Digital News Roundup – 22 March
This week we’re talking about the latest Google fine, new features from Search Console and Instagram, how LinkedIn is improving its ad platform, and the Myspace mass delete making aging-scene kids across the world cry. Enjoy.
Google faces third fine following EU advertising violations.
Google has this week received its third fine in two years – with the latest due to the search giant “abusing its monopoly in online advertising”.
The EU fined Google €1.5bn (£1.3bn), bringing the total cost of the fines imposed by Brussels to €8.2bn over the past 24 months. According to the investigations, the fines accuse Google of abusing its power in search ads, shopping comparison services, and its Android mobile operating system.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said that Google has “shielded itself from competitive pressures”, going on to explain: “The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition.”
While it’s unlikely that this will be the last of the fines, one expert has said that without stronger enforcement they are unlikely to change Google’s behaviour. Read more on the story at The Guardian.
Google updates Search Console with new sitemap actions
Google has announced on Twitter that it will be updating the sitemap report within Google Search Console, designed to support new actions – such as deleting a sitemap, and presenting RSS and Atom feed sitemaps.
This is another step in Google continuing to port old features into the new Search Console, giving marketers more control over their XML Sitemap files directly in the program. To access the features, you can log in to Search Console and select a property – although you may have to verify your site to see the sitemap report if you are yet to be verified.
Once you’re in, you can “open the contents of a sitemap in a new tab, delete a sitemap, review more detailed errors and more” – giving you more control over the site as a whole. Find out more on the update at Search Engine Land.
Instagram continues shopping push with in-app checkout feature
We’ve been talking about Instagram’s shopping developments for a while now, and it looks like it’s not over just yet. Now, the platform has announced that it’s adding a checkout feature to its mobile apps, bringing it one step closer to being a fully-fledged ecommerce business.
The checkout feature will mean that you can store payment information within the app, allowing you to make purchases more quickly. Instagram will charge retailers a selling fee, with some of the first brands to launch the feature including Uniqlo, Zara, Mac and Adidas. Eligible items will feature a blue “Checkout on Instagram” button, allowing people to enter their email address, delivery info and payment method, before placing the order.
Instagram hopes that giving people the option to complete their purchases within the app will “inspire them to shop more” – part of the platforms “long-term investment in shopping”. Read more over at The Verge.
Myspace error means all content uploaded before 2016 is deleted
If you were one of the many people who called Myspace your second home back in the day, then you may want to sit down for this. The company has announced that a fault has caused “every single piece of content uploaded to its site before 2016, including millions of songs, photos and videos” to be deleted.
The mass deletion appears to have happened more than a year ago, and been caused by a faulty server migration. This is when users began to report not being able to access older content – with the company now confirming that all of this content has been permanently lost, shattering hopes that there would be a backed-up copy somewhere.
Music is an industry hit particularly hard by the news, with “more than 50m tracks from 14 million artists” being lost. Musicians had been some of the longest-running users of the platform, with one idea even being a music-focused relaunch of the site – sadly, that never came. And now, it’s very unlikely that it ever will. Check out more at The Guardian
LinkedIn boosts ad platform with lookalike targeting, Bing tie-in and B2B templates
LinkedIn is adding three new updates to its ad platform over the next two weeks, following a period of successful testing.
The features will include “a lookalike audiences targeting feature, interest targeting that leverages Bing search data, and more than 20 B2B audience templates” – signalling the platform taking steps to improve its ad offerings to suit the growing needs of advertisers.
LinkedIn has previously stated that it is committed to “building out its ad offerings to scale with the growing needs of its advertisers, and fine-tuning its targeting measures”, and with more than 600 million members, it offers exciting opportunities for advertisers looking to expand.
Our in-house social guru, Ben, said: “The news that LinkedIn is adding additional features to its advertising platform is a welcome change for marketers and businesses everywhere. LinkedIn has really stepped up its ad platform updates this year, so clearly this is a big priority for the company. I can’t wait to find out more about the predefined B2B audiences and Bing integration.” Take a look at more of the features at Marketing Land.
AI algorithms face investigation over potential bias
Independent watchdog the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) is going to be investigating algorithms used in the justice and financial systems, amid concerns that they could have gender or race biases.
However, services already using AI will not be halted – leading some to announce that simply acknowledging the risk is not enough. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC: “We know there is potential for bias but that is not the same as admitting that there are flaws in the system already.”
The report will look into the potential bias of algorithms used in finance, making decisions such as whether or not to grant loans, as well as those used in recruitment. One expert said that, as AI is fed by data inputted by humans, it’s inevitable that some bias will filter through. The key will be ensuring that the investigation looks at the right places – including how we predict that AI can be used in the future. Read more on the story, and the opposing views, over at the BBC.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone! Until then, check out some of our recent blogs below, or we’ll see you back here next week.
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