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Michael B. Jordan is the Voice — and Body — of Amazon's Alexa in New Super Bowl Ad

If you’re the type of person to watch the Super Bowl for the ads, you’re in for a treat this Sunday, Feb. 7. According to Engadget, Michael B. Jordan — “Black Panther” star, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Lori Harvey’s official boyfriend, and the Internet’s unofficial boyfriend — has been announced as the voice and body of Amazon’s Alexa. The commercial, which is titled “Alexa’s Body” will make its debut when the Chiefs face off against the Buccaneers. It features an Amazon employee marveling at the new Echo model (which retails for the reasonable price of $100) before drifting off to a daydream. A bus pulls up outside, and the bus features an ad-within-an-ad of Michael B. Jordan advertising “Without Remorse,” a new series featured on — where else? — Amazon Prime. Check out a clip of the ad below: In other Amazon news, Jeff Bezos has announced that he’s recently stepped down as the CEO of the company, and will instead take on an executive role. Andy Jassy will replace Bezos as...

TikTok, Shopify Launch New Partnership With Campaign Celebrating Black-Owned Businesses

TikTok and Shopify are officially in business together, announced today. The new global partnership will allow Shopify’s over one million merchants to drive sales to TikTok’s young audience, reports TechCrunch. In addition to running marketing campaigns on the social media platform, Shopify merchants will have access to TikTok for Business features, including its ads management tool which will help turn product information into native, shareable in-Feed video content. To show off the partnership, Shopify and TikTok launched #ShopBlack, a campaign that celebrates Black-owned businesses. From Nov. 10 through Nov. 15, TikTok users can browse videos of over 40 Black Shopify merchants via the new hashtag. “TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the U.S. alone,” said Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify. “The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants—even those without a strong TikTok following of...

Niki McGloster

Oct 27, 2020

TikTok is Offering $100M in Ad Credits to Rebuild the Small Business Community

TikTok has been on the tip of many tongues lately. However, despite threats of takedowns and power shifts, the video-sharing giant is still providing opportunities for businesses to grow. According to Small Business Trends , TikTok launched TikTok For Business , under which the brand committed $100 million in ad credits to small businesses as a part of their Back-to-Business program. The initiative is designed to help boost brand awareness, alleviate marketing costs, and craft engaging creative messaging. Now, for a limited time, small businesses can receive up to $2,300 in ad credit. To be eligible for the ad offer, small and medium-sized businesses must sign up for TikTok For Business and register for a TikTok Ads Manager account. Eligible SMBs can claim a one-time ad credit worth $300, the site says. Any additional spending will be matched up to $2,000 per business. This year, TikTok has become an integral part of many businesses and individual creatives’ marketing plans. In...

Niki McGloster

Sep 30, 2020

After 4 Years, Facebook Finally Removes Illegal Racial Ad Targeting

After years of heavy scrutiny for using targeting tools to impose discrimination, social media giant Facebook has quietly removed the racial targeting option for advertisements on its platform, SFist reports . This ongoing issue with Facebook has been an advertising scandal for the last four years, according to SFist . The first instance with the platform was uncovered back in 2016 when it was revealed that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude users based on their race. SFist reports that website, ProPublica, then published an article sharing their own investigative report detailing how the new ad-option allowed advertisers to block a housing advertisement from being shown to Black, Asian, and Hispanic users’ feeds. Journalist Julia Angwin and her colleagues are credited for tracking updates on this scandal over the years and have committed to holding Facebook accountable in this matter. Thank you for the shoutout! It is kind of amazing that it took four years of reporting on...

Njera Perkins

Sep 2, 2020

Google's New Policy Update Addresses Misleading Ads From Anti-Abortion Clinics

Across the nation, several states — such as Alabama and Ohio — are enacting laws to severely restrict abortion access . As this happens, it’s imperative that those seeking assistance are not misled by false advertisements. Anti-abortion groups have a history of using manipulation tactics to trick those seeking abortions. These tactics include opening fake clinics and posing as medical professionals and manipulating Google results , so searches for “abortion providers near me” lead people astray. Now, Google is trying to stop anti-abortion clinics from using misleading ads. An update to the healthcare and medicines policy will require organizations running ads about abortions to certify whether or not they provide abortions. Starting June 2019, Google will automatically generate in-ad disclosures letting people know whether an organization “Provides abortions” or “Does not provide abortions.” According to the policy, Google plans to decide who gets which disclaimer through a...

Vanessa Taylor

May 22, 2019

Amazon Mistakenly Told Sellers It Was Removing Ads With Religious Content

If you want to make it as a seller on Amazon, then you have to utilize ads. However, a group of sellers may have just taken a big hit on their sales, thanks to Amazon’s own error. Amazon employees have mistakenly removed ads with religious content, according to CNBC . Multiple sellers told the outlet that an email said their ads were blocked because of a “new policy update” that involves banning ads with “religious content.” Banning religious content in ads doesn’t make sense on a platform like Amazon because sellers have to depend on ads. That’s essentially saying anything with religious content can’t be sold on the site. Now, Amazon says that it was all a mix up on the employee’s end. A spokesperson told CNBC that the email contained “inaccurate information” and there were not any changes made to policies. The spokesperson also said corrective training is being provided. Over the past few years, Amazon has put a lot of focus into increasing its ad business. In 2018, the company...

