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Silicon Valley

Google Chrome now blocks ads—but it may be biased

February 15, 2018

While the search firm has built an ad blocker into its browser, some reports suggest that it’s a self-serving exercise.

What's blocked: As of today, Chrome blocks ads that don’t meet standards laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads. Think pop-ups and auto-play audio on your desktop, or flashing animations and countdowns on your mobile.

But: The Wall Street Journal reports that some industry experts are raising concerns about the blocks. “Google overly influenced the process that selected which ad types to block,” writes the newspaper; the company may have skewed things in a way that could help it turn even more of a profit from advertising.

Why it matters: The ad blocking is being billed by Google as a useful service, but if the reports are true, its motivations may be off. Regulators, especially anti-competition powers in the EU that are already out for Google’s blood, will be paying close attention.

Deep Dive

Silicon Valley

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history

What happens when the world’s knowledge is held in a quasi-public square owned by a private company that could soon go out of business?

Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over

Estimates from Bot Sentinel suggest that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended.

Former Twitter employees fear the platform might only last weeks

An ultimatum by Elon Musk demanding "extremely hardcore" working culture appears to have backfired. Insiders fear this could spell the end without drastic changes.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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