Monthly Archives: June 2020
- Google advanced search helps you get granular with your searches and deliver hyper-focused searches with the help of search operators (or a combination of them).
- For example, you can search for articles published in the last week by your competitors or discover internal linking opportunities you might’ve missed.
- In this how-to guide, Venngage’s Aditya Sheth outlines six Google advanced search hacks you need to know to master Google search and become a better SEO.
I have to come clean on something: I’m lazy.
While being lazy may not be a virtue, it does come with an unseen advantage: It allows you to look for creative ways to get things done without necessarily spending more time.
And as an SEO, I’m always looking for ways to get more done without working longer hours. Essentially: aiming to accomplish more with less.
One way to do more with less is to look for tools, tactics or even hacks that help you cut down time wasted and get more done, faster.
One of my favorite hacks ever? Google advanced search.
But what is it? In simple terms, the Google advanced search helps you fine-tune your searches to find exactly what you’re looking for.
This is an especially useful skill if you want to quickly pull up small-bits of information without always having to rely on tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMRush to do it for you.
In this how-to SEO guide, you’ll use advanced search operators to:
- Find duplicate content that could be hurting your site’s rankings.
- Uncover a gold mine of guest posting opportunities in your niche.
- Discover missed internal linking opportunities.
Before we dive into the meat of this guide, first things first:
A mini-crash course on advanced search operators
To keep things simple, we’re going to cover four operators I, as an SEO, use most often.
The first operator is the site search operator. What this allows you to do is retrieve results from a single website. All you have to do is type site:[any website] into Google.
For example, If I enter site:semrush.com, I will only see results pertaining to SEMrush:
You don’t need the http://, https://, or www prefixes when using the site operator.
That’s not all, you can even use a keyword in addition to the site operator to find if that site has written any content around that keyword.
Let’s say I want to find whether we’ve covered the keyword “infographic” on the site. I’ll enter “site:semrush.com infographic” and this is what comes up:
I personally use the site operator very frequently as it limits my search results to a single domain. Keep this operator in mind as we’re going to be relying on it later.
The next operator you’ll find useful is the quotes or exact-match (“”) operator. What the exact-match operator does is limit your searches to exact-match phrases only.
For example, here is a normal Google search (notice the number of results):
And now the same phrase wrapped in quotation marks:
Notice something different?
Compared to a normal Google search, exact-match queries will only show you results where your keyphrase has been mentioned exactly as it is (and not a variation).
This operator is especially powerful to identify if your site has any duplicate content that could be sabotaging your rankings (more on this later).
Last but not the least, we’re going to learn the dash (-) and plus (+) operators to perform laser-targeted searches.
What the dash (-) operator does is excludes certain keywords from appearing in the search results. So if I wanted to read about the topic of search engines but not search engine optimization, I’d use the following query:
By using the “- optimization” in my search, I’ll only see results about search engines and not search engine optimization.
The plus (+) operator, you guessed it — does the exact opposite. You can use the plus operator to add words to your original search and show you a different set of results.
For example, here’s a query I entered in Google search:
What did I do here? I used the site:, dash and plus operators in conjunction to show me articles that closely relate to search engine marketing but not SEO on the Search Engine Watch blog.
There are many search operators out there (too many to list in fact). You can find a much more comprehensive list of search operators on the Moz blog.
But for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to stick to the site, exact match, dash, and plus operators in this guide.
Six Google advanced search tips for better SEO
Using the Google advanced search operators above, you can access exactly what you’re looking for and spend less time searching for it.
Advanced search can come really handy especially when you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget for expensive SEO tools.
Imagine all the endless possibilities that lie in wait for you as an SEO; if only you got better at googling. Well, it’s easier than you think. I’ll show it to you:
1. Conduct basic but insightful competitor research
Conducting competitor research on Google is really easy. All you have to do is use the “related:” search operator followed by a website URL.
“Related:” allows you to find sites that are closely related to a specific URL. You can use related to identify not only direct competitors but also indirect peripheral competitors that you might’ve missed in your competitor research.
Not only that, the related: operator also helps you understand how Google is categorizing your competitors and your website.
