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The Week in Business: Facebook Filters Politics

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Business|The Week in Business: Facebook Filters Politics

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Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s your quick rundown of the top business and tech stories to know for the week ahead, so you can spend the rest of your day eating (sorry, reading) the candy you bought for your loved ones (or yourself). — Charlotte Cowles

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Credit…Giacomo Bagnara

The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal is winding its way through Congress. But many leading economists have argued that the far-reaching rescue plan is overkill and could create runaway inflation. In a speech on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, disagreed, urging policymakers to set aside inflation fears and focus on restoring full employment. He also pointed out that the latest jobless numbers did not tell the full story of the flailing labor market. Employment for higher-wage workers has dipped 4 percent (still a lot), but the bottom quartile of earners have seen a devastating 17 percent plunge.

Capping off its starring role in the GameStop stock-buying furor, the online chat platform Reddit has raised $250 million in new funding. Now valued at $6 billion, the company intends to double its staff and expand its user base. Reddit’s message boards are not only a popular forum for stock tips these days. They have also become a major source of information and community for out-of-work Americans trying to navigate the complex unemployment benefits system during the pandemic.

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The 131-year-old pancake and syrup brand officially has a new name: the Pearl Milling Company. Quaker Oats pledged to overhaul the product line, which has long faced criticism for its history of racist imagery, in the wake of widespread protests over racial injustice last June. Its redesigned packaging will appear on shelves this summer. Several other food brands that use racial images in their marketing, including Ben’s Original rice products (formerly Uncle Ben’s), Cream of Wheat cereal and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup are undergoing similar revamps.

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Credit…Giacomo Bagnara

If you’re tired of your crazy uncle’s political rants on Facebook, you may welcome this development: The social media platform is changing its algorithm to reduce political content in people’s news feeds. The new algorithm, which makes political content less prominent but does not remove it, is being tested in several countries and will expand to the United States in the coming weeks. The change comes by popular request: “One of the top pieces of feedback we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive. Not all political posts will be affected, however. Content from official government agencies will be exempt from the change.

Facebook may be toning down political content, but Twitter is fighting to keep it up — in India, at least. The clash began when Indian farmers took to Twitter to protest new agriculture laws. The country’s government ordered Twitter to delete or mute more than 1,100 accounts that it says have encouraged violence or spread misinformation. Twitter complied with some of those demands, but refused to remove accounts of journalists, activists and other figures who are exercising their right to criticize the government and do not violate the company’s policies. Now, the Indian government has accused Twitter of breaking its laws.

Regulators and policymakers are still trying to figure out how to react to the recent GameStop stock-trading frenzy that hijacked the market in January and damaged investors big and small. Congress will hold a hearing on the matter this week, and key players — including leaders from Reddit, the hedge fund Citadel and the stock trading platform Robinhood — have been asked to testify.

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A new analysis showed that women’s participation in the U.S. labor market fell to a 33-year low in January. Women accounted for almost 80 percent of workers over the age of 19 who left the work force last month. The company Bumble, which operates a female-focused dating app, had its initial public offering on Thursday, making its 31-year-old founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, a billionaire and the youngest woman to take a company public. The sale of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to Oracle and Walmart, forced by the Trump administration, has been put on hold indefinitely by the Biden administration while it reviews national security concerns.

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Updating Special Ad Audiences for housing, employment, and credit advertisers

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On June 21, 2022 we announced an important settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way we deliver housing ads to people residing in the US. Specifically, we are building into our ads system a method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad.

As part of this agreement, we will also be sunsetting Special Ad Audiences, a tool that lets advertisers expand their audiences for ad sets related to housing. We are choosing to sunset this for employment and credit ads as well. In 2019, in addition to eliminating certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads, we introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike Audiences. But the field of fairness in machine learning is a dynamic and evolving one, and Special Ad Audiences was an early way to address concerns. Now, our focus will move to new approaches to improve fairness, including the method previously announced.

