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weekly news wrap up

The Week That Was: IT and Media major news check list

Big Tech and other companies must work on stopping monetization of disinformation, following a code of practice on disinformation proposed by the EU Commission. It calls for stronger commitments by the signatories and foresees a broader participation to thee code. It wants a Transparency Centre where signatories indicate which policies they adopted and a permanent task force chaired by the Commission. The Commission says it will also propose this year a legislation to improve the transparency of political advertising.

OECD published a report confirming the pandemic’s effect on people’s mental health globally, with unemployed and women taking the hardest hit. The pandemic has heightened the risk factors generally associated with poor mental health, such as financial insecurity, unemployment and fear, while protective factors – like social connection, employment and educational engagement, access to physical exercise, daily routine, and access to health services – fell dramatically. “This has led to a significant and unprecedented worsening of population mental health”.

Despite the pandemic, European digital advertising grew 6.3% in 2020 to Euro 69 billion. Typically, advertising markets react strongly to an economic downturn, but this time digital advertising bucked the historic trend, IAB Europe said in its ADeX Benchmark study for 2020 covering 28 markets. A total of seven markets had double-digit year-on-year growth. Turkey was the most dynamic with growth of 34.8% and is now in the top-10 European markets in terms of advertising spend.

The gender pay gap in technology is narrowing, although much work remains to be done, according to a new report by Hired. The gender and race wage gap is still prevalent, with Black and Hispanic women continuing to see the widest gap. Men technologists were offered higher salaries than women for the same job title at the same company 59% of the time in 2020, compared to 65% in 2019. On average, women made 2.5% less than their male counterparts in 2020, down from 4.4% in 2019.

The EU Commission and consumer authorities started “a formal dialogue” with Chinese-owned app TikTok about its commercial practices and policy. The initiative comes after European consumer organisations said the company violates EU consumer rights. The Commission has given TikTok one month to come up with answers. “Areas of specific concern include hidden marketing, aggressive advertising techniques targeted at children and certain contractual terms in TikTok’s policies that could be considered misleading and confusing”, the commission said.

The US is the country most frequently targeted by deceptive foreign influence operations using Facebook 2017-2020, the company says in a reports. The US was also second on a list of countries targeted by domestic influence operations in that same time period. The company said that since 2017, its security teams have identified and removed over 150 covert influence operations for violating policy against Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB).

Reuters postponed the launch of an announced website paywall after protests from the news agency’s biggest customer Refinitiv that wants the site to remain open and says a paywall would violate the agreement the news agency has with Refinitiv. Nothing was said about how long the delay could be. The new agency has a 30-year agreement with Refinitiv that pays Reuters USD 325 million a year for the supply of news. Refinitiv is using the news service to inform its customers, among them several global companies, about economic, political and market moving news.


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