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Twitter is donating $1M across two foundations to support journalism during the coronavirus pandemic

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Social media companies have been hard at work to make sure they play a helpful rather than harmful role in disseminating news and information about the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Twitter took an extra step beyond its own platform to put its efforts into the wider, already under-pressure world of journalism. Twitter announced that it would be donating $1 million equally between two organizations, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation, to further their work specifically related to supporting those reporting on COVID-19.

Organizations like the IWMF and the CJP always play a vital role — respectively in supporting the work of female journalists and in defending all journalists who are working in complicated environments or with tricky subject matter. But it’s in times of crisis that you can especially see how vital their existence is. If you look now on the CJP site, for example, there are a number of stories shedding light on how journalists covering coronavirus news are under threat, particularly in countries where governments are trying to suppress too much negative information passed to the public. It’s a role that is especially urgent to play now, given just how much people are turning to the news and the public service that journalists are playing in getting information out.

The fact is that journalists are in no way immune from the wider theme of the world right now, which is that this global pandemic has drastically altered nearly every aspect of our lives. As Vijaya Gadde noted when announcing the grants, “Right now, every journalist is a COVID-19 journalist.” And given Twitter’s deep link with news, this means journalists’ plights — with some risking their health if not their lives to report stories — are Twitter’s plights. “Journalism is core to our service and we have a deep and enduring responsibility to protect that work.”

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Indeed, the larger economic pressures of this public health crisis are a huge blow to journalism, which was already under a lot of financial pressure as a business. To that end, Gadde noted that the funds will be used in some way to help with that, “to ensure these organizations can continue their work in the face of new economic strains and to directly support journalists.”

Twitter is not the first social media organization to donate to journalism. Last week, Facebook also announced two tranches of $1 million each that it was donating respectively to news organizations for coronavirus reporting, and to fact-checking organizations to make sure the content shared on Facebook remains on the straight and narrow when it comes to being accurate.

“We are grateful for Twitter’s generous support. Our efforts at CPJ are focused on ensuring that journalists around the world have the information and resources they need to cover the COVID-19 pandemic safely. And we are pushing back against governments that are censoring the news, and restricting the work of the press. We need timely, accurate information flowing within countries and across borders so that political leaders, health policy experts, and the public at large can make informed decisions at this critical moment,” said Joel Simon, executive director, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in a statement.

“Right now, there is a great need to support our community of journalists covering, and dealing with, this global pandemic. Based on our decades of work with journalists who operate in dangerous and difficult environments, the IWMF understands the critical role that safety and security plays in the industry. Thanks to the incredible support of Twitter, the IWMF will be able to address the needs of our community of journalists more deeply and robustly. By supporting journalists from diverse communities, together we can support the most representative news possible in this evolving time,” added Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director, International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), in her own statement.

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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.

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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.

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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

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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