Facebook Removes Targeting Options From Certain Ads to Fight Discrimination

Facebook is taking steps to stop discriminatory advertising practices by removing targeting options that were used to exclude people.

Housing, employment, and credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, race, or gender.

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explains in a blog post, these changes are the result of settlement agreements with civil rights organizations.

“There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads.

Last year, one of the US’s top housing civil rights organizations, the National Fair Housing Alliance, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Communication Workers of America, and other private parties, filed litigation against us, saying that we need to build stronger protections against abuse.”

Here are the changes being implemented as part of Facebook’s settlements with the NFHA, ACLU, CWA, and other groups:

  • Housing, employment or credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, gender or zip code.
  • Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall.
  • Facebook has agreed to build a tool that will allow users to search for and view all current housing ads in the US, regardless of whether the ads were shown to them.

Sandberg concludes her announcement by saying housing, employment, and credit ads are meant to help people, not exclude them.

“Getting this right is deeply important to me and all of us at Facebook because inclusivity is a core value for our company.”

Expect to see further efforts from Facebook with regards to preventing discrimination and promoting inclusion.

Source:- https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Google Made More Linking Practices Less Effective at Manipulating Rankings

In Google’s newly released web-spam report, the company reveals how it dealt with link spam in 2018.

Link spam is one of three types of spam discussed in the report. Other standouts include spam on hacked sites and user-generated spam. Here’s more about how Google fought those types of spam last year.

Link Spam

Link spam refers to any type of link building practice that violates Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Google stresses the value of links as a search ranking factor when explaining why it’s important to fight link spam.

“We continued to protect the value of authoritative and relevant links as an important ranking signal for Search.”

Egregious link spam is dealt with swiftly, Google says. A number of link building practices were even made less effective last year,

Without getting too specific, Google says it “made a number of bad linking practices less effective for manipulating ranking.”

Lastly, Google touts its webmaster and SEO outreach efforts:

“Above all, we continued to engage with webmasters and SEOs to chip away at the many myths that have emerged over the years relating to linking practices.”

The best way to avoid getting penalized for link spam, Google explains, is to avoid building links primarily as an attempt to rank better.

Other ways Google fought webspam in 2018

Here’s a quick recap of other key highlights from the report:

  • Less than 1% of results visited by users are for spammy pages.
  • 80% reduction on the impact of user-generated spam on search users.
  • In 2018, Google received over 180,000 search spam user reports.
  • Google took action on 64% of the reports it processed.
  • Google sent over 186 million messages to website owners regarding their site’s appearance in search results.
  • Around 2%—or about 4 million—of the messages Google sent were related to manual actions.

Source:- https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Google’s ‘2 million developers’ programme

Google is sponsoring 100,000 scholarships on the Plural sight learning platform and 30 thousand scholarships on Udacity to help developers gain access to advanced learning curriculum and further their employability in emerging technologies.

In this joint effort, Google is sponsoring 100,000 scholarships on the Pluralsight learning platform and 30 thousand scholarships on Udacity to help developers gain access to advanced learning curriculum and further their employability in emerging technologies such as Mobile and Web development, Machine Learning, AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence, and Cloud Platforms.

“The Scholarship program would have two phases. The first phase would have free access to our courses in mobile and web development along with mentorship and community support. The top 1000 students earn an additional 6-month scholarship to our Mobile and Web Developer Nano degree programs, which includes mentorship, community support, and expert project reviews,” said Ishan Gupta, Managing Director – Udacity India.

B2B start-ups gather momentum

Until two years ago, start-up advisors, indeed many angel investors, had a word of caution for fresh entrepreneurs eyeing the consumer Internet market. “Don’t show a B2B revenue plan in the investor deck,” they often said. “The valuation is zero.”

Times have changed. Nearly 50 per cent of the 1000 start-ups India added in 2017 were in the B2B segment, up from 34 per cent last year, a new NASSCOM-Zinnov report on the ‘Indian Start-up Ecosystem – Traversing the maturity cycle’, found. The average funding for B2B start-ups in 2017 saw an increase of 5 per cent, while B2C average funding saw a decline of 10 per cent.

The report buttresses the fact that the world of venture investing in India has gone from irrational exuberance in the consumer Internet industry to a sense of normalcy.  For example, in 2015, many food-tech companies got funded by some form of institutional investment. That is unlikely this year, or even in 2018. At a seed level, investors are looking at fairly differentiated and defendable Intellectual Property (IP)-driven play. Which is why B2B is in fashion – the NASSCOM-Zinnov report says that “growth of B2B start-ups are being driven by Fin-tech, Health-tech, and B2B enterprise products and the rising focus on advanced technologies such as Analytics, AI, IoT, AR/VR, Blockchain, among others”.