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Facebook agrees to safeguards in ad discrimination case

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Russia bans Instagram and Facebook as 'extremist'

Facebook parent company has been renamed Meta. — © AFP

Facebook owner Meta has agreed to change its ad targeting technology and pay $115,000 to settle US government allegations the social media giant allowed discrimination in who saw housing advertisements, authorities said Tuesday.

Under terms of a deal that must still be approved by a court, Meta will use artificial intelligence to make sure ads cross demographics to reach people regardless of age, gender or race.

“We will be introducing a new method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad,” Meta deputy general counsel Roy Austin said in a post.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development had charged in 2019 that Facebook “unlawfully discriminates based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex and disability” by restricting who can view housing-related ads.

Facebook has become a multi-billion dollar advertising juggernaut with its large amounts of user data that allow companies to more precisely target certain demographics, but which have also prompted allegations of privacy infringement and discrimination.

While HUD accusations focused on housing ads, Meta will also put the new system to use to make sure ads for jobs or credit don’t discriminate, Austin added.

Meta has been working with HUD on a “variance reduction system” to prevent discrimination in ad targeting on its platform.

Meta had already made changes to address housing ad discrimination concerns, and those will remain in effect, the proposed settlement stated.

Facebook announced early in 2019 that it was revamping how it uses targeted advertising in a settlement with activist groups alleging it discriminated in messages on jobs, housing, credit and other services.

By the end of this year, Meta will stop allowing ads to be targeted using a pair of “special audience” tools it offers that could carve out certain groups of people, the settlement said.

Meta will also pay a civil penalty of $115,000 and let an independent third-party check to make sure it is abiding by the terms of the settlement, court documents stated.

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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