Vanessa Taylor

May 13, 2019

A Major Advertising Group Is Calling On Tech Companies To Get Their Act Together When It Comes To Harmful Content

After the Christchurch shooting was allowed to livestream on Facebook and subsequently spread across social media , governments around the world have put pressure on big tech companies to answer for it. Now, it seems advertisers have lost their patience and are calling for companies to present solid plans for change. Recently, Mastercard’s CMO and president of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Raja Rajamannar called on the group to put pressure on tech companies to prevent platforms from being “hijacked by those with malicious intent,” as reported by CNBC . The WFA is a massive player in the marketing world. The group — whose buying power nears a trillion — contains members like PepsiCo, P&G, and Diageo. Rajamannar says the call is about more than just a “brand safety issue.” In an interview with CNBC, he explained, “It’s a societal safety issue, and as marketers we have a responsibility to society.” Rajamannar also told CNBC: “Do you want live streaming of a shooting...

Vanessa Taylor

Apr 22, 2019

Facebook Introduces New Tool That Explains Why Certain Posts Appear On Your News Feed

It’s not uncommon to scroll through Facebook and wonder why the heck you’re seeing a specific post. Now, Facebook is introducing a tool to help answer that question. “News Feed is always personalized to you — and starting today you’ll have even more information and control over your experience,” Facebook’s product manager, Ramya Sethuraman, wrote in a blog post . Found in the drop-down menu in the right-hand corner of a post, the new “Why am I seeing this post?” feature does exactly what its name suggests. It’ll explain how your past interactions impacted the ranking of posts in your newsfeed and will also tell you why you’re seeing certain posts. According to Sethuraman, users said that transparency into News Feed algorithms wasn’t enough without people being given control over it. So, the new feature also allows people to take action and manage what they see in their News Feed. In addition, Facebook has made improvements to its “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature. The tool was...

Vanessa Taylor

Apr 2, 2019

Salesforce Sued By 50 Women Alleging It Helped Backpage In Sex Trafficking

Salesforce is being sued by 50 women who alleged the company profited by helping Backpage participate in sex trafficking, as reported by CNBC . The lawsuit — which was filed Monday in Superior Court in San Francisco — claims that Salesforce’s data tools were utilized by Backpage and provided the “backbone” of its exponential growth. “With Salesforce’s guidance, Backpage was able to use Salesforce’s tools to market to new “users” — that is, pimps, johns, and traffickers — on three continents,” the lawsuit claims. A Salesforce spokesperson wouldn’t comment on pending litigation, but told CNBC, “We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously.” Salesforce is known to have a sort of social justice profile. On the same day that the lawsuit was filed, the Red Cross of the Bay Area named Salesforce 2019 Humanitarian Company of the Year . Backpage was a classified ad site that was seized by U.S. authorities in April 2018 . The site...

Vanessa Taylor

Mar 28, 2019

Facebook Hit With Housing Discrimination Charges From the US Government

Facebook has gotten away with a lot — from continuous privacy breaches to questionable advertising systems — but it seems the government’s patience is wearing thin. Today, the Department of Housing and Urban development hit Facebook with a lawsuit , saying the social media giant participates in housing discrimination. HUD’s actions are a follow up to a complaint filed in August 2018 , that stated there was evidence to believe Facebook violated the Fair Housing Act. According to a press release , HUD alleges that Facebook’s ad system unlawfully discriminates by barring certain people from seeing listings. In addition, HUD says that Facebook gathers data about users, which it then uses to figure out which of its users can view housing-related ads. “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in...

Vanessa Taylor

Mar 28, 2019

Facebook Settles Historic Civil Rights Lawsuit Alleging Discriminatory Ad Practices

Facebook has settled a civil rights lawsuit that alleged the company participated in discriminatory ad practices. Facebook’s ad targeting system allows companies to exclude certain groups from seeing ads for things like housing and jobs. The settlement will require the company to essentially overhaul it’s ad system, which is its major money maker. It’s a first of kind settlement and one that could have huge implications for the company moving forward. The company will create a separate space on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger for advertisers who are making job, housing, or credit ads. Within that space, Facebook will get rid of targeted advertisement that allowed people to target ads based on age, gender, and options associated with “protected characteristics or groups” according to the ACLU . People won’t be able to target ads based on a ZIP code or geographic area that’s less than a 15-mile radius. And, when developing “Lookalike” audiences for advertisers, Facebook will stop...

Vanessa Taylor

Mar 20, 2019

Facebook Announces Plans to Manage Anti-Vaccine Misinformation

Facebook announced Thursday in a blog post that it is actively curbing anti-vaccine misinformation on its platform. The company said it will be providing its users with “authoritative” information on vaccines. Facebook said it will now remove ads that have vaccine misinformation and repeated violators’ accounts will be disabled. Groups and pages that promote anti-vaxer talking points will be subject to reduced rankings, and removed from suggested content and searches. The policies will also extend to Instagram. Ads and other content that contain vaccine misinformation will not be suggested on the platform’s discover and hashtag pages. Facebook is using studies and research provided by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify vaccine hoaxes in order to better keep track of misinformation campaigns. “We also believe in providing people with additional context so they can decide whether to read, share, or engage in conversations...

Arriana McLymore

Mar 8, 2019

Google's new policy will ban ads for bail bonds services

For-profit bail bond services have been proven to make most of their money on the backs of people of color and low-income communities . The offers they provide often leave customers in crippling debt when they’re already in vulnerable positions. But Google just announced a new policy that will ban ads for these services from all of its platforms. Google removed more than three billion ads last year if found to be harmful or misleading. And this new policy continues that work. “We made this decision based on our commitment to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products, but the issue of bail bond reform has drawn support from a wide range of groups and organizations who have shared their work and perspectives with us,” said David Graff, Google’s Senior Director of Global Product Policy. Read more in a blog posted by Graff here . This move is one that demonstrates how Google is continuing to work to keep the advertising space ethical and show consciousness of social issues....