1H 2017 Quick Links, Part 3 (Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb)


* Bloomberg: Google Now Scrubbing Private Medical Records From Search Results

* Search Engine Land: A deep look at Google’s biggest-ever search quality crisis

* Search Engine Land: Google launches new effort to flag upsetting or offensive content in search

* Ars Technica: The secret lives of Google raters

* Search Engine Land: Dear Google: 4 suggestions for fixing your massive problem with fake reviews

* Search Engine Land: Here’s how Google’s own ads impact bids & pricing in AdWords auctions. Prior blog post.

* Search Engine Land:  Google to further dilute exact match in AdWords; will ignore word order & function words. Followups: Seriously, Google, can you just make exact match exact? and What the data tells us about the death of exact match and its impact

* NY Times: Yelp’s Six-Year Grudge Against Google

* Search Engine Land: What to make of the EU’s absurd antitrust ruling against Google

* Search Engine Land: Google thaws (a little) on defamation cases

* Marketing Land: Locksmiths try again to sue Google over fake local listings

* Search Engine Land: How Google assesses the ‘authority’ of web pages

* Backchannel: How Google Book Search Got Lost. Also, The Atlantic: Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

* Search Engine Land: Google expands fact-checking effort to all searches worldwide

* Washington Post: He thought a book would stop a bullet and make him a YouTube star. Now he’s dead.

* WSJ: Paying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign. The Chronicle of Higher Education: Scholars Cry Foul at Their Inclusion on List of Academics Paid by Google

* Software Engineering at Google by Fergus Henderson, Jan. 31, 2017.


* The Guardian: Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence

* The Guardian: To censor or sanction extreme content? Either way, Facebook can’t win

* Facebook downgrades viral spreaders of fake news:

Our research shows that there is a tiny group of people on Facebook who routinely share vast amounts of public posts per day, effectively spamming people’s feeds. Our research further shows that the links they share tend to include low quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation. As a result, we want to reduce the influence of these spammers and deprioritize the links they share more frequently than regular sharers. Of course, this is only one signal among many others that may affect the ranking prioritization of this type of post. This update will only apply to links, such as an individual article, not to domains, Pages, videos, photos, check-ins or status updates.

* Washington Post: Facebook is going to show you news that you normally avoid

* WSJ: Facebook Agrees to Audit of its Metrics Following Data Controversy

* Palomino v. Facebook, Inc., 2017 WL 76901 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2017). The complaint. Facebook defeats a lawsuit over New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act because its Terms of Service has a California choice-of-law provision and California’s consumer law is as robust as New Jersey’s.

* Harris v. Dep’t of Revenue, 2017 WL 44935 (Ore. Tax Court, Jan. 4, 2017):

With respect to Harris’ deduction of entertainment expenses for activities with alleged personal friends, Defendant presented evidence that Harris is “Facebook friends” with some individuals that he identified as customers. Harris testified in response that the individuals are his acquaintances, not friends. On this issue, the court agrees with Plaintiffs. It is common for individuals and businesses to network with prospective clients and customers via social media websites. Harris testified that he spent years building relationships with this customers, so it is reasonable that he may have used Facebook to foster those relationships. The fact that some of Harris’ customers are his Facebook friends does not invalidate the business purpose of activities to entertain those customers.

* Oddee: 10 Most Heartbreaking Facebook Live Tragedies


*  The Switch: From #deleteUber to ‘Hell’: A short history of Uber’s recent struggles

* Susan Fowler: Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber

* Bloomberg: Uber Starts Charging What It Thinks You’re Willing to Pay

* The Recorder: Inside Perkins Coie’s Uber Investigation That Led to 20 Terminations

* NY Times: How Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool to Deceive Authorities Worldwide

* The Guardian: Uber’s ‘hustle-oriented’ culture becomes a black mark on employees’ résumés

* NY Times: Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture

* NY Times: Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin

* Wired: A Short History of the Many, Many Ways Uber Screwed Up

* San Francisco Chronicle: Lyft gets boost from Uber’s travails

* Adweek: New Stats Suggest Uber, Despite Its Rash of Controversies, Is Still Dramatically Outpacing Lyft


* Airbnb “voluntarily” undertakes numerous steps to curb discrimination by its vendors.

*  NY Times: Inside the Hotel Industry’s Plan to Combat Airbnb

* Reuters: Airbnb, San Francisco settle lawsuit over short-term rental law