Meta to Restrict Ad Targeting; Apple Must Allow External App Store Payment Options; $250 Surface Laptop Goes After Chromebooks; YouTube Will Remove Public Dislike Counts

Meta is apparently going to crack down more on potentially harmful ads…removing detailed ad targeting options for ‘thousands’ of sensitive topics on Facebook and Instagram. The changes should start happening by January 19th. Engadget.com reports that The move will bar ads based on interactions with content related to ethnicity, health, political beliefs, religion and sexual orientation, among other hot-button issues. Meta says they will also give users more control over the ads they say…providing options to see fewer ads about gambling, weight loss, and other delicate topics. They already offer limiting by users for ads for alcohol, parenting, pets, and politics. 

Apple has been ordered by the Judge in Epic v Apple, Yvonne Gonzalez, Rogers, to comply with an order to let developers add links and buttons to external payment options, denying Apple’s motion for a stay. According to theverge.com, Apple’s attorneys claim ‘It’s going to take months to figure out the engineering, economic, business, and other issues. It is exceedingly complicated. There have to be guardrails and guidelines to protect children, to protect developers, to protect consumers, to protect Apple. And they have to be written into guidelines that can be explained and enforced and applied.” Apple is expected to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay, but without such, the injunction will take effect on December 9th.

Microsoft is aiming directly at Chromebooks and their hold on school classrooms. Arstechnica.com notes that the new Surface Laptop SE will run $250. It is a low-end, 11.6 inch laptop designed for basic browsing, document editing, and remote learning. the SE runs Windows 11 SE, a cloud-focused version of the OS that keeps the look and feel of Windows 11, but lets school IT admins control what apps are installed and keeps most files and user settings in the cloud as opposed to on the laptop. Another feature aimed at schools (but one everyone really prefers): “vital components like the display, battery, keyboard—even the motherboard—can be easily repaired onsite, saving time and money for IT admins and schools.” Low end laptops running Win 11 SE are expected from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and more makers. Some will start at $219. They should be showing up late this year and through 2022. 

In a move aimed at taking the sting out of  ‘harassment mobs,’ YouTube will remove all public dislike counts. Cnet.com reports that the platform is doing this to protect smaller channels and newer creators that are disproportionately affected by the attacks. The change started rolling out today. Note that the dislike button itself is staying, and that will affect viewers’ guiding their recommendations, and creators will still be able to track the number of dislikes on their own posts. Facebook and Twitter rolled out an  option for users to hide public counts earlier this year, but that is an option…this YouTube count hide will be in effect automatically. 



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