Let’s look at what Google returns if we search for competitors related to Venngage
I already know the first three results are our direct competitors, but the last two are surprising because they seem to be indirectly competing with us (and I wasn’t even aware of them).
We’re an online infographic maker tool while both Column Five Media and InfoNewt appear to be done-for-you agencies. Google has identified and categorized them as sites related to Venngage which is an insightful find.
Don’t dismiss this advanced search hack because of its simplicity. Try it for yourself and see what Google comes up with. You might just come away with a better understanding of the competition as it pertains to SEO.
2. Stalk your competitor’s content strategy
Sticking to the topic of competitor research, here’s a cool way you can spy on your competitor’s content strategy: combining the site operator and Google’s date-range filter.
Let’s try this on one of our direct competitors: Piktochart.
To limit my search to only blog-related results, I’ll use Piktochart’s/blog subdomain instead of their website. And by the looks of it, they have 790 pages on their blog.
I can use the date-range filter (click on tools and filter by date) to further drill down these results to identify what content they published in the last month only. Here’s what comes up:
This not only tells me Pitkchart published four new articles last month but also gives me insight into Piktocharts’ content strategy and the keywords they’re targeting.
You can find even more data by filtering the results by days, months, or custom time periods.
I can even include exact-match (“your keyword” in quotes) keywords to find out how much content Piktochart has published on any given topic, which is a clever way to uncover their topic cluster strategy.
Let’s take content marketing as a topic for example
Using the site operator in conjunction with the date filters on Google search gives you information on:
- How much content your competition has published till date
- How often they publish new content in a given time period
- What kind of content they publish at a certain point in time
- How often your competitor has written about a given topic
Pretty cool right?
3. Unearth a gold mine of guest posting opportunities
If your goal is to drive quality traffic back to your website, pick up high-quality backlinks, boost your website’s domain authority and even rank higher on Google — guest blogging will help you do all of the above.
Anybody that tells you guest blogging is dead is either lying or in on it. Guest blogging still works, even in 2020.
Now that we’ve briefly covered how important guest blogging really is, how do you uncover guest blogging opportunities in your niche or industry?
Here are a few advanced search queries you can copy and paste into Google
- Your Keyword “guest post opportunities”
- Your Keyword “guest post”
- Your Keyword “submit guest post”
- Your Keyword “submit blog post”
- Your Keyword intitle:“write for us”
- Your Keyword intitle:“guest post guidelines”
If I’m looking to guest post for sites in the design space, for example, I’d use the following query:
Sites bookmarked. Guest post pitches sent. Fingers crossed.
Try out these search queries for yourself and you’ll be able to build a respectable list of sites to contribute for.
Brian Dean has the most exhaustive guide on guest blogging I’ve read (it includes a huge list of search operators that will help you find even more guest posting opportunities).
4. Discover hidden opportunities for internal linking
Internal linking plays a small but important role in the ranking factors that determine how well you rank on Google.
Irrespective of how well-designed and easy-to-navigate your site may be, a great internal linking structure can make all the difference when it comes to driving traffic from one post to another across your entire blog.
Internal linking also creates topical relevance by creating supporting content for the main topics of your website.
A few weeks ago, I published a mammoth webinar guide on the Venngage blog. I wanted it to start driving traffic to the post and rank for high-volume keywords immediately.
I got to work by finding out where I could link to our guide internally from as many relevant posts on our blog as possible. All I did was use the site operator and the keyword “webinar”:
Boom! Barring the first result, I found 47 internal linking opportunities with a simple search. And all it took was a few seconds.
You can even use this search query: site:www.yourwebsite.com/blog intext:”your keyword” to pretty much do the same thing.
This advanced search hack won’t be as useful if you’ve recently started blogging, but it will come in handy if you manage a huge blog that already has a lot of existing content.
5. Find duplicate content on your website
Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one location on your website and can confuse search engines when it comes to deciding which page to rank higher.
In short: Duplicate content can hurt your website rankings and it’s a technical SEO issue you cannot afford to ignore.
To show you an example of duplicate content, I’ll use this small piece of copy from the Apple Airpods product description on Walmart:
Using the site operator, I’ll paste the copy into Google using the exact-match operator. Here’s what I come up with:
The same piece of copy shows up on six other pages on Walmart. Things could be a lot worse but still, not ideal.
