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The Danger Of Apple iMessage’s New Features



The Danger Of Apple iMessage's New Features

The opinions expressed within this story are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Search Engine Journal or its affiliates.

This week at WWDC 2022, Apple announced a ton of new features, enhancements, and hardware making techies across the globe drool in unison.

Its new messaging edit and unsend function, however, may have significant consequences far outside the tech space.

Apple proudly announced it’s releasing three of the most common requests when it comes to iMessage: mark unread, an unsend option, and edit feature. And people are thrilled.

Unfortunately, I have concerns.

Messaging, Autocorrect, Business, And The Dangers Hiding Within

Lockheed Martin likely would have rejoiced at the thought of the edit button. It might have saved them $70m in 1999 when the company misplaced a comma, forcing them to honor an unintentional discount price.

Taylor & Sons had been in business for 124 years when a press release went out notifying the public of insolvency for Taylor & Son. The UK government was ultimately found liable and was ordered to pay an estimated $17.2m, but the damage was already done.

In 2021, for example, Simon Silwood claimed that autocorrect changed “buffoon” to “baboon” when he was jailed for a Facebook post.

These weren’t via messaging apps, but they could have been.

Facebook and Instagram generated many heated discussions when they originally announced their edit features. Most recently, Twitter announced a long-awaited edit feature of its own to a plethora of cheers and criticisms.

Would it be used for deceptive purposes?

How misleading could editing tweets really be compared to simply deleting and reposting them?

Would edits make it easier for those who have shared the tweets to see the updates?

Will it increase or decrease misinformation on the platform?

Some suggested Twitter could avoid many of these issues by allowing users to see a log of changes and edits, but that comes with its own set of issues. For example, users generally edit a tweet or a message with the intention of not having the original version seen.

It would also open the door to the “oopsy” defense–send out a hateful or false message, claim it was a mistake, and edit it. While it may seem innocent, the damage may already be done.

Think about certain individuals tweeting about stock and how that affects price, for example. Or change the last two letters in “kiss” to Ls and the meaning behind the message morphs into something very different.

Personally, I love the idea of finally being able to avoid embarrassing work-related texts when using the word “assess,” but it’s not worth what this feature may cost.

Because in some instances, it may cost lives.

I was once in an unhealthy domestic situation that resulted in a trip through the court system. Text messages became crucial when presenting my case.

And here is the scariest part:

Those text messages were the only real form of proof I had. Without them, it would have just been a lot of he-said-she-said, with a few witnesses on both sides testifying that the other person was lying.

Had I not had months of accurate text messages and emails, I may not have been here today.

The Dark Side Of Text Messaging

Messages and texts have played a vital role in our daily lives for almost two decades. Sometimes, with serious consequences.

In 2008, for example, Kwame Kilpatrick, then mayor of Detroit, was found guilty of perjury and breaking whistleblower laws. He was ordered to pay $6.5 million in damages.

In 2015, Inflategate became almost instantly infamous when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were found to have deliberately manipulated the air pressure in footballs to give them an advantage in the AFC championship game.

Earlier this year, former police officers who regularly worked with domestic violence victims became subjects of investigations for sexual offenses.

In each of these cases, investigations, charges, and convictions were all triggered by text messages.

Someone Will Always Find A Way To Abuse A System

In 2012, iMessage already had more than 140M users sending over 1B messages daily. In Apple’s own words, “It’s integral to how we communicate to the people who matter most.”

We use it to discuss business deals, coordinate parenting activities, market a product, argue with intimate partners or line up a date, and even contact 9-1-1.

In this context, the thought of unsending drunken messages you accidentally sent to your mom at 2 a.m. sounds fantastic. But what about other situations?

Through heartbreaking confessions and court transcripts, we know it’s not unheard of for women to be stalked, threatened, and harassed for months via Instagram or text messages.

For better or for worse, police use them to catch bad guys. Divorce lawyers love text messages, too. They even made an appearance in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard case everyone’s been buzzing about recently.

Edited Message in Apple's iMessenger - WWDC 2022

Apple has thought about this at least to some degree. It’s possible to see that a message has been edited with a small comment on the bottom. However, it’s unclear if you will be able to see how the messages are edited.

The tech giant also placed a time limit on the feature, making comments editable for only 15 minutes. However, that is enough time to send a nefarious or threatening message, have it read by the victim, and edit it to something asinine.

(Reading them once is enough for them to be burned into your memory for a long time. Provided the offending party doesn’t follow through with the threats you can’t prove, of course.)

Some may argue that you simply need to take screencaps as you read the messages, but here’s the thing:

Sometimes, you don’t know how important a message is at the time. And no one plans to be double-crossed by a business partner, abused, or stalked. It may simply be too late by the time you realize the significance of something.

Even if you see signs that there may be trouble on the horizon, it’s human nature to disregard them and explain them away.

As one expert put it, “…when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.”

The general public needs to be concerned about editing, too, particularly when it comes to social media and mass texts.

In March 2022, for example, found one scammer hijacked an account and edited 10 years of messages and posts to include links and ads for their scams to make the account appear legitimate.

And because these accounts are people you know and trust, it gives the ads and the scammer legitimacy.

Other Dangers In The Palm Of Your Hand

The dangers of technology have gone far beyond just messages.

Experts warned the public about stalkerware long before Google removed seven of these apps from the Google Play Store in 2019.

Online harassment has also skyrocketed, with an estimated 41% of all U.S. adults reported having been victims at least once.

In 2019, for example, 75-year-old James Taylor shot and killed 70-year-old Catherine Taylor after he found her at her son’s home. Catherine had escaped him after a domestic abuse incident and thought she was safe until Taylor tracked her down using iCloud.

Apple has attempted to solve this issue with today’s announcement of an emergency kill option that disconnects everything and prevents you from being tracked through your phone. At least by people connected to your accounts.

Why wasn’t this option added immediately with the original feature?

iOS is often chosen because it’s more user-friendly and highly rated by the less tech-savvy crowd. So, how many iPhone or iPad users know it’s there? Do they know how to use it?

For Better Or Worse, Text Messages Changed Human Behavior

Text messages have been an important part of disease prevention, management, and public health campaigns for well over a decade now.

Health providers of all kinds are using text messages to deliver test results, send appointment reminders, check on individuals living with addictions, provide diet or smoking interventions, and more.

Schools are using text messages to help reduce information gaps between teachers, institutions, and parents.

Physically, smartphones have led to an increase in a range of injuries with some studies estimating that as much as 82.38% of the population has experienced discomfort due to prolonged smartphone use.

You may have also heard of the Google effect. It means we’re now forgetting information that can be easily searched in Google or found on our mobile devices including birthdays, factoids, and even directions. On the other side of the equation, studies find simple texts can make you feel more confident in your performance.

How will all of this change with the ability to unsend and edit messages already sent? Will we trust less? Will we move towards other mediums? I don’t know, but I will certainly be more careful in the future.

Featured Image: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock


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8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page



8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

TikTok and Instagram may be taking their moment to shine, but Facebook is a social media platform your business simply can’t ignore.

Facebook’s monthly active users have continued to rise since its inception, with nearly 3 billion (2.96) monthly active users as of the third quarter of 2022.

It was