- Google Generates $4.7bn From News Contents in 2018
Google, the world’s largest search engine, generated $4.7 billion in 2018 from news contents created by other publishers but crawled by its search engine and accessed via Google Search and News.
A report compiled by News Media Alliance, a nonprofit organisation representing more than 2,000 news platforms in the United States and across the world, showed news account for 16-40 percent of Google search, suggesting that Google now depends on news contents to push its products using Artificial Intelligence.
The company received an estimated $4.7 billion from crawling and scraping news created by others — without paying them for that use, News Media Alliance stated on Monday.
Davide Chavern, the President & CEO News Media, said: “News publishers need to continue to invest in quality journalism, and they can’t do that if the platforms take what they want without paying for it. Information wants to be free, but reporters need to get paid.”
According to NMA, traffic from Google Search to news websites (publishers) rose by more than 25 percent to 1.6 billion per week between January 2017 and January 2018. Meaning, consumers are shifting towards Google for news consumption instead of the original content creators.
In fact, the report showed that the number of unique monthly visitors to Google News from the U.S. was higher than top news websites like The New York Times, CNN and Huffington post in 2018.
“The findings clearly point to Google responding to an increase in consumers searching for news, creating and tailoring products that keep users within its ecosystem. This means more money goes back to Google and not the publishers producing the content,” Chavern stated.
“We have called for legislation that would provide a limited safe harbor for news publishers to be able to collectively negotiate for better terms with platforms such as Google and Facebook,” Chavern said.
“This is the only solution to correcting the current marketplace imbalance, which allows the platforms to dominate the web and related advertising infrastructure, as well as control who sees publishers’ content and when.”
While it is hard to succinctly determine the revenue generated by Google from publishers’ contents given various ways it uses their contents, experts believe the number may be higher because of how Google uses news contents for product development, trained its Artificial Intelligence to engage users via preference collected from their internet browsers to keep them within the Google ecosystem.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Should be Paused in U.S. After ‘Extremely Rare’ Blood Clots, FDA and CDC Say
Federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a small number of people experienced “a rare and severe type of blood clot” after receiving the shot.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement saying they were “recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.”
Some 6.8 million people have received the single-shot vaccine in the United States. Of these, six have experienced the clot, the agencies said, adding: “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
“The CDC and the FDA are taking these concerns about blood clots and the J&J vaccine seriously and are diligently assembling data,” the official said.
An expert outside the government who is familiar with the situation agreed that health officials are taking the matter seriously.
“The CDC is very concerned and they’re very working hard on this and monitoring this closely,” said the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
There have been “four serious cases of unusual blood clots” reported after people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to European health authorities. Like their US counterparts, the European authorities say they’re still investigating these cases and that “it is currently not clear” whether there’s a causal association between the vaccine and the clots.
The concern in the United States isn’t just about the Johnson & Johnson shot per se. At a time when US health officials are encouraging Americans to get vaccinated as soon as they can, there’s a worry that news coverage about clots being studied in relation to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine might make some Americans more hesitant to get any Covid-19 vaccine.
Vaccine hesitancy is already an issue in the US, and officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are “thinking through how to communicate about the issue without creating the impression that something might be wrong with the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine,” the federal health official said.
Another expert familiar with the situation said that was the right approach, stressing the importance of communicating without scaring people.
“I would hope that HHS is having a confab about this right now,” the expert said, referring to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said its tracking of side effects revealed “a small number of very rare events following vaccination. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the [Johnson & Johson] COVID-19 vaccine.”
The FDA released a statement last week that it was aware of reports of “serious thromboembolic events” in the US that occurred “in a few individuals following receipt of the [Johnson & Johnson] COVID-19 vaccine” and that “at this time we have not found a causal relationship with vaccination.”
36 Million Electricity Meters To Be Installed in Nigeria
Nigeria’s Federal Government plans to install over 36 million electricity meters across the country by the end of the second quarter of 2021.
These efforts according to government, will restore confidence and trust in the power sector as consumers of electricity would no longer be extorted through an estimated billing system that does not match consumption.
Speaking at the inspection of the meter testing facility of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) in Enugu, the Minister of State Power, Gody Jeddy Agba, expressed satisfaction at the level of work and installation of state-of-the-art equipment that will process durability and certify fit for use all electricity meters imported into the country.
