Plenty to mull over in digital this week, from the politics of broadband to the ethics of AI, by way of doing rude things with a chicken sandwich.

You couldn’t make it up.

Here are all the digital stories you may have missed this week.

Facebook fires its trending team

Late last week, a Facebook blog post announced that human editors would no longer be writing descriptions for Facebook’s trending topics.

An automated and personalised approach is intended to allow for scale, but in the subsequent days has publicised a false story about Fox News host Megyn Kelly, as well as links to a story involving video of a man in flagrante with a popular brand of chicken burger.

facebook trends

Google launches Uber competitor

Google has been running a pilot since May using Waze to connect people who need a lift to drivers who are going in their direction.

The carpooling service will be available to all San Francisco Waze users before the end of the year.

With pricepoints set to be considerably lower than Uber, the service is intended for amateur drivers acting in a more peer-to-peer dynamic.

Can it succeed? WSJ has more.

Corbyn’s Digital Democracy plan

Jeremy Corbyn, the UK’s Labour Party leader, has launched his Digital Democracry plan (streamed via Facebook Live no less).

Highlights include:

  • £25bn commitment to high speed broadband across the UK.
  • A digital bill of rights protecting user privacy.
  • Co-operative ownership of digital platforms.

However, the plan also includes some suggestions that already exist, for example the ‘digital passport’, which is essentially’s Verify.

Light relief was provided by Corbyn’s statement that some MPs don’t know how to turn their computers on, Corbyn’s own confusion of Wikileaks and Wikipedia in an interview, and also the imminent availability of Jeremy Corbyn emoji or ‘Jeremoji’ provided by Jeremy’s volunteer army of coders.

More fun facts from the New Statesman.


Big tech companies meeting on AI ethics

Researchers at Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have joined together to discuss the ethics of AI, specifically practical aspects such as the impact on jobs, transportation and warfare.

Though the details of the discussions are not yet known, the New York Times provides some background to the meetings.

For more on AI, subscribers can download Econsultancy’s report, Marketing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

EU blocks network-wide ad blocking

Mobile network-wide blocks on adverts, such as that trialled by Three, have been described as contrary to net neutrality by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

Guidelines from the body say network-wide blocking should be prohibited as Berec’s net neutrality states telcos “should not block, slow down, alter, restrict, interfere with, degrade or discriminate advertising when providing an IAS (internet access service)”.

Baidu bits and bobs

Plenty of Baidu news this week, some with a Western flavour.

  • Its AI, PaddlePaddle, will become open-source.
  • The company will be working with Nvidia to develop self-driving technology using that AI (e.g. high-def maps for cars).
  • Baidu will also shortly be testing autonomous cars in California.
  • Baidu is also working on its own Amazon-Echo-style smart home assistant.


New iPhone next week

September 7th will see a new iPhone launched.

Rumours suggest no radical changes, aside from the possibility of a multisensor camera (that could capture in 3D), no headphone jack, and improved battery.

A new Apple Watch may also be debuted. Watch this space.

Omnicom wins entire McDonald’s ad spend

Omnicom Group has won both the creative and media account for McDonald’s, ending the restaurant’s long association with Leo Burnett.

Bringing both accounts under one roof and dispersing the work through Omnicom’s specialist agencies represents a middle ground between the one-integrated agency approach, and the multiple separate agencies, each working on a different medium or specialism.

Significantly, Omnicom will be remunerated only on a results basis.

Variable costs will be covered but no margin applied, meaning Omnicom will be totally dedicated to tracking the success of its work. More from Mark Ritson

Final BHS stores close 

On Sunday, the final 22 BHS stores closed, ending 88 years of retail.

Meanwhile, the pensions deficit saga rumbles on.

Here’s some background on the collapse.

Keith Weed announced as Festival of Marketing headliner

Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever, has been announced as the third headliner at this year’s Festival of Marketing.

Weed joins Steve Wozniak and Martin Sorrell on the Headliner stage. See the Festival of Marketing website for tickets.

keith weed