But if I were to search for the same piece of copy across the web (not just Walmart) using the dash operator, this is what comes up:
The same piece of copy appears on ~19,000 other websites (excluding Walmart). That’s a lot of duplicate content.
Duplicate content is especially a major issue for website blogs with 1,000s of pages or ecommerce sites with the same product descriptions.
6. Find missed content opportunities
One of the last search operators I’ll cover is the “filetype” operator.
Filetype can help you find non-HTML content on your site, such as Word Documents or PDF files. This content is often valuable, but not search optimized. And traffic to it doesn’t show up in your Analytics.
To use this search operator, simple type in “site:yourwebsite.com filetype:pdf” like so:
Then look at that content. Have you published it as HTML content? Is it search optimized? Is there an opportunity to make it a valuable, rank-worthy and trackable webpage?
PDF files are often the rust of the internet, added to sites because the content manager doesn’t have an easy way to publish actual web pages.
They should always be an alternate (print-friendly, download-friendly) version of HTML content. They should almost never be the only version of a piece of content.
Your turn to master Google search
Congratulations! You’ve officially made it to the end of this mammoth guide.
Google is far more powerful and robust than we realize or give it credit for.
Knowing what to search for and how to search for it with the help of Google advanced search operators will help you harness Google’s true power and in turn, grow your site.
Google advanced search is not only a fun skill that you can learn over the weekend. It can help you uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight and help you be more effective at your job.
The real kicker
Google is and always will be free. The know-how to fine-tune your searches will help you become a better SEO and pay dividends over the long term.
Has using Google advanced search in your day-to-day made you a better SEO? Which search operators do you use most frequently? Did I miss any advanced search tips? Drop them in the comments below.
The post Google advanced search: Six powerful tips for better SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
A big problem for companies these days is finding ways to connect to various data sources to their data repositories, and Fivetran is a startup with a solution to solve that very problem. No surprise then that even during a pandemic, the company announced today that it has raised $ 100 million Series C on a $ 1.2 billion valuation.
The company didn’t mess around with top flight firms Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst leading the investment with participation from existing investors CEAS Investments and Matrix Partners. Today’s money brings the total raised so far to $ 163 million, according to the company.
Martin Cassado from a16z described the company succinctly in a blog post he wrote after its $ 44 million Series B in September 2019, which his firm also participated in. “Fivetran is a SaaS service that connects to the critical data sources in an organization, pulls and processes all the data, and then dumps it into a warehouse (e.g., Snowflake, BigQuery or RedShift) for SQL access and further transformations, if needed. If data is the new oil, then Fivetran is the pipes that get it from the source to the refinery,” he wrote.
Writing in a blog post today announcing the new funding, CEO George Fraser added that in spite of current conditions, the company has continued to add customers. “Despite recent economic uncertainty, Fivetran has continued to grow rapidly as customers see the opportunity to reduce their total cost of ownership by adopting our product in place of highly customized, in-house ETL pipelines that require constant maintenance,” he wrote.
In fact, the company reports 75% customer growth over the prior 12 months. It now has over 1100 customers, which is a pretty good benchmark for a Series C company. Customers include Databricks, DocuSign, Forever 21, Square, Udacity and Urban Outfitters, crossing a variety of verticals.
Fivetran hopes to continue to build new data connectors as it expands the reach of its product and to push into new markets, even in the midst of today’s economic climate. With $ 100 million in the bank, it should have enough runway to ride this out, while expanding where it makes sense.
- It’s important to stay engaged with our audience during the crisis, and there’s a lot we can do to accomplish that.
- Low budgets, limited workforce, and lesser bandwidth for content production are some challenges businesses are seeing on the forefront.
- Roman Daneghyan shares four strategies to maintain your social media activity during a crisis.
Social media is a fun place where we can engage with our audience on a daily basis. You’re probably already familiar with the benefits of social media, which means you maintain consistent social media activity.
Unfortunately, during troubling times like the COVID-19 outbreak that we’re experiencing today, businesses often struggle to maintain an active social media presence. Your budget is low, the workforce is limited, and there’s usually little motivation to produce content with everything that’s going on around you.
