In his first press event since ignominiously leaving office earlier this year, former President Donald Trump announced that he is launching a volley of class-action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, claiming that the three companies violated his First Amendment rights.
The suits also name Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said at the press conference, held at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club.
Following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, social media platforms swiftly revoked then-President Trump’s posting privileges. For years, Trump tested the boundaries of platforms’ policies around misinformation and even violent threats, but his role in the events of that day crossed a line. Trump soon found himself without a megaphone with which to reach his many millions of followers across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Trump’s fate on Twitter is known: The former president faces a lifetime ban there. But on Facebook and YouTube, there’s a possibility that his accounts could be restored. Facebook is still deliberating that decision after its external policymaking body, the Facebook Oversight Board, kicked the issue back to the company. Facebook now needs to determine the length of Trump’s indefinite suspension, whether permanent or for a fixed period of time.
Trump will be the lead plaintiff in the suits, which are being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The lawsuits seek “compensatory and punitive damages” and the restoration of Trump’s social media accounts. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the news and Google did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
The lawsuits have already had their intended effect of generating attention, but they aren’t likely to go anywhere. Trump accuses Facebook, Twitter and Google of violating his First Amendment rights, but the First Amendment pertains to governments censoring free speech, not businesses.
The three companies are also well-guarded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which both protects platforms from legal liability for the content they host and empowers them to make content-moderation decisions — including the decision to remove a sitting president from their platforms altogether.
Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster
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.
Our December 2021 product reviews update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete. We have also extended our advice for product review creators: https://t.co/N4rjJWoaqE
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 1, 2021
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.”
Continue Reading Below
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
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.
Continue Reading Below
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.
Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update
Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines
John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global
Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark
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