Weekly Digital News Roundup: February 14-18

Weekly Digital News Roundup: February 14-18

Facebook Offers New Gender Options for Users

  • Facebook-skins-postAccording to The Washington Post, you don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.
  • Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
  • “Really, there was no debate within Facebook about the social implications at all,” said Alex Schultz, director of growth. “It was simple: Not allowing people to express something so fundamental is not really cool so we did something. Hopefully a more open and connected world will, by extension, make this a more understanding and tolerant world.”

Google Refreshes Page Layout Algorithm

  • According to Search Engine Watch, if you noticed a change in your organic search traffic or rankings last week, and have a high ratio of ads to content at the top of your web pages, chances are you could be affected by a refresh of the Google page layout algorithm.
  • Google’s Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that a refresh of the algorithm occurred on February 6, although he didn’t go into any detail on how much of an impact this might have.
  • As for what the page layout algorithm was specifically targeting, a lot of people are speculating that it might be affecting websites that seem to utilize the endless scrolling technique, and often with a lot of white space and larger than normal font size. It’s becoming more common in news websites, but the trend has been moving to regular sites.

Mozilla To Sell Ad Space In Firefox 

  • According to WebProNews, last year, it looked like Mozilla was about to declare war on the ad industry while the ad industry thought the non-profit had already fired the first shot with its decision to block third-party cookies in its browser by default. It didn’t look like things would get better in 2014, but interestingly enough, Mozilla now wants to work with the very industry it scorned last year.
  • Mozilla’s VP of Content Services, Darren Herman, attended the IAB’s Annual     Leadership Meeting this week to discuss the non-profit’s approach to advertising on the Web. As part of his speech, Herman announced that Mozilla would be     introducing ads into Firefox through what it calls Directory Tiles. In essence, Mozilla  replace the nine blank tiles on the tab page with “pre-packaged content” for first time   users.
  • Running a non-profit isn’t easy and Mozilla makes most of its money through donations. While it’s non-profit categorization will likely not change with this, the introduction of ads will give the organization a new revenue stream to continue its work.
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