Still, it’s not that hard to maintain social media activity during a crisis, and it is perhaps the only sensible thing we can do. It’s important to stay engaged with our audience during the crisis, and there’s a lot we can do to accomplish that.
Here are four strategies to maintain your social media activity during a crisis.
1. Repurposing content
If we are unable to create fresh content, we can always work with what we already have. If you had a well-built content strategy prior to the crisis, then chances are you have a lot of pieces to work with. Our goal here is to repurpose existing content into something fresh.
Start with what you already have: a podcast, a video log, a long-form blog article, a sales letter, anything works. Try to collect all long-form, pillar content that you have. Next, we’re going to use and repurpose that content to create fresh content. A vlog turns into a blog, a blog into an email, an email into a tweet, and so on… you get the point.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a master of repurposing content, he also popularized the content pyramid model that is based on this idea. Gary says he can create 30 fresh pieces of content to be used across his channels just from a single daily episode of his show.
Using a single piece of content, you can create fresh content for your social media accounts, and it doesn’t have to be a repost. You can repurpose a piece of content to tweet some bits on Twitter, start a discussion on Facebook, post an edited clip on Instagram, or share a concise blog post on LinkedIn. And boom, there’s your content.
Also, there’s no need to feel like a fraud for repurposing ‘used’ content. Most of your followers won’t remember your older posts, and they could always use a reminder, especially during a crisis. Even if we have nothing ‘new’ to say, we can still share our insights from the past. To give your old content a fresh look, you can add some eye-catching visuals to it. You can take the help of a web designing firm to create visuals that can get noticed in crowded social media feeds.
2. Make use of content creation tools
With everything slowing down, it’s hard to create enough content all on your own. In the past few years, we saw a lot of content creation tools and templates come to life, and perhaps it’s time to make good use of them. Content creations tools help us to minimize the time, budget, and effort needed to create content, and now we need them more than ever.
Depending on your needs, there are various tools to choose from:
- For research, you can make use of Google Drive’s Research Tool to conduct quick research, all it takes is clicking a simple ‘Explore’ button in the bottom right. Also, ‘Site: search’ function is another useful tool accessible from the browser.
- If you need help writing posts for your social media account, you can use writing tools like Evernote to take notes, Grammarly to catch errors, WriteRack to tweetstorm.
- If you want to post visual media then you have to try out tools like PicsArt. These tools are easy to use, and you can create great visual content in less than five minutes. Instead of spending hours on design, all you have to do is choose a template and fill it with your brand graphics.
It takes a lot of effort to create great social media content, but we can always make use of content creation tools to save some time or get a few creative ideas.
3. Utilize user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is content created by people rather than brands, which means you don’t have to create anything. Utilizing UGC is incredibly important for social media, and it can be used to fill the gaps in your content strategy. Brands may not be able to create their own content during the crisis, but can always rely on user-generated content.
The type of content you repost will vary depending on the media.
Instagram: The king of user-generated content, Instagram has all kinds of options for brands to share content created by users. You can repost to your own profile, share images on your story, and easily browse using #hashtags and the Explore function. Aerie is a great example of how this should work:
Facebook: Facebook is a fantastic network for sharing stories and videos with your audience. You can invite your fans to contribute stories, images, or videos and use it to invite discussion and engage with the rest of your audience.
Twitter: A great place to utilize user-generated content, Twitter makes it easy with #hashtags and the “Retweet” function. You can simply retweet users and add your own comments to spark a discussion. Food brands do a great job on Twitter:
when you don't get the toy you wanted in the kids meal https://t.co/dJc4yiAoB1
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) October 8, 2019
LinkedIn: Professionals love LinkedIn, and you can use LinkedIn to promote user content that’s relevant to your brand. You can repost the content or feature some users in your blog posts.
If you want to search for location-specific content, you can always use a VPN service to gain access to content specific to a certain location. This method helps you to understand how your audience sees things, and you can tailor your content to meet their personal needs.
4. Keep up with the updates
Posting relevant content is important, but don’t forget to post personal updates about your business. Your audience may want to know how you’re doing, whether there will be disruptions in service, and what to expect in the coming days.
