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theEweekly Wrap: Page layout, paid tweets and the Pope

Vatican hacked The website of the Vatican was hacked on Wednesday by individuals claiming to be affiliated with hacktivist group Anonymous. The site, www.vatican.va, was unresponsive for the best part of a day, while emails to and from the domain were also reportedly blocked. Meanwhile, a statement was released by the Italian branch of Anonymous saying “Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world”.

However, many believe the attack was linked to the arrest of several alleged hackers on Tuesday. One is said to be a member of Anonymous, while others are part of splinter group Lulz Sec; the hacktivists are known for DDoS retaliation attacks, so it’s certainly a possibility. Furthermore, Spanish anti-virus manufacturer Panda Labs was also targeted on Wednesday, with hackers claiming the company “earned money working with law enforcement to lurk and snitch on Anonymous activists”.

Bing updates Bing has made a series of changes over the last few days that are suspiciously familiar. US search blog Liveside.net noticed last week that the Microsoft search engine seemed to be testing a new layout. The user’s profile snippet and a drop-down menu are featured in the top right corner, just like Google. Local search results have also had a makeover, which SearchEngineLand.com described as “Google-y”. Furthermore, Bing has just started publishing Search Quality Insights blogs, just two months after Google’s Search Quality Highlights blog series was launched. Of course, last year there were controversial accusations of Bing copying Google in how it ranks search results, so this is a minor coincidence in comparison.

Bing has also been busy making use of Facebook’s newest ad feature. The social media site is currently testing a space for paid ads on its logout screen, due to officially go live in April. Some users have seen a full-screen Bing advert being tested in this space, recreating the home page including a working search box. Facebook revealed that 31 million people log out of the site each day, creating a potentially huge audience (and huge cost) for this ad space.

Snickers in the clear The Advertising Standards Authority ruled on Wednesday that a Snickers Twitter campaign involving paid celebrity tweets was lawful. The campaign in January featured celebrities such as Rio Ferdinand, Cher Lloyd, Ian Botham and Katie Price, who sent out four tweets that were not in their usual style – Ferdinand, for example, tweeted about knitting a cardigan. These were followed by a fifth tweet using the ad strapline “You’re not you when you’re hungry”, as well as a picture of the celebrity with a Snickers bar (pictured). The complaints were investigated because only this fifth tweet used the #spon hashtag, commonly accepted as sufficient indication of paid or sponsored tweets.

However, the ASA adjudication ruled that because the first four tweets contained no explicit mention of Snickers, and were ‘teasers’ intended to stir up interest in time for the final sponsored tweet, the campaign has not breached its code.

In other Twitter news, this week the site introduced support for right-to-left languages Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu.

Written by rachel_hand_swapRachel Hand

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We scooped Silver in the Sites and Search category! No Gold was awarded. #Fresh2014

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