The Edmond Sun

Business

June 12, 2014

Facebook making big changes to its advertisements

Facebook is making significant changes to the advertisements on its network, and said Thursday that it will give users more control over which ads they see on its network. The move comes as the company is also expanding its advertising program to include information that it pulls from sites users visit outside of its own network. Users will begin seeing notifications on their accounts about the changes starting Thursday, the company said in a blog post explaining the changes.

"Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like," the company said in an official blog post. "Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use."

Facebook does not currently show ads based on what users look at or buy outside of its own network — though it does partner with some ad networks that do. This change means that Facebook's advertising system more closely mirrors those of its competitors, such as Google. That change is significant, if not particularly surprising as the 10-year-old service looks for ways to pull in more regular revenue.

Perhaps looking to tamp down anxiety that Facebook will have access to users' off-site lives, the company is also releasing a new tool that gives users clear information about why they are seeing a particular ad. Ads on Facebook can now be more plugged in to the users' outside lives, drawing information from other pages they've visited or products they've viewed on other sites.

For example, you may see an advertisement on Facebook for a local winery and want to know why Facebook showed you that ad. Once the changes take effect, you'll be able to choose the "Why am I seeing this?" option from a drop-down menu on each individual ad. That, in turn, will take you to a page explaining why you were shown that ad. It may be because the business wanted to show the ad to locals between the ages of 21 and 60. Or the reason may be as simple as the fact that you had previously "liked" the business page of another local winery.

That page will also let you decide to remove that particular subject from your advertising profile. That means that "liking" a friend's personal fitness business page — just to be nice — doesn't condemn you to a lifetime of ads for weight-loss pills and fad diets. Users can also use the new option to get a comprehensive look at all the keywords that make up your ad profile and customize them as you see fit. You are the only one who will see that overall profile.

Rob Sherman, a public policy manager at the social network, said that the changes will roll out gradually across the site, starting with U.S. users. Individuals will likely see the changes take effect around a month after they read the notification, unless they explicitly tell Facebook that they don't want to participate.

Sherman said that Facebook sent out several surveys and ran focus groups to figure out how best to implement these changes and present it in a digestible way to its users. He also said that the company believes that a system that shows users ads that know more about them helps advertisers as well as Facebook. But he also said that Facebook has heard loud and clear that users want more transparency and control when it comes to ads.

"We think it will be a net improvement," he said. "We also know that some people don't want it."

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  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • Planning Commission approves rezoning

    The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district.  Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
    “They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”

    July 25, 2014

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council approves funds toward ADA update

    City Council members have approved a $398,800 professional services contract with Accessology, a McKinney, Texas, firm, to establish an Americans With Disabilities Act transition plan for the city.
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    Accessology was selected out of a pool of five finalists by a five-member committee to create Edmond’s plan. The firm will partner with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a design consulting firm located in North Carolina.
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    July 21, 2014

  • Panel approves jail services agreement

    City Council members have approved renewal of the city’s jail services agreement with Oklahoma County for prisoners incarcerated at the county jail on city charges.
    The current annual agreement expired June 30. It provides the feeding, care, housing and upkeep of said prisoners. Edmond uses the county jail when the city jail is at capacity.
    The sheriff’s office proposed a slight increase from $46.25 to a $46.50 daily rate per prisoner. City staff said the current agreement is working satisfactorily and believe the proposed rate is reasonable. The new agreement took effect July 1. The city can hold prisoners in its current jail  up to 10 days; a new jail with 10 male and five female cells will be available inside the new Public Safety Center next year when the facility opens.

    July 21, 2014

  • Panel establishes 911 phone rate

    City Council members have established the rate for the 911 emergency phone service fee for calendar year 2015
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    Governments must also through the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments notify the appropriate incumbent local exchange carrier and competitive local exchange carrier phone companies by Sept. 1, 2015.
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    July 21, 2014

  • Council approves $2.5M extra for utility

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    The action was needed due to higher natural gas prices. Those increased prices caused wholesale electric purchase costs to exceed the department’s budget estimates for Fiscal Year 2013-14. To cover the increased costs, a transfer of funds from the “Transfers” category to the “Other Services and Charges” category was necessary.
    It will maintain state law requirements and not increase Edmond Electric’s budget.
    The action occurred during Monday’s meeting and was approved unanimously.

    July 21, 2014

  • The Escape Edmond entrepreneurs sleuth their way to success

    Tripadvisor.com led Andrew Gipson to an industrial complex outside of Dublin, Ireland, about a year ago. The recent University of Central Oklahoma graduate was in the midst of an extended stay in Australia and the United Kingdom when he walked through the doors of XIT Live Escape Adventure Game. According to Tripdadvisor, it was the top attraction in Ireland. He had to go.
    An hour later, Gipson, 24, exited the facility inspired.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

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