To add on to that, make sure you understand your position during a crisis. If you’re in the middle of it, you can provide daily updates on how your local community is dealing with the crisis, and that’s a good way to build a relationship with your audience.
Lastly, don’t forget to show compassion for the victims, and you can even use one of the content tools to create supportive posts and remind your audience that you’re thinking of them.
What’s your take?
What do you think about the ongoing crisis and what is your strategy to maintain your social media activity in the upcoming weeks?
The post Four strategies to maintain your social media activity during a crisis appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Over the years, I have seen so many horror stories when it comes to PPC Management. Whether it’s advertisers flying blind with their ad budgets or the common event of not knowing that their ads are being shown with irrelevant terms, there should always 100% transparency between the agency and the client. Furthermore, there needs to be more HONESTY on behalf of the PPC Agency. In this post, I will talk about a few areas of the Agency/Client Relationship that should be based on being honest with the client.
Educate the Advertiser:
Let’s face it, the PPC agency knows more about PPC Marketing than the client. However, that does not mean the client needs to be taken advantage of because they do not know how everything works. The person handling the client’s account needs to “in many ways” educate the client as to what is working, not working and where there are opportunities.
Everyone makes mistakes, right? Well, PPC Agencies should not try and hide them just because they can get away with it. Agencies should be forthcoming with admitting mistakes that were made and how efficiently and effectively they were fixed. It’s better to be honest with the client, than having them find out later that you lied to them. Ever heard of a Referral or a Testimonial?
Honest and Factual Reporting:
Over the years, I have seen so many poor examples of PPC Reporting where clients receive an excel spreadsheet of just Clicks, Impressions, CTR%, CPCs, etc… and not a single keyword or text ad or even a sentence on the performance of the account. In today’s world that is unacceptable. Moreover, I have also seen examples of trend charts being manipulated to disguise the true performance of a specific metric. Agencies have a responsibility to provide not only excellent service, but also honest and factual reporting.
PPC Marketing is not for everyone and for those who are spending money have this perception that the more they spend the better the results. That is completely FALSE. If an client/advertiser was given any sort of Guarantee from an agency, they should “run for the hills”. Guarantees in PPC Marketing are very dangerous for both parties because they create false expectations. An agency must be honest and upfront with the client when it comes to setting expectations both on performance and future success. The agency must have a clear understanding of the client’s:
- Cost per Conversions/Acquisition
- Targeted Audience
- Messaging Tactics
- Daily and Monthly Budgets
Honesty is always the best policy in PPC. Agencies have a responsibility to not only provide excellent service, but also be honest and forthcoming with the client. I have heard countless stories of poor PPC Management, including the topics I mentioned in this post. Some may say that is good for the industry because it creates more “turnover” and more opportunities for other agencies. However, for this PPC Geek, I believe in Happy Clients.
AWS today announced that CodeGuru, a set of tools that use machine learning to automatically review code for bugs and suggest potential optimizations, is now generally available. The tool launched into preview at AWS re:Invent last December.
CodeGuru consists of two tools, Reviewer and Profiler, and those names pretty much describe exactly what they do. To build Reviewer, the AWS team actually trained its algorithm with the help of code from more than 10,000 open source projects on GitHub, as well as reviews from Amazon’s own internal codebase.
“Even for a large organization like Amazon, it’s challenging to have enough experienced developers with enough free time to do code reviews, given the amount of code that gets written every day,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “And even the most experienced reviewers miss problems before they impact customer-facing applications, resulting in bugs and performance issues.”
To use CodeGuru, developers continue to commit their code to their repository of choice, no matter whether that’s GitHub, Bitbucket Cloud, AWS’s own CodeCommit or another service. CodeGuru Reviewer then analyzes that code, tries to find bugs and, if it does, it will also offer potential fixes. All of this is done within the context of the code repository, so CodeGuru will create a GitHub pull request, for example, and add a comment to that pull request with some more info about the bug and potential fixes.
To train the machine learning model, users can also provide CodeGuru with some basic feedback, though we’re mostly talking “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” here.
