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Watchdog report claims Facebook and Google are failing to stop scam ads The tech companies need a ‘proactive approach’ to stop scammers, says watchdog

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, Paid Ads

Facebook and Google both have policies against advertisers who try to scam users. However, a watchdog report suggests that these policies need an upgrade.

Britain-based consumer watchdog Which? released an independent report on the tech companies’ efforts to stop scammers. In the report, they reveal that Google had failed to remove 34% of the scam advertisements reported by users. Comparably, Facebook had failed to remove 26% of them.

Both companies flat-out ban scam advertisements, but scammers often use sneaky techniques to overpass the sites’ rules. According to Which?, the sites need to crack down on scammers.

“There is no doubt that tech giants, regulators and the government need to go to greater lengths to prevent scams from flourishing,” said Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which? “Online platforms must be given a legal responsibility to identify, remove and prevent fake and fraudulent content on their sites… and the government needs to act now.”

Another finding demonstrated problem with the process of reporting scam ads.

Following a survey, 15% of web users admitted that they had fallen victim to a scam advertisement and reported it. Among those users, 27% had been scammed on Facebook and 19% had been scammed on Google. Nearly half of the scam victims did not report their incident to these companies.

Why not report? On Facebook, the most common reason for not reporting was that the user doubted that anything would actually happen. On Google, meanwhile, the most common reason was that the user did not know how to report as scammer. This, according to Which?, indicates that Google needs to simplify its reporting procedure.

“Online platforms need to take a far more proactive approach to prevent fraudulent content from reaching potential victims in the first place,” Which? said in the report.

According to BBC, a rep from Facebook said that “fraudulent activity is not allowed on Facebook and we have taken action on a number of pages reported to us by Which.”

Google said that it has removed more than 3.1 billion ads for violating their ad policies, saying: “We have strict policies that govern the kinds of ads that we allow to run on our platform.”

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Facebook Removes Support For Podcasts

05/03/2022

Facebook is ditching podcasts and plans to stop offering them from June 3.

The social-media giant will no longer allow users to add podcasts to the service as of this week but plans to remove them altogether starting June. Both its short-form audio product Soundbites and the central audio hub will be discontinued, Bloomberg reports.

These options were first introduced last April, as part of Facebook’s broader effort to promote social audio. That’s when Meta presented a range of upcoming podcast options: on-page display tools and direct connection options. Both were supposed to let Facebook users listen to podcasts from within the app without leaving it. In June, Meta launched its podcast support tools, with several launch partners.

Now, not even a year later, Facebook is shifting its focus to other initiatives.

We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so we can focus on the most meaningful experiences – a Meta spokesperson said in an email sent to Bloomberg. The person allegedly added that they don’t have a specific date on when Soundbites and the audio hub would shut down but it will be in the “coming weeks.”

Facebook will also cut the site’s Soundbites and Audio hubs and integrate its Live Audio Rooms feature into its broader Facebook Live suite. They also said they will not warn users of this, but will rather let creators break the news how they see fit.

Why the change? Probably because they need to save some money:

After the start of COVID, the acceleration of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth, but we’re now seeing that trend back off. However, based on the strong revenue growth we saw in 2021, we kicked off several 2 multi-year projects to accelerate some of our longer-term investments, especially in our AI infrastructure, business platform, and Reality Labs. These investments are going to be important for our success and growth over time so I continue to believe we should see them through. But with our current business growth levels, we’re now planning to slow the pace of some of our investments.

This might not be a big deal and some significant news for everyone, but as Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today noticed, it shows how Facebook’s focus can easily shift and ‘betray’ the creators that use the platform. What does that mean for future Meta visitors and builders?

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Facebook Launches New Novi Pilot

12/14/2021

Earlier this week, Meta launched a new trial version of the Novi digital wallet – this time, for use via the Whatsapp mobile app. Users in USA and Guatemala can now send and receive money right in their WhatsApp mobile app.

You might be wondering what the Novi app even is. Well, remember when Facebook announced the rebranding, the Metaverse, and how it will touch every product they build? It turns out this could be a part of it all.

Novi is a digital wallet that should enable people to send and receive money internationally without leaving their homes. There are no fees, and the process doesn’t last long. It uses blockchain technology and a digital currency called USDP – a cryptocurrency of Paxos – a coin that uses the Etherium blockchain technology and is attached to the U.S. dollar. So, 1 USDP = 1 USD.

According to Facebook, or Meta, if you will, Novi has been developed to enable fee-free, cross-country money transfers. If you decide to sign up, you will need a valid government ID and a video selfie. Then, you can add money to the account using your debit card and your contact list.

Things you should know

Novi is officially a regulated financial company from Facebook, but also has built-in protection against fraud and constant monitoring for suspicious activity. Yet, some regulators are hesitant to give Facebook more power and influence, especially considering the amount of user data they have access to.

For them, it seems that adding payment options is a step too far. That’s why Novi acts independently from Meta and wants to distance itself as much as possible, to maximize acceptance. Using Novi on Whatsapp won’t change Whatsapp’s privacy settings and should be completely safe, according to Facebook.

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