Woman slams social media firms for baby ads after stillbirth

Updated 13 December 2018
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Woman slams social media firms for baby ads after stillbirth

WASHINGTON: A woman whose child was stillborn has slammed the targeted advertising of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram after she returned home from the hospital and kept getting baby-related sales pitches.
Gillian Brockell, a journalist with The Washington Post, said that if those social media giants were clever enough to know she was pregnant they should also have figured out she’d lost the baby.
She shared the bad news last month in a tweet.
“I know you knew I was pregnant,” Brockell wrote to the companies in a letter posted Wednesday on The Washington Post and Twitter.
“It’s my fault, I just couldn’t resist those Instagram hashtags — #30weekspregnant, #babybump. And, silly me! I even clicked once or twice on the maternity wear ads Facebook served up.”
“But didn’t you also see me googling ‘braxton hicks vs. pre-term labor’ and ‘baby not moving’?,” Brockell added.
“Did you not see my three days of social media silence, uncommon for a high-frequency user like me?
“And then the announcement post with keywords like ‘heartbroken’ and ‘problem’ and ‘stillborn’ and the 200 teardrop emoticons from my friends?
“Is that not something you could track?“
Facebook’s vice president of advertising Rob Goldman responded to Brockell apologetically, lamenting her “painful experience with our products.”
“We have a setting available that can block ads about some topics people may find painful — including parenting.
“It still needs improvement, but please know that we’re working on it & welcome your feedback,” Goldman wrote.
Brockell said she knew there was such a setting but that it was not easy to find at first, especially amid all her grieving.
“We never asked for the pregnancy or parenting ads to be turned on; these tech companies triggered that on their own, based on information we shared,” Brockell wrote.
“So what I’m asking is that there be similar triggers to turn this stuff off on its own, based on information we shared.”
She said that after she blocked the baby ads, she got ads on how to adopt a child.
dw/bp


Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

Updated 16 January 2019
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Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

  • The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties

TEHRAN: A prominent American anchorwoman on Iranian state television’s English-language service has been arrested after flying into the US, the broadcaster reported Wednesday. US law enforcement agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties, previously used as bargaining chips in negotiations with world powers.
Iran’s state broadcaster held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Hashemi, using the same techniques families with loved ones held in the Islamic Republic use to highlight their cases.
“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.
Press TV said Hashemi, who has worked at the state broadcaster service for 25 years, had been arrested after arriving at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday. Jebeli alleged that her son, Reza Hashemi, had been arrested as well.
Jeff Lea, a spokesman for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, didn’t immediately return phone or email messages from The Associated Press. Rebecca Wu, St. Louis’ FBI spokeswoman, directed questions to the press office at FBI headquarters.
A call to FBI headquarters rang unanswered early Wednesday morning. The bureau also did not immediately respond to a written request for comment. Several local jails around Washington that house federal inmates also said they did not have her in custody.
Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding US Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state TV that Hashemi’s arrest indicates the “apartheid and racist policy” of the Trump administration.
“We hope that the innocent person will be released without any condition,” Ghasemi said.
There are four other known American citizens being held in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father Baquer, both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges. Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, received 27-year and 16-year prison sentences respectively. Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 year in prison.
Also in an Iranian prison is Nizar Zakka, a US permanent resident from Lebanon who advocated for Internet freedom and has done work for the US government. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage-related charges.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission, remains missing as well. Iran says that Levinson is not in the country and that it has no further information about him, though his family holds Tehran responsible for his disappearance. Tehran now says it has no information about him.