings began to understand the issues.

In the north a plantation would be called a farm. I can see now how a “Plantation Wedding,” is a subtle act of racism which can be the most dangerous kind. Good for Pinterest for taking a stand!

— T Mel (@TMMellott) December 4, 2019

While others thought it was about time things changed on wedding and wedding-related websites.

Good! Pinterest is going even de-indexing Google searches for plantation weddings, aka former slave labor camp weddings, on the platform. https://t.co/d7lv61vQ8m

— Angela Stalcup (@AngelaStalcup) December 4, 2019

And for more news you might have missed this week, read Amazon Removes Auschwitz Christmas Ornaments Following Backlash.

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Pinterest to give special attention to ‘trustworthy’ retailers

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Retailers deemed worthy by Pinterest will receive extra promotion on the site.

Pinterest is launching a verified merchant program it says will help users “discover and buy from trustworthy brands.” Retailers that are accepted into the program will have their products eligible for distribution within dedicated Pinterest shopping features such as Shop the Look pins or related product carousels.

Verified merchants will get “Verified” badges on their profile and product pins. Their product pins will also show product availability and pricing info. Other front-end benefits will include a special shop tab on their profile that makes it easier for users to see what they sell.

On the back end, verified merchants will receive early access to our the Pinterest insights tool, which helps measure the total sales impact of paid and organic pins.

According to Pinterest, 97% of the top searches on the social media platform are non-branded and 83% of Pinterest users have made a purchase based on content from brands on the site.

Pinterest is rolling out its verified merchant program as part of a broader push to become a full-fledged e-commerce site. In July 2019, the visually-oriented social network began offering personalized shopping hubs at the top of users’ home feeds, as well as an updated shopping section allowing users to browse entire product catalogs and click directly to the checkout page on the retailer’s site if they would like to purchase a pinned item.

In March 2019, Pinterest rolled out “Shop a brand,” a new dedicated section from retailers beneath product pins. Pinterest is also now offering personalized shopping recommendations alongside style, home, beauty, and DIY boards.

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Pinterest now has 335 million active users, crosses $1 billion in revenue for 2019

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There have been social media platforms that are much-talked about while there are other platforms which go under the radar quite a lot. Most of the times, we have a perception that the platforms that are not in the news might be struggling or the user engagement might not be great there. However, we see reports afterwards regarding those platforms which open our eyes regarding the popularity they possess. One such platform, and the best example we can take of an underrated platform, is Pinterest.

If you have never heard of Pinterest which is quite possible, it is similar to Instagram in a way that it is also an image-sharing platform. On Pinterest, people share images and even add links to sources of those webpages. People can then interact with the media shared on interact and even go to the source and become aware of other websites. There was also an interesting story regarding Pinterest where a leaked document revealed some ambitious targets from the platform.

As per that document, Pinterest expected to have monthly active users to 329 million by 2018. However, the more ambitious part was its revenue target where it was expecting $2.8B by the end of 2018. Now, we have Pinterest’s figures for 2019 and the ambitious targets from Pinterest have been achieved in one department, monthly active users. Yes, Pinterest has just revealed that the platform serves 335 million monthly active users which is what it planned to achieve by 2018.

However, the revenue for them is still quite far but they have still crossed $1 billion in revenue last year. It is worth noting that Pinterest saw a growth of 26% in monthly active users year-on-year and there is no particular reason as to why that happened. Pinterest is a platform popular in European countries such as UK, Germany, France and Italy and it is also similarly popular in the US.

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Pinterest Publishes New Update on Employee Diversity and its Impacts on Product Decisions

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Pinterest has this week released a new update on its efforts to employ a more diverse and inclusive range of people within its organization, and the impacts that those efforts have had on its product decisions. 

As explained by Pinterest:

“It’s hard to feel inspired when you don’t feel represented – online or in your workplace – and research shows that diverse teams make us more creative, diligent and hard-working. When we are building products, a team of people with different backgrounds enables us to think through products, policies, and safety from all angles (for instance, how products could be abused or how they could unintentionally impact a community).”

Pinterest has set a range of targets on staff diversity, and it says that, for the most part, it’s now meeting those aims:

  • We wanted to increase hiring rates for full-time women engineers to 25% and surpassed it with a new high of 27%
  • We wanted to increase hiring rates to 8% underrepresented* minority engineers and exceeded it at 9%
  • We wanted to increase hiring rates for underrepresented minority employees across the company (business and product) to 12% and exceeded it at 14%

Pinterest hiring rates 2019

This increased focus on diversity has lead to some significant, inclusive product developments, including improved user wellbeing policies, the creation of a gender transition guide for organizations, and the implementation of a ‘skin tone’ search qualifier to hone in on more relevant search results.

Pinterest skin tone qualifier

In a more progressive, inclusive online world, Pinterest is looking to lead the way in showing how expanding your employee perspective can lead to a more beneficial, supportive and welcoming situation – both for the employees themselves and for those utilizing your services. The outcomes listed here highlight exactly what that looks like in practice, and as the world becomes even more connected, such initiatives will only increase in relevance.

You can read Pinterest’s full ‘Diversity Report 2020’ update here

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