In this week’s digital news, Facebook takes measures to decrease political spam, Netflix posts a subscriber growth record, Adobe unveils product updates, and more.
Facebook takes new measures to combat fake news
The social network is cracking down on two specific causes of concern ahead of the U.S. midterm elections. Most notably, Facebook will proactively halt the spread of political misinformation in regards to provable voter manipulation. This effort will entail the banning of false information about voting requirements, and fact-checking of reports of violence or long lines at polling stations. Facebook also announced an algorithm update which will demote links that republish content without permission. Essentially, the system compares the main text of a page with other text to find potential matches. These new measures don’t exactly give the company editorial license to decide which news is fake and which is real, but it does allow Facebook to cut down on blatant spam.
Netflix subscriber growth a record high
Netflix added 7 million streaming subscribers from July to September this year, setting a record for the company. This influx of users brings the company’s overall customer base to 137 million worldwide. Shares jumped 14 percent as a result, surpassing the predictions of analysts by about 33 percent. Likely responsible for the record growth was the release of the largest slate of original TV shows and movies to date. New seasons of “BoJack Horseman” and “Orange is the New Black” were among the releases. The international market provided the largest portion of the increase, coming in at approximately 5.9 million subscribers.
Adobe unveils plethora of new products at annual conference
Adobe released a brand new slate of products and updates this week at the Adobe Max Conference in Los Angeles. They took the wraps off Project Aero, their augmented reality creation tool, and released Photoshop CC for the iPad. The company also announced a new version of Adobe XD with support for voice prototyping and Amazon’s Alexa Presentation Language. Lastly, the company unveiled updates for nearly all of their flagship software offerings. Adobe After Effects, Audition, InDesign, Lightroom, Illustrator, Character Animator, and Premiere were all outfitted with new features. In addition, Adobe Stock has been revamped, helping users surface images with similar colors, content, and compositions. Plus, it has a new Copy Space filter which pulls up images that have room to add text.
Amazon accused of manipulating reviews
Amazon’s Vine Program, which gives users products in exchange for reviews, is under fire for allegedly favoring their own products. Amazon has quickly scaled up its private label assortment, using the program to gain reviews. It’s likely that users are providing positive reviews out of obligation for the goods received, and to ensure that they can continue to obtain those rewards. The company claims that they cannot influence, modify or edit the reviews, but the larger issue at hand is a matter of access. A large portion of vendors don’t have access to the Vine program, so they cannot offer users the same exchange of goods-for-reviews as the platform can. Since Amazon products can easily garner reviews, they rank higher in search results. Because of the system in place, Amazon products are significantly more likely to sell. For that reason, the e-commerce giant may have a problem on their hands.
Twitter under investigation for potential data privacy breach
Irish privacy authorities are currently investigating Twitter after Michael Veale, a privacy researcher at the University College London, filed a report. Veale complained that Twitter refused to give him records on what kind of data was collected about him. The concern relates specifically to usage of Twitter’s link-shortening service, t.co, and the possibility that this action drops cookies into user browsers to track them. Under the GDPR, users are allowed to ask companies to provide a copy of the data they collect. Failure to give users that right can result in a hefty fine. European regulators are already investigating complaints against Facebook and Google.
Published on October 19, 2018