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Activists encourage real-world action after social media’s #BlackoutTuesday

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Social media goes dark for Blackout Tuesday

Briona Arradondo reports

TAMPA, Fla.You may have seen black squares pop up on your social media feed Tuesday with the hashtag “BlackoutTuesday.”

It’s a moment that was first created to start a conversation, but some activists nationwide say the message may be getting lost in the images.

The black squares popping up on social media have intent. What is now the hashtag “BlackoutTuesday” started off as the hashtag “TheShowMustBePaused.” 

Two music executives who are black women originally created the moment to disrupt business as usual, calling June 2 a day for “honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the black community.”

The website includes links to resources on how to get involved.

MORE: ‘#TheShowMustBePaused’: FOX joins music industry’s June 2 blackout

Tampa resident Erica Burnett participates in local protests, and she said she’s familiar with the message.

“It’s all about focusing the conversation of black people dying in America unjustly,” said Burnett. “Blackout Tuesday is a way for people to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

On social media, Blackout Tuesday has been interpreted in different ways. Columbia Records posted on Twitter about reflection.

Some saw the initiative as a call for going silent on social media, but musicians like Lil Nas X commented on Twitter saying now is the time to “be as loud as ever.”

A co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement pointed out that the action is separate from BLM, and activists said the “BlackoutTuesday” hashtags should not be shared in the same post with the hashtag “BlackLivesMatter” because it hides vital information for resources that people are searching for.

Burnett said people can take meaningful steps beyond a social media post.

“You can also donate to a lot of great causes that are out there. You can also support black businesses. It’s already very difficult for black businesses to start and be open in different communities, specifically Tampa,” said Burnett.

Community members said now is the time to educate yourself on racial injustice.

“I definitely think the first step is acknowledging if you are not a black person, let/s say you are white person, understanding that you are operating from a place of privilege,” said Burnett. “To say that you have privilege is not to say that your life is easy and you don’t have challenges. It’s just to say that you have a bit of an advantage.”

FOX joins music industry June 2 blackout

The initiative, known as #TheShowMustBePaused, was created by two black women in the multi-billion dollar music industry that profits greatly from black art.

Community members and activists said the intent behind Blackout Tuesday and the separate movement Black Lives Matter is to bring awareness to what’s needed to make a purposeful change.

Activists say action is what sparks change and what you do can be small. They said you can seek out information on social justice on your own, referring to the NAACP, Black Lives Matter organization or use of force campaigns including Campaign Zero or Use of Force Project. Activists said you can also check in on others to open a conversation. Nationwide, activists said the purpose is to recognize that racial issues exist and educate yourself on how to be a part of the solution.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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