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NEW MEDIA VENTURES INVESTS $1.5 MILLION INTO THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES AND OTHER ORGS

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New Media Ventures (NMV), a seed fund and network of angel investors based in the Bay Area, announced that it is investing $1.5 million into 17 entrepreneurs, activists, and progressive organizations. One of the groups selected from a pool of almost 600 applicants is The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of more than 50 organizations fighting for black political and economic power.

“New Media Ventures is proud to announce our 2019 recipients, who together, will receive our largest round of funding ever,” said Julie Menter, managing director of New Media Ventures, in a statement. “These organizations are on the frontlines of our democracy, building the tools, platforms, and systems that vulnerable communities and progressive organizers need to make our society better for all.”

M4BL describes itself as a “leader-full movement” that focuses on policy, mass engagement, electoral justice, resource generation, organizing, and base building. The group launched in 2014 following the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice by the hands of police to ultimately dismantle systemic oppression and achieve black liberation. Funding for the group will be allocated toward the M4BL app, which will “politically mobilize millions, build the leadership of thousands, and move folks from online activism to organizing safely in their communities, so that black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas in the direction of a shared vision,” reads a statement on the New Media Ventures website.

According to a recent press release, NMV received more than 500 relevant applications from progressive startups seeking funding this year, up 50% from 2018 and a massive increase over the 100 applications received in 2016. Of the applications, New Media Ventures interviewed 98 and selected 33 finalists before finalizing 17 recipients.

“We have evaluated thousands of startups over the last decade, giving us a unique perspective on drivers of success in the field. We’re looking for the right mix of vision, persistence, and execution ability,” said the New Media Ventures Investment team.

Other 2019 recipients include Sunrise Movement, a group of young people working to make climate change an urgent priority in the U.S., and PeoplesHub, a progressive online platform that connects people to the support, analysis, stories, and skills they need to make positive change within their communities and in the world.

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Google’s Advertising Platform Is Blocking Articles About Racism

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, the Atlantic decided to recirculate King’s famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” which the magazine had run in its August 1963 issue and republished, in print and online, in 2018. Several hours later, the publication’s staff noticed that Google’s Ad Exchange platform, which serves many of the ads on the Atlantic’s website, had “demonetized” the page containing the letter under its “dangerous or derogatory content” policy. In other words: As part of its efforts to protect advertisers from offensive internet content with which they would not want their products to be associated, Ad Exchange had locked out one of the most important texts of the civil rights movement.

Google controls more than 30 percent of the digital ads market. A big chunk of that business happens through Ad Exchange, a marketplace for buying and selling advertising space across the web. According to its publisher policies, Google does not monetize, or allow advertising on, “dangerous or derogatory content” that disparages people on the basis of a characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination—race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. As the policy outlines, this might look like “promoting hate groups” or “encouraging others to believe that a person or group is inhuman.” Because of the scale of Google’s ad-serving business, however, it can’t enforce this policy on the front lines by hand, so instead the company uses an algorithm that, in part, scans for offensive keywords in articles. But the system doesn’t always take context into consideration. Several mainstream publishers, including Slate, have had articles demonetized under this policy when covering race and LGBTQ issues.

Read the entire article @ Slate.com

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Google adds ‘Black-owned’ business attribute to local listings

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Verified Google My Business profile owners in the U.S. can now add a Black-owned business attribute to their listings.

Business attributes are highlighted as icons when customers view a business’ profile on mobile, as shown below.

Why we care

Google said it has seen “a surge in online searches for Black-owned businesses” in recent months — a period in which the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum. Distinguishing Black-owned businesses in local search may help those businesses attract visibility in Search and Maps and gain customers.

“With this attribute, our goal is to make Search and Maps more inclusive and help support Black-owned businesses when they need it most,” Jewel Burks, head of Google for Startups U.S. said in Thursday’s announcement.

Google is also adding the new attribute to its digital skills training program Grow with Digital Coaches, an initiative designed to help Black and Latinx small businesses reach new customers.

Want to read the entire article @ Search Engine Land? Click here and subscribe!

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Support for Black-owned businesses skyrocketed to historic levels in the last 2 months, according to a new Yelp report

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Interest in supporting Black-owned businesses has never been so high, according to a Yelp report released on Wednesday.

Search activity for Black-owned businesses on Yelp increased by 7,043% in the last two months compared to the same period in 2019. Yelp users searched for Black-owned businesses over 2.5 million times between May 25 to July 10. In 2019, there were around 35,000 similar searches during the same period.

Justin Norman, Yelp’s vice president of data science, told Business Insider in an email that Yelp has never seen such a significant increase in support for Black-owned businesses.

Read more @ Business Insider

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