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Online platforms including Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google face growing pressure to stop carrying political ads that contain false or misleading claims ahead of the U.S. presidential election. Facebook exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking program, allowing them to run ads with false claims.
It says the two most dominant internet corporations should be compelled to abandon what it calls their surveillance-based business model, saying it is “predicated on human rights abuse.”
Google is making it harder for political advertisers to target specific types of people. The company said that as of January, advertisers will only be able to target U.S. political ads based on broad categories such as gender, age and postal code. Currently, ads can be tailored for more specific groups — for instance, using information gleaned from public voter logs, such as political affiliation.
Google has said that political advertisers will no longer be able to narrowly target users through their characteristics such as interests or email addresses, in a shake-up to its policies just weeks before the UK’s general election. Alphabet’s search platform said in a blog post on Wednesday that political advertisers will now only be able to target audiences by age, gender and general location at the postcode level. Google said it would introduce the rules in the UK within a week, ahead of the country’s general election on December 12.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. and Google were drawn into an escalating battle of wills Wednesday over the use of political advertising on social media.Trump campaign officials pressured Facebook to maintain its permissive political advertising rules, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced an overhaul of how campaigns may target their messages across the world’s largest search engine.The ability of candidates to show different messages to people based on their physical location, age, or other characteristic, referred to as micro-targeting, has become an increasing focus of the broader debate about political advertising online. Last month, Twitter Inc. said it will ban political ads on its platform altogether, and is restricting targeting for other ads related to some politically charged issues, like climate change.Google on Wednesday said it will ban candidates from targeting election ads based on people’s political affiliation, though the messages can be tailored based on gender, age and geography. The company also is eliminating a feature called Customer Match for political advertisers. The tool lets marketers upload their own lists of email addresses or phone numbers, and target ads specifically at those people.Facebook, the largest platform for online political advertising, has been under pressure to follow suit. Several prominent Democrats have attacked the company for refusing to fact-check political ads. Facebook has rebuffed those calls, saying it doesn’t want to police political speech. In October, hundreds of Facebook employees sent a letter to the company’s executives calling for new limits on ad targeting for political campaigns. The letter became public after it was obtained by the New York Times.Carolyn Everson, a Facebook vice president, said Monday at a Recode conference that the social-media company wasn’t considering changes to its targeted advertising options for political ads. Later that day, however, she told Axios, the news website, that Facebook hadn’t ruled out any specific changes, raising the prospect the company may change course and limit targeting in some way.The Trump campaign reacted directly to Everson’s comments. It sees Facebook as an essential tool for speaking directly to voters, instead of relying on critical media outlets that the president says treat him unfairly.Gary Coby, the Trump campaign’s digital director, argued on Twitter Wednesday that stopping campaigns from pairing in-house data with Facebook’s advertising tools would suppress voter engagement. “This would unevenly hurt the little guy, smaller voices, & issues the public is not aware of OR news is NOT covering,” Coby tweeted, saying it was very “dangerous” and a “huge blow to speech.”Tim Cameron, chief executive officer at FlexPoint Media, a Republican media strategy firm, said the Trump campaign is likely concerned that new restrictions could result in Facebook deciding to begin fact-checking political ads. “I think the Trump campaign is looking down the road beyond this decision and are actually more afraid of subsequent decisions that Facebook may make,” he said.Facebook hasn’t announced any changes to its policies. “For over a year, we’ve provided unprecedented transparency into all U.S. federal and state campaigns -- and we prohibit voter suppression in all ads,” a company spokesman said. “As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads.”During the 2016 election, the Trump campaign ran 5.9 million different versions of ads, constantly testing them against different groups to increase engagement, according to internal Facebook documents reviewed by Bloomberg in 2018. It spent $44 million on Facebook in the six months before the 2016 election. So far in 2019, the Trump campaign has spent more than $15 million in ads, and is the largest political spender on the platform, according to Facebook’s political ad library.Before Google announced its changes, the company touted its ability to target voters based on political affiliations, like “right-leaning,” as a major selling point. “They were all heartily selling us this for years as the coolest thing since sliced bread,” said Will Ritter, the founder of Poolhouse, a political advertising firm.Google’s new restrictions mean campaigns may have to spend more after losing the ability to hit key voters, Ritter added. For instance, a candidate could identify frequent Republican voters in Democratic-heavy areas of the country, and reach them with ads on search and YouTube. Now they can’t.“It’s just going to increase costs because there’s going to be so much waste,” Ritter said.Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who now works for Tech Inquiry, a political advocacy group focused on ethical issues related to technology, said the ability to target makes online advertising particularly susceptible to abuse. Campaigns can test messages on certain audiences, find which ones resonate, then use tools provided by Facebook or Google to target those people with new ads while also reaching people with similar characteristics. Misleading messaging can be directed at specific audiences without drawing widespread attention.“You can be seeing one message that seems fine, and your next-door neighbor can be seeing some misinformation that is cleverly targeted to produce a very different response or action,” Knapp said.Knapp said Google’s Customer Match tool could be used to target racial groups, or engage in other behavior that violates the policies of the platforms. The equivalent tool on Facebook, “Custom Audiences,” still exists.(Updates with details on Google rules in the fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Alistair Barr.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.com;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Websites and apps using Google's advertising tools will be able to block personalized ads to internet users in California and elsewhere as part of the Alphabet Inc unit's effort to help them comply with the state's new privacy law, it told clients this week. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on Jan. 1, requires large businesses to let consumers opt out of the sale of their personal data. Lobbying by internet companies earlier this year failed to have the law exclude personalized ads, leaving the most popular and lucrative online ads in jeopardy.