The CodeGuru Application Profiler has a somewhat different mission. It is meant to help developers figure out where there might be some inefficiencies in their code and identify the most expensive lines of code. This includes support for serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Fargate.
One feature the team added since it first announced CodeGuru is that Profiler now attaches an estimated dollar amount to the lines of unoptimized code.
“Our customers develop and run a lot of applications that include millions and millions of lines of code. Ensuring the quality and efficiency of that code is incredibly important, as bugs and inefficiencies in even a few lines of code can be very costly. Today, the methods for identifying code quality issues are time-consuming, manual, and error-prone, especially at scale,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president, Amazon Machine Learning, in today’s announcement. “CodeGuru combines Amazon’s decades of experience developing and deploying applications at scale with considerable machine learning expertise to give customers a service that improves software quality, delights their customers with better application performance, and eliminates their most expensive lines of code.”
AWS says a number of companies started using CodeGuru during the preview period. These include the likes of Atlassian, EagleDream and DevFactory.
“While code reviews from our development team do a great job of preventing bugs from reaching production, it’s not always possible to predict how systems will behave under stress or manage complex data shapes, especially as we have multiple deployments per day,” said Zak Islam, head of Engineering, Tech Teams, at Atlassian. “When we detect anomalies in production, we have been able to reduce the investigation time from days to hours and sometimes minutes thanks to Amazon CodeGuru’s continuous profiling feature. Our developers now focus more of their energy on delivering differentiated capabilities and less time investigating problems in our production environment.”
Last weekend, the stunt aimed to use Silicon Valley’s love of shiny new things for charity. The result left people wondering about the memeification of movements.
Feed: All Latest
AWS today announced the beta launch of Amazon Honeycode, a new, fully managed low-code/no-code development tool that aims to make it easy for anybody in a company to build their own applications. All of this, of course, is backed by a database in AWS and a web-based, drag-and-drop interface builder.
Developers can build applications for up to 20 users for free. After that, they pay per user and for the storage their applications take up.
“Customers have told us that the need for custom applications far outstrips the capacity of developers to create them,” said AWS VP Larry Augustin in the announcement. “Now with Amazon Honeycode, almost anyone can create powerful custom mobile and web applications without the need to write code.”
Like similar tools, Honeycode provides users with a set of templates for common use cases like to-do list applications, customer trackers, surveys, schedules and inventory management. Traditionally, AWS argues, a lot of businesses have relied on shared spreadsheets to do these things.
“Customers try to solve for the static nature of spreadsheets by emailing them back and forth, but all of the emailing just compounds the inefficiency because email is slow, doesn’t scale, and introduces versioning and data syncing errors,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “As a result, people often prefer having custom applications built, but the demand for custom programming often outstrips developer capacity, creating a situation where teams either need to wait for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications.”
It’s no surprise then that Honeycode uses a spreadsheet view as its core data interface, which makes sense, given how familiar virtually every potential user is with this concept. To manipulate data, users can work with standard spreadsheet-style formulas, which seems to be about the closest the service gets to actual programming. ‘Builders,” as AWS calls Honeycode users, can also set up notifications, reminders and approval workflows within the service.
AWS says these databases can easily scale up to 100,000 rows per workbook. With this, AWS argues, users can then focus on building their applications without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.
As of now, it doesn’t look like users will be able to bring in any outside data sources, though that may still be on the company’s roadmap. On the other hand, these kinds of integrations would also complicate the process of building an app and it looks like AWS is trying to keep things simple for now.
Honeycode currently only runs in the AWS US West region in Oregon but is coming to other regions soon.
Among Honeycode’s first customers are SmugMug and Slack.
“We’re excited about the opportunity that Amazon Honeycode creates for teams to build apps to drive and adapt to today’s ever-changing business landscape,” said Brad Armstrong, VP of Business and Corporate Development at Slack in today’s release. “We see Amazon Honeycode as a great complement and extension to Slack and are excited about the opportunity to work together to create ways for our joint customers to work more efficiently and to do more with their data than ever before.”
As advertisers revolt, Facebook commits to flagging ‘newsworthy’ political speech that violates policy
As advertisers pull away from Facebook to protest the social networking giant’s hands-off approach to misinformation and hate speech, the company is instituting a number of stronger policies to woo them back.
