Twitter Bans Political Ads & Facebook Bans Sexualised Emojis – 01.11.19
Pinch, punch! This week we’re talking Facebook banning sexual emojis, crackdowns on fake followers, how Twitter is banning political advertising, and the BERT update.
Since when were peaches controversial? ????
Facebook and Instagram taking steps to prevent online sexual solicitation
With an update to its Community Standards, Facebook will be cracking down on emojis that are “implicitly or indirectly related to sex”, as well as making it forbidden to provide links which lead to pornographic content.
Although the update to the user standards has prompted awareness around the issue, the new rules were actually introduced back in August, with Facebook saying it’s part of “systematic changes to its platform”. However, some are concerned that the update amounts to “online censorship”.
The move means that no “contextually specific and commonly used sexual emojis” will be allowed to appear alongside sexual statements, nude imagery, or sexual conversations. Other uses of the emojis which have been included in the move, such as the peach and the aubergine, will still be allowed. Read more on the detail at The Independent.
FTC cracks down on selling followers and likes, and posting fake reviews
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has this week cracked down on people and brands selling fake likes and engagements on social media, as well as posting fake reviews.
Florida businessmen German Calas Jr was fined $2.5 million over “the sale of fake indicators of social media influencer”, while Sunday Riley has received a warning over supposedly encouraging and sharing fake reviews of products on Sephora’s website.
These actions could prove to be a new benchmark for legal cases in the future, using Calas’ case as a precedent. In fact, shortly after, Facebook announced it would be proceeding with legal action against providers it had found to be dealing in fake social engagements.
As more of our business and personal interactions take place online, cracking down on these forms of digital fraud will only become more important. Perhaps we’ll now see the end of those buying their way to social media success? Who knows. Check out more over at Social Media Today.
Twitter decides to ban all political advertising worldwide
Twitter has taken a stand this week, banning all political advertising worldwide from appearing on the platform.
CEO Jack Dorsey said that the reach of such messages should be “earned, not bought”. “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics,” he tweeted.
Facebook recently ruled out a similar move on its own platform, and has now come out in defense of its decision, with Zuckerberg stating that he doesn’t think private companies should be censoring politicians or the news. However, Dorsey believes that internet advertising presents “entirely new challenges for civil discourse”, including misleading information and deep fakes.
The move has received mixed reviews, with some praising the fact that Twitter has chosen integrity over ad revenue. However, others feel it could benefit political leaders that are already in office. See more of the detail over at BBC News.
Government puts £100m ‘Get Ready For Brexit’ campaign under review
With the decision to agree a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020, the Government has now paused its “Get Ready For Brexit” campaign, and put it under review.
The campaign was designed to guide people on how to get ready for the previously proposed 31 October leave date, although critics had previously slated it for being misleading – due to the fact that leaving without a deal was highly unlikely. Wording changes to the website were spotted last week, downplaying the previous hard deadline, while the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report saying that “growing uncertainty” of a timeline could cause campaigns to fall flat.
The ASA received more than 100 complaints around the campaign, but decided not to take action, arguing that the actual date wouldn’t necessarily mislead people about the plans suggested in order to prepare for Brexit.
Maybe one day we’ll be able to stop talking about it. Wishful thinking? Read more at The Drum.
Google’s BERT update causing minimal ripples in SEO world
BERT, the “largest change to Google’s search system since the company introduced RankBrain”, has been rolled out over the past week or so, in one of the more significant algorithm updates in recent years.
However, many SEOs and tracking tools haven’t noticed the typically massive shifts seen around the time of a new algorithm roll-out. This could be largely due to BERT’s focus on longer, more conversation based queries – something which tracking tools and site owners aren’t often looking at as closely as shorter queries.
Now that BERT is in play, many are wondering how they can ensure that any implications are minimal. Google has already stated that there’s no real way to optimise for BERT, due to its aim to “help Google better understand searchers’ intent when they search in natural language”.
This means that, in order to succeed, the best option is to focus on writing awesome content for real people – AKA, what your goal should always be. Take a look at the detail, including more on the tools at Search Engine Land.
iPhone 5 users must update iOS before November 3rd to keep email, web, and GPS working
If you’re one of the people who’ve managed to keep an iPhone 5 alive since 2012 then now’s the time to update your iOS software – or risk losing out on core functionality.
Users must update to iOS 10.3.4 in order to keep functions like App Store, email and web browsing, according to Apple. This is due to the GPS time rollover issue – most famous from the Millennium/Y2K bug – which is where GPS devices measure date and time using a week counter, which can only count up to week 1,024. The reset which happens after that point can disrupt location data and cause accessibility issues.
While new tech has been designed to adapt better when this happens, reducing impacts, older devices are greatly affected. But don’t panic just yet – update your phone, and all is well. Apple has released instructions on how to update your iPhone, just make sure you do it before Sunday. Read more at The Verge.
How long till Christmas songs start playing in the office? Place your bets, and check back next week for more digital news goodness to keep you warm this winter.
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