Alphabet Inc's Google will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday. The move coincides with pressure on social media platforms over their handling of political advertising ahead of the U.S. presidential election in 2020. Google said it would limit audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and general location at a postal code level.
The move coincides with pressure on social media platforms over their handling of political advertising ahead of the U.S. presidential election in 2020. Google said it would limit audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and general location at a postal code level. Google will enforce the new approach in the United Kingdom within a week, ahead of the Dec. 12 general election.
High-stake online travel agency competition used to merely revolve around how many tens of thousands of hotels, or homes and apartments each company added to its ranks during the previous quarter, and those milestones are still very much in play. But lately a new and somewhat more esoteric flashpoint has emerged, namely the connected trip. […]
U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren along with fellow Senators Richard Blumenthal and Bill Cassidy wrote a letter to Alphabet's Google on Wednesday to raise questions about its access to the health records of tens of millions of Americans. Warren and Blumenthal, who are Democrats, along with Cassidy, a Republican, were focussed on a business partnership that Google formed with Ascension Health.
Alphabet's Google unit said Wednesday it will impose some limits on political advertising by the beginning of 2020. The move follows Twitter's outright ban on political ads, going into effect this month.
Google Stadia, the subscription-based streaming game service, launched Nov. 19, and it’s already off to a rough start. Video quality, which Stadia automatically adjusts based on your connection speed, would regularly drop down for some players to 720p, well below the 4K resolution the service is supposed to be able to handle. Stadia’s response has been to point users to its website.
Venture capital firms are typically the main contributors of funding for startups. The app company, which specializes in integrating social networking and video into smartphone games, confirmed Wednesday that it raised $3.85 million from Supercell, Tencent, Riot Games, Miniclip and Colopl Next — all key players in the mobile gaming space. The effort brings Bunch's total funding to more than $8.5 million.
Finding strong stocks with solid growth needn't be a tradeoff with your environmental, social and governance values. Check out these 50 Best ESG Companies.
NetApp (NTAP), the data authority for hybrid cloud, and Google Cloud (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL) today announced the general availability of NetApp® Cloud Volumes Service, NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP® for Google Cloud, and support for Anthos on NetApp HCI to help organizations focus on innovation across any hybrid environments.
(Bloomberg) -- Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was in Tokyo Tuesday to inaugurate the relocation of the company’s Japanese head office to an expansive new complex in the trendy district of Shibuya.Taking up the majority of the gleaming new 35-floor Shibuya Stream skyscraper, Google has put its name on the building and dedicated two floors to a newly launched Google for Startups Campus, which is its seventh in the world and second in Asia after Seoul.Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the director of Google for Startups, said that the company will run an accelerator program early next year that will select 12 startups looking to scale up their work on artificial intelligence and machine learning, both critical aspects of Google’s current and future operations. She also stressed the importance of inclusiveness at an event where the Wi-Fi password was BuildInclusiveTeams.“We would like Campus Tokyo to support women founders,” she said, and that Google is proud that 37% of its Campus participants are female entrepreneurs, a higher proportion than the wider startup ecosystem. “So when they go to the next stage of growth, we’re behind them, we’re supporting them.”The Campus initiative extends Google’s effort to combine education and training for startups with evangelism for the use of its cloud and business services. Co-location with Google’s main office will make it easy for experts from Google’s developer relations and web marketing teams to make themselves available to help budding entrepreneurs, Google said.Joined by Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi on stage, Pichai said he had toured some of the venues for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, which Google will be supporting through its various services like Google Maps and Translate. “Ultimately, we want to make sure the legacy of technology innovation extends far beyond 2020. This Google for Startups Campus is one part of that,” he said at the opening.AI has been topical in Japan recently, with SoftBank Group Corp. announcing plans to combine its Yahoo Japan internet business with Naver Corp.’s Line messaging service in an effort to create an AI tech leader capable of rivaling U.S. juggernauts like Google and Facebook Inc. On Monday, Peter Thiel visited Tokyo to introduce Palantir Technologies Japan Co., which will use AI to make sense of large volumes of unwieldy data in the fields of health and cybersecurity.Google has said the move to Shibuya Stream will double its employee headcount in Japan to beyond 2,000. The company’s first office outside the U.S. was in Tokyo, opening in 2001. It said it has “invested heavily” in Japan over the years and earlier in 2019 committed to training 10 million people in digital skills by 2022. Its so-called Grow with Google program is the Campus equivalent for individual job-seekers and students.“At Google, we are deeply committed to fostering Japanese startups,” Pichai said.(Updates with details of accelerator from second paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Nov.19 -- Google's streaming game platform Stadia is now live. Access to games will start at just under $10 a month. Kenny Rosenblatt, Arkadium president, appears on "Bloomberg Technology."
Nov.19 -- Google is taking over a chunk of Vodafone Group Plc’s data operations to help make the phone company's operations more efficient. Google is vying with Amazon and Microsoft for dominance in the data center and cloud computing business. Bloomberg's Alistair Barr reports on "Bloomberg Technology."