In a livestreamed segment of the company’s weekly all-hands meeting, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recapped some of the steps Facebook is already taking, and announced new measures to fight voter suppression and misinformation — although they amount to things that other social media platforms like Twitter have already enahatected and enforced in more aggressive ways.
At the heart of the policy changes is an admission that the company will continue to allow politicians and public figures to disseminate hate speech that does, in fact, violate Facebook’s own guidelines — but it will add a label to denote they’re remaining on the platform because of their “newsworthy” nature.
It’s a watered-down version of the more muscular stance that Twitter has taken to limit the ability of its network to amplify hate speech or statements that incite violence.
A handful of times a year, we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm. Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms.
We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society — but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies.
The problems with this approach are legion. Ultimately, it’s another example of Facebook’s insistence that with hate speech and other types of rhetoric and propaganda, the onus of responsibility is on the user.
Zuckerberg did emphasize that threats of violence or voter suppression are not allowed to be distributed on the platform whether or not they’re deemed newsworthy, adding that “there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today.”
But it remains to be seen how Facebook will define the nature of those threats — and balance that against the “newsworthiness” of the statement.
The steps around election year violence supplement other efforts that the company has taken to combat the spread of misinformation around voting rights on the platform.
The new measures that Zuckerberg announced also include partnerships with local election authorities to determine the accuracy of information and what is potentially dangerous. Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would ban posts that make false claims (like saying ICE agents will be checking immigration papers at polling places) or threats of voter interference (like “My friends and I will be doing our own monitoring of the polls”).
Facebook is also going to take additional steps to restrict hate speech in advertising.
“Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
Zuckerberg’s remarks came days of advertisers — most recently Unilever and Verizon — announced that they’re going to pull their money from Facebook as part the #StopHateforProfit campaign organized by civil rights groups.
These are small, good steps from the head of a social network that has been recalcitrant in the face of criticism from all corners (except, until now. from the advertisers that matter most to Facebook). But they don’t do anything at all about the teeming mass of misinformation that exists in the private channels that simmer below the surface of Facebook’s public facing messages, memes and commentary.
The coronavirus pandemic has bruised and battered many technology startups, but it has also boosted a small few. One such company is Zoom, which has shouldered the task of keeping us connected to one another in the midst of remote work and social distancing.
Yuan moved to Silicon Valley in 1997 after being rejected for a work visa nine times. He got a job at WebEx and, upon the company’s acquisition by Cisco, became VP of Engineering at the company. He pitched an idea for a mobile-friendly video conferencing system that was rejected by his higher-ups.
And thus, Zoom was born.
Zoom launched in 2011 and quickly became one of the biggest teleconferencing platforms in the world, competing with the likes of Google and Cisco. The company has investors like Emergence, Horizon Ventures and Sequoia, and ultimately filed to go public in 2019.
With some of the most reliable video conferencing software on the market, a tiered pricing structure that’s friendly to average users and massive enterprises alike, and a lively ecosystem of apps and bots on the Zoom App Marketplace, Zoom was well poised to be a public company. In fact, Zoom popped 81% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq, garnering a valuation of $ 16 billion at the time.
But few could have prepared the company for the explosive growth it would see in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic necessitated access to reliable and user-friendly video conferencing software for everyone, not just companies moving to remote work. People used Zoom for family dinners, cocktail hours with friends, first dates and religious gatherings.
In fact, Zoom reported 300 million daily active participants in April.
But that growth led to increased scrutiny of the business and the product. The company was beset by security issues and had to pause product innovation to focus its energy on resolving those issues.
We’ll talk to Yuan about the growing pains the company went through, his plans for Zoom’s future, the acceleration in changing user behavior and more.
It’ll be a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14 to September 18, and the show will be completely virtual. That means it’s easier than ever to attend and engage with the show. There are just a few Digital Pro Passes left at the $ 245 price — once they are gone, prices will increase. Discounts are available for current students and nonprofit/government employees. Or if you are a founder, you can exhibit at your virtual booth for $ 445 and be able to generate leads even before the event kicks off. Get your tickets today.
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