Plus: Pinterest is getting serious about fighting health misinformation.
Facebook wants even more information about who’s paying for political ads. Facebook said this week that it will tighten some of its rules on political ads and will require more information about these ads’ funding, as well as verification of the ad purchaser’s identity. Users will need to give “their tax-identification number, or campaigns can share their own registration data from the Federal Election Commission, and Facebook will label them as a ‘confirmed organization’ in its archive,” according to the Washington Post. The new rules are meant to address recent political ads on Facebook that featured misleading or inaccurate disclaimers.
- Facebook can only go so far, it says: According the Post, advocacy organizations buying political ads on Facebook won’t be required to share additional information about their donors. This means that if Facebook users want to look into an unfamiliar-sounding group, they will have to explore government campaign finance databases.
Pinterest is getting serious about fighting health misinformation. Users who search for health information on its platform will now only see results from major public health organizations, like the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Vaccine Safety Net. The platform will allow results for 200 preselected terms related to vaccines, and it will not allow ads, recommendations, or comments on those pages.
- Pinterest has had a vaccine problem: In 2018, Pinterest cracked down on misinformation about cancer and vaccines on its platform by breaking its search function so that users would only see a blank page with a prompt that said: “If you’re looking for medical advice, please contact a healthcare provider.”
Apple is going to stop listening to your Siri requests. Apple is changing the way its Siri audio review, or “grading,” works on all its devices. In an upcoming software update, Apple will make audio review, a process the company uses to improve Siri from the audio samples of users’ requests, an explicitly opt-in process. Going forward, contractors will not be able to review customers’ audio clips, and only Apple employees will be able to do so. And Apple will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. It wants its customers to know that the company “respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place.”
- Apple is sorry for listening to Siri conversations: Earlier this month, Apple stopped its Siri review program after the Guardian reported that “some of the workers who were reviewing Siri requests heard personal medical details, drug deals, and more.”
Amazon is pushing customers to buy its brands over competitors. A new Amazon feature pitches the e-commerce giant’s private-label brand “right before customers add rival products to their shopping carts,” according to the Washington Post. An investigation from the Post found that when purchasing products like Glad trash bags, Dr. Scholl’s gel insoles, Energizer batteries, and Nicorette gum, Amazon would offer a “similar item to consider” prompt with a link to an Amazon product with a lower price right before the option to add a product to the shopping cart. Amazon told the Post that the promotion feature isn’t different from the ways other stores promote their own private-label products. Amazon also would not say if it is testing the feature or if it’s permanent.
- Amazon is already under the microscope: Amazon is drawing scrutiny from European regulators, which are specifically investigating “whether the company is misusing its dual role as both a marketplace for independent sellers and a retailer of its own products.” In the US, the FTC and the House Judiciary Committee are also investigating Amazon’s competitive tactics.
- On this week’s Land of the Giants, Recode’s Jason Del Rey asks both big and small retailers and sellers if they think Amazon too big. Small businesses and major brands alike rely on Amazon, but they are increasingly ambivalent about selling on the platform’s marketplace because of the fierce competition and declining profit margins. From a societal standpoint, is this a good thing? Listen here.
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Every telecom company can be hacked and “everybody should be suspect,” Huawei USA’s chief security officer says. Andy Purdy talks with Kara Swisher on the Recode Decode podcast about the pending ban on US companies doing business with Huawei. Listen here.
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Author: Kat Borgerding