Digital News Roundup – 15 March

by | Mar 15, 2019 | News

Welcome to the middle of March, everyone. This week it’s all about new Facebook ad metrics, the birthday of the World Wide Web, IBM and tech giants in hot water, and the social outage causing another global Twitter rant.

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Facebook is replacing its relevance score with 3 new ad metrics

This week saw Facebook announce that it’s changing up its ad relevance score, removing six of its current ad metrics and adding three “new more granular metrics”.

The new metrics, designed to be “more actionable”, will replace the relevance score, which allowed advertisers insight into how relevant to the target audience an ad might be. The previous single score will stop being available after April 30th, at which point quality ranking, engagement rate ranking and conversion rate ranking will be introduced – all still offering advertisers insights into “how changes to creative assets, audience targeting or post-click experience may impact ad performance”.

Facebook has commented that it “regularly updates its metric offerings”, removing options that are no longer useful, and replacing them with more effective options. As a result, it will also be introducing options to aggregate data from shuttered metrics, like Message Replies and Cost Per Messaging Replies. To find out more on the updates, head to Marketing Land.  


Google Doodle marks the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web

Google used its infamous Doodle to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web on Tuesday – celebrating 30 years since Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the idea back in 1989.

Berners-Lee created a streamlined system allowing people to access and navigate the internet, meaning that suddenly the generally public would be able to access the wonders of the digital world – rather than just scientists and engineers.

While the web we know today, with its smartphone access, constant connectivity and blinding speeds, is almost unrecognisable from the first versions – when a 19.2k modem was the pinnacle – the core message and vision remains the same. Tim Berners-Lee wanted to ensure that everyone had access to information and new ideas, no matter where they were around the globe. And what a wonderful thing that is. Read more on the details over at The Verge.


Report accuses IBM of taking Flickr photos for its facial-recognition project

An NBC news report has accused IBM of using Flickr photos for a facial-recognition project, without getting full consent from the people in the images.

According to the report, IBM “extracted nearly one million photos from a dataset of Flickr images originally compiled by Yahoo”, all of which were listed under a Creative Commons licence.

IBM has released a statement saying that it “had taken great care to comply with privacy principles” , although a digital rights group has come out and slammed the company, saying its actions “represented a huge threat to people’s privacy”. IBM said that individuals were able to opt out of the dataset, although this would require them to be aware that their photo had been used in the first place.

Privacy International said: “Flickr’s community guidelines explicitly say, ‘Don’t be creepy.’ Unfortunately, IBM has gone far beyond this. Using these photos in this way is a flagrant breach of anti-creepiness – as well as a huge threat to people’s privacy.”

Check out the full story at the BBC.


UK Government report says tech giants need to ‘open up their customer data to others’

A new study by the UK government has once again called the credibility of tech giants into question, particularly around data practices.

The 150-page report found that tech giants are “stifling innovation and reducing choices for consumers”, with the government now calling for an “overhaul of the UK’s competition rules and the creation of a new regulator”.

The panel called for the creation of a new regulator called a “digital markets unit”, which would “force big companies to share users’ personal data with competitors, while consumers would be allowed to move their data to a new social network “without losing what they have built up on a platform.”

The report comes amidst ongoing global pressure against big tech companies, with examples like a $5 billion antitrust fine on Google from the European Commission, and France introducing a 3% digital tax on big internet companies just last week. It looks like this crackdown is only set to continue. Read more at Net Imperative.


Google looks to be testing new black “Ad” labels in Search

Following a two year break, Google now looks to be playing with its ad labelling on once again.

The green text and border has been used since early 2017, designed to separate text ads from organic listings in the SERPs. The update could see a move to a simpler, more subtle approach – opting for bold black text and no border, with the ad label appearing above the body of the ad.

The change was spotted by a UK-based marketing consultant this week, with other EU users also noticing the new black text appearing at the top of the ad – next to the display URL. Any impact to the way people differentiate between ads and organic content can have an impact on click-through rates, so it will be interesting to the impact that occurs if these changes are rolled out.

When questioned, Google said that it had “nothing specific to announce right now”, so it looks like the testing phase may still continue for some time. Check out more of the details at Search Engine Land, or keep your eye on the SERPs in the coming months.


Facebook and Instagram went down – and the world panicked

Wednesday saw the world unite in frustration, as users experienced issues accessing Instagram and Facebook. Many users were attempting to log in before receiving an ‘Oops, an error occurred” message, with both mobile and desktop access being affected.

Facebook has come out and said, with confidence, that the issue is “not caused by a DDoS attack”, saying it’s working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Shortly after, Instagram tweeted that they were aware of the issue, but offered no suggestions as to what was causing the outage.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the platforms were back up and running, and we could all go back to our happy, scrolling-filled lives. For now….


Read more at Alt Press.

Did you know we were at the Women in Digital event earlier this week, too? Well, if somehow you missed it, head over to our blog to read our review of the day – including the lowdown on our very own Amber Vellacott’s first public speaking experience.

Same time next week, people.


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