For SEO, staying up to date with Google’s recommendations is the name of the game, and while the EAT guidelines aren’t new, they’re taking on increased importance. [Read more…] about E-A-T: What Is It And Why Is It So Important For SEO?
The Internet Has Come a Long Way
Remember the dial-up days when your internet connection was a continuous phone call between the internet company and your computer? Dropped connections, downloads taking several hours, and picking up the phone only to hear those roaring staticky “bleep-bloop” sounds are thankfully a thing of the past. Taking into account both large and small updates, to say a lot has changed would be an extreme understatement. From when Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, it has drastically progressed at an exponential rate.
Google Implements a Visual Redesign
In the ever-changing landscape of the internet, there has been a vast number of major and minor changes over the past three decades. Efferent Media takes pride in keeping up with the latest trends and best practices. In this instance, although minor, favicons are visual to anyone using Google as their search engine. You may have already noticed a difference when searching on mobile because the implementation was seen there first, only soon to be noticed on your desktop, laptop, etc.
The intention of both changes is to make it easier to find the source of the information being provided. The first change is to the ad displays at the top of the page. We are sure you can recall a green ad identifier and URL or breadcrumb trail placed under the listing. That will now be black and placed above the listing.
The second change is to the organic listings. The green internet address or breadcrumb trail will now be black and placed above the listing as well. Companies will also have the added benefit of displaying favicons to their organic listings. The favicon is a small, custom image that is 48×48 pixels in size. The illustration below shows how Efferent Media has utilized the element.
To find out how your favicon can be included in Google Search results, check out this article. In case you haven’t noticed the change, below is both the old and new design of the Google search results page for mobile users.
Conclusion on Favicons
This redesign is a visually pleasing facelift to the search result page. Some SEOs are enjoying Google’s favicon mobile search results interface. They are under the impression the intention was to present ads in a manner where they don’t stand out, looking more like the traditional organic search results. Regardless of the speculation or reasoning, your company will now have more real estate to take advantage of on the search results page. Have you added a favicon to your website yet? If not, we’re happy to help you out by providing the proper information to do just that. Get in touch with us today for help with this or any of your digital marketing needs.
The New York Times report is based on hundreds of pages of Facebook documents that show its system for tracking partnerships.
Among the revelations from the report:
- Microsoft’s Bing search engine was allowed to view the names of Facebook users’ friends without consent and regardless of the users’ privacy settings.
- The Royal Bank of Canada, Spotify and Netflix were given the ability to read, write and delete users’ private messages. Netflix and Spotify spokespeople say the companies where unaware of such powers. A spokesperson for Royal Bank of Canada denies ever having such access.
- Amazon was given users’ names and contact information through the users’ friends.
- Yahoo was able to view streams of friends’ posts in the summer of 2018 despite assurances that it had previously stopped this practice.
- Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, and others could obtain users’ email addresses through friends.
- Facebook’s biggest partners had more access to user data than Cambridge Analytica did.
This is just the latest Facebook privacy data scandal. In April 2018, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg promised members of Congress in a public hearing that people “have complete control” over the information they share on Facebook.
The NYT investigation also features interviews with about 50 former employees of Facebook and its partners, demonstrating that certain companies received data access that’s very different from the public rules it says it follows. Facebook might have also violated a 2011 consent agreement it made with the Federal Trade Commission in regard to sharing user data.
Exploitation for Facebook’s Benefit
While Facebook has never sold user data because it feared a backlash, internal documents show that the partnerships served a similar purpose by allowing certain companies access to the social network’s data in ways that helped Facebook grow. Zuckerberg began setting up data partnerships early in the company as a way of growing it and avoiding obsolescence that that plagued social media networks like MySpace and Friendster.
Facebook employees said partnership decisions are handled at the highest level, frequently involving Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. According to two former employees, in 2013 Facebook built a tool to handle the technical work of turning on and off special access because the number of partnerships had grown so large. Facebook has integrated contact lists from partners, including Chinese company Huawei. American intelligence officials have flagged Huawei as a security threat.
The partnerships also enabled creation of a friend-suggestion tool called “People You May Know” in 2008. Gizmodo has reported cases of recommendations between a harasser and his victim and between patients of the same psychiatrist.
Facebook’s Director of Privacy and Public Policy Steve Satterfield claims that the partnership agreements do not violate users’ privacy or the FTC agreement. It says its sharing deals were disclosed in its privacy policies starting in 2010. Facebook also says that there is no evidence of abuse by its partners.
Facebook’s stock price has fallen as a result of yet another scandal. Some shareholders are calling for Zuckerberg to resign as chairman. Another group of shareholders have filed a lawsuit asserting that executives haven’t imposed sufficient privacy controls. Some users are calling for Facebook to be either nationalized or regulated like a public utility. Earlier this month a British parliamentary committee released internal Facebook emails seized during a lawsuit against Facebook.
For more information, see 5 Key Takeaways from the NYT’s Facebook Data Sharing Investigation.