Agba said the power sector reforms of the present administration have to deal with new methods of boosting generation, transmission and distribution. He said adequate power supply in the country will translate to statistical economic growth and development of the gross domestic product GDP, which is all time high within the last one month.
The Minister said the NEMSA plant and testing facility in Enugu is one of the strategy implementation plans of the federal government to discard mediocrity and lack of competence in handling government business, especially at a time the country has to play a vital and pivotal role in the African economy.
“The benefits that accrue from the planned inauguration of the meter testing plant and facility stem from the fact that substandard meters that are inflammable will be eliminated from circulation, economic dumping of inferior goods by other countries as practiced in the past will no longer be tolerated by the authorities concerned, and above all, the estimated billing system will come with a penalty to whoever served the bill to consumers,” he said.
At the event in Enugu, the Minister said he came to see the level of preparedness of NEMSA to commence operations urgently, in compliance with the federal government directives that 36 million electricity consumers in Nigeria must be metered before the end of quarter two in 2021.
Agba stressed that the federal government’s commitment and concern for the power sector is unwavering, amidst financial constraints, but determined to ensure that the power sector is revamped and resuscitated to give a corresponding growth to the manufacturing and industrial sub-sectors of the economy, comparing the global growth of some sectors in countries with adequate power supply.
NEMSA chief electrical officer of the federation and managing director, Peter Ewosa, declared that all electricity meters imported into the country must be tested at the point of entry to certify their technical fitness before installation.
Ewosa said the meter testing station was established as a quality control mechanism for the power sector to thrive, in line with the mandate of the agency which states clearly that no meter can be deployed or installed and put into use until it has been tested and seen to have met the requirements and technical capability set by the Nigerian government.
“Every country has its technical requirements and standard specifications for any equipment that is publicly or privately put into use, therefore, any meter that does not pass through the agency cannot be installed either at homes, offices and factories,” said Ewosa.
Polytechnics Remain Shut as FG, ASUP’s Hits Wall
ASUP had declared an indefinite strike last Tuesday over alleged poor funding and neglect of the institutions.
However, the union has kicked against the appointment of principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics.
When THISDAY sought for an update on the ongoing strike, the President of ASUP, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the union had not been invited for negotiations by the federal government.
He said since the last meeting they held on Tuesday with the Federal Ministry of Education, which yielded no positive outcome, the union had not been invited for talks again.
“You know we held a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education last Tuesday but since that time, all we have been hearing was that there will be meeting but we are yet to get an invitation,” he added.
Also, it was gathered from a source at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that the ministry can only wade into the matter if the Ministry of Education refers the issue to it for conciliation.
However, the dispute has deepened as ASUP has kicked against the appointments of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics, saying it did not meet the required standards.
In a statement by Ezeibe, the union said: “Our union’s attention has been drawn to a recent press statement from the Federal Ministry of Education announcing the appointment of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics situated in Enugu, Oyo, Cross River, Plateau, Borno and Benue states.”
The union stated that the appointments violated provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019, adding that five out of the six new rectors were not qualified for the position having fallen short of the requirements captured in Section 8, 2 (a) (i )of the Act.
Ezeibe said the profiles of the appointees showed that five out of the six persons did not fit into the requirements of the law for the appointment of rectors in federal polytechnics.
According to him, these beneficiaries include the appointees for federal polytechnics Ohodo (Enugu), Ugep (Cross River), Shendam (Plateau), Monguno (Borno), and Wannune (Benue) .
“It is regrettable that the government, through officials of the Federal Ministry of Education has become principal violators of the laws governing the operations of Nigerian polytechnics.
“This latest assault is despite the contents of a recent ruling of the National Industrial Court in Abuja where the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019 was affirmed by the court and the Federal Ministry of Education and her officials undertaking to observe the provisions in totality.
“Despite the contents of the judgment of the court in NICN/ABJ/12/2020 involving our union and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister for Education and five others in a similar issue, our union had drawn the attention of the Federal Ministry of Education on the need to adhere to the provisions of the law in this appointment process more than a month before this recent naked display of impunity,” he added.
Ezeibe said part of the union’s current engagement with the government was to reverse the trend of administering polytechnics outside extant laws and regulations.
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