Silver Beacon Spotlight #199
10 Second Takeaway: Facebook implements advertiser education and requires that advertisers affirm housing and other ads are non-discriminatory. Bing, meanwhile, reports on their 2016 efforts to clean up bad advertising. We also have great news from Twitter about their donate button, and we look at how to spot data chart distortions and other tricks in Digital Citizen.
Spotlight on Advertising
Following a similar announcement from Google two weeks ago, Bing this week announced that it had conducted a comprehensive advertising cleanup effort during 2016. The company rejected 130 million ads and banned 175,000 advertisers from using its services. Google reported that it had rejected 1.7 billion ads during 2016. The search companies are finding that criminals are using ads for fraud, scams, and to sell counterfeit goods.
Facebook announced this week that it has taken steps to require advertiser education and other measures that would assure that housing, employment, and other ads do not discriminate by excluding users by race. The ability to do so in Facebook ads was written about by ProPublica.com last October. Advertisers will now have to affirm that they have reviewed the appropriate information about discriminatory advertising and that their ad complies with all laws.
Our Take: We applaud the Facebook actions even though it is surprising that they took more than three months to implement this change. Advertisers who discriminate are the problems, not Facebook, but the social media company should have had stronger measures in place and reacted faster.
Google and Bing tout their automated systems which can sometimes yield a false positive about an ad’s content. But with 1 million ads on Bing attempting to sell counterfeit goods and and another 17 million ads that were placed for tech support scams, we don’t mind the occasional false positive.
New data released by Statista shows that people overwhelmingly choose Facebook’s Messenger and the company’s other apps over similar offerings from other companies. The number of monthly average users for Facebook’s two messaging apps has grown by 500 million users in just two years.
During that same time, Instagram’s monthly users grew 300 million, Snapchat’s grew 87 million, and Twitter grew only 31 million.
Twitter also is confirming that it is ending its ecommerce program that allowed advertisers to include a “Buy” button in tweets. Great news for our nonprofit clients: the donate button will still be supported!
Our Take: Pundits wondered if the president’s use of Twitter would save the dying network, but nothing seems to resuscitate Twitter. We’re happy about the donation buttons staying, but until Google figures out social, the entire social media and messaging landscape for anyone over 30 years old belongs to Facebook.
Digital Citizen: How Data Charts Can Lie
We are huge fans of Nathan Yau’s Flowing Data blog. (Ed note–George is. Data blogs aren’t for everyone)
Yau published a series of charts this week that showed how data visualizations can be used to misrepresent or present biased information. This is an accessible article for everyone. There are lots of friendly diagrams and comments that show how the graphs supporting the data can be misused–deliberately or by accident.
Read How to Spot Visualization Lies by clicking this link or their logo above.