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Microsoft Joins Growing Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott Over Concerns of Inappropriate Content

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Microsoft, however, has not announced its participation in the broader advertisement boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:44 AM IST

Microsoft which spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads last year is reportedly pausing advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. According to a report in Axios on Tuesday, the Windows maker is concerned about ads running alongside “inappropriate content” such as hate speech and pornography.

The software giant, however, has not announced its participation in the broader ad boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands. Microsoft had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in May. “Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook’s policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now,” said the report citing internal Microsoft posts. Microsoft was yet to make the move official.

“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela reportedly said in an internal post on enterprise social network Yammer. “The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August,” Capossela added. Microsoft earlier paused spending on Google’s YouTube over similar concerns.


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Tech

Starbucks Suspends Advertising Across Social Media to Help Curb Hate Speech

Image for representation. (Associated Press)

Image for representation. (Associated Press)

Starbucks said that it believes in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and stand against hate speech.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 10:22 AM IST

Starbucks Corp will pause advertising on all social media platforms as it explores the best ways to help stop the spread of hate speech, the company said in a statement on Sunday. “We will pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech,” the statement read.

“We believe in bringing communities together, both in-person and online, and we stand against hate speech. We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policymakers need to come together to affect real change.”

A CNBC report here on Sunday added that this social media pause by Starbucks will not include YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google. It will continue to post on social media without paid promotion. It also said that though Starbucks is pausing advertising, it is not joining the “Stop Hate For Profit” boycott campaign, which kicked off earlier this month. More than 160 companies, including Verizon Communications and Unilever Plc, signed on to stop buying ads on Facebook Inc, the world’s largest social media platform.


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Categories
Tech

Facebook to Start Flagging Problematic Posts from Politicians as Ad Boycott Grows

As more advertisers pull out of its platform over poor handling of hate speech and misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Saturday that the social network will put warning labels on all posts that break its rules but are deemed newsworthy. The announcement came after several top-notch advertisers like Coca-Cola, Hershey and Honda joined over 100 brands who have decided to boycott advertising on Facebook.

Facebook’s decision now opens the door to label controversial posts by US President Donald Trump. Twitter has already flagged a couple of his controversial tweets while Facebook is facing widespread criticism for its inaction over Trump posts that glorified violence in the aftermath of the death of African-American George Floyd.

Zuckerberg said that they will soon start labelling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. “We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society — but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” he explained.

There is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting. “Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down,” Zuckerberg said adding that there are no exceptions for “politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today”.

Earlier, telecom carrier Verizon announced to pull ads from Facebook and Instagram, joining advertisers like apparel brand North Face, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, outdoor apparel stores REI and Patagonia, freelancing platform Upwork, shipping company Local Postal, password manager Dashlane and outwear company Arc’teryx to boycott the social network. Facebook makes about 98 per cent of its $70 billion annual revenue from advertising. Zuckerberg also detailed plans to tighten policies ahead of the 2020 elections.

“Since the most dangerous voter suppression campaigns can be local and run in the days immediately before an election, we’re going to use our Elections Operations Center to quickly respond and remove false claims about polling conditions in the 72 hours leading into election day,” announced the Facebook CEO. He said that Facebook will also ban posts that make false claims saying ICE agents are checking for immigration papers at polling places, which is a tactic used to discourage voting.


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Categories
Tech

Google Ads Revises Policies to Clamp Down on Discriminatory Practices

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

Google had previously barred advertisers from choosing ad targets based on users’ race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: June 12, 2020, 11:37 AM IST

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it was tackling unlawful discrimination by barring housing, employment and credit ads from being targeted to its users based on their postal code, gender, age, parental status or marital status. The new policy, which will take effect by the end of the year in the United States and Canada, comes more than a year after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged Facebook Inc for selling discriminatory housing ads and said it was looking into similar concerns about Google and Twitter Inc.

Google and Facebook together account for just over half of internet ad sales globally, making their policy actions influential in the industry. U.S. protests following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, have placed a spotlight on racial inequities, including the challenges black people face in finding jobs and housing. But Google said its new policy was not a reaction to the protests.

“We had been working constructively with HUD on these issues since last year, and our timeline has not been driven by current events,” Google spokesperson Elijah Lawal said. In a press release on Thursday, HUD encouraged other online ad sellers to follow Google’s action. Twitter said it had no policy updates to share.

Google had previously barred advertisers from choosing ad targets based on users’ race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. But researchers investigating discrimination have said advertisers could still use other data to exclude lower-income individuals and racial minorities from their potential customer pool.

For example, ZIP codes, which refer to geography, could be a proxy for the race as people of similar background sometimes cluster in neighbourhoods. Facebook banned advertisers from using ZIP codes, age and gender to decide who would see ads days before HUD took action last year. The company and U.S. prosecutors said the case, which was referred to a federal court in New York, is ongoing.



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