What’s happening: We’re removing the ability to create Special Ad Audiences via Ads Manager beginning on August 25, 2022.

Beginning October 12th, 2022, we will pause any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. These ad sets may be restarted once advertisers have removed any and all Special Ad Audiences from those ad sets. We are providing a two month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences to enable advertisers the time to adjust budgets and strategies as needed.

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For more details, please visit our Newsroom post.

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Impact to Advertisers using Marketing API on September 13, 2022

For advertisers and partners using the API listed below, the blocking of new Special Ad Audience creation will present a breaking change on all versions. Beginning August 15, 2022, developers can start to implement the code changes, and will have until September 13, 2022, when the non-versioning change occurs and prior values are deprecated. Refer below to the list of impacted endpoints related to this deprecation:

For reading audience:

  • endpoint gr:get:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field operation_status

For adset creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/adsets
  • field subtype

For adset editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdCampaign
  • field subtype

For custom audience creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field subtype

For custom audience editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:CustomAudience

Please refer to the developer documentation for further details to support code implementation.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Introducing an Update to the Data Protection Assessment

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Over the coming year, some apps with access to certain types of user data on our platforms will be required to complete the annual Data Protection Assessment. We have made a number of improvements to this process since our launch last year, when we introduced our first iteration of the assessment.

The updated Data Protection Assessment will include a new developer experience that is enhanced through streamlined communications, direct support, and clear status updates. Today, we’re sharing what you can expect from these new updates and how you can best prepare for completing this important privacy requirement if your app is within scope.

If your app is in scope for the Data Protection Assessment, and you’re an app admin, you’ll receive an email and a message in your app’s Alert Inbox when it’s time to complete the annual assessment. You and your team of experts will then have 60 calendar days to complete the assessment. We’ve built a new platform that enhances the user experience of completing the Data Protection Assessment. These updates to the platform are based on learnings over the past year from our partnership with the developer community. When completing the assessment, you can expect:

  • Streamlined communication: All communications and required actions will be through the My Apps page. You’ll be notified of pending communications requiring your response via your Alerts Inbox, email, and notifications in the My Apps page.

    Note: Other programs may still communicate with you through the App Contact Email.

  • Available support: Ability to engage with Meta teams via the Support tool to seek clarification on the questions within the Data Protection Assessment prior to submission and help with any requests for more info, or to resolve violations.

    Note: To access this feature, you will need to add the app and app admins to your Business Manager. Please refer to those links for step-by-step guides.

  • Clear status updates: Easy to understand status and timeline indicators throughout the process in the App Dashboard, App Settings, and My Apps page.
  • Straightforward reviewer follow-ups: Streamlined experience for any follow-ups from our reviewers, all via developers.facebook.com.

We’ve included a brief video that provides a walkthrough of the experience you’ll have with the Data Protection Assessment:

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The Data Protection Assessment elevates the importance of data security and helps gain the trust of the billions of people who use our products and services around the world. That’s why we are committed to providing a seamless experience for our partners as you complete this important privacy requirement.

Here is what you can do now to prepare for the assessment:

  1. Make sure you are reachable: Update your developer or business account contact email and notification settings.
  2. Review the questions in the Data Protection Assessment and engage with your teams on how best to answer these questions. You may have to enlist the help of your legal and information security points of contact to answer some parts of the assessment.
  3. Review Meta Platform Terms and our Developer Policies.

We know that when people choose to share their data, we’re able to work with the developer community to safely deliver rich and relevant experiences that create value for people and businesses. It’s a privilege we share when people grant us access to their data, and it’s imperative that we protect that data in order to maintain and build upon their trust. This is why the Data Protection Assessment focuses on data use, data sharing and data security.

Data privacy is challenging and complex, and we’re dedicated to continuously improving the processes to safeguard user privacy on our platform. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to build a safer, more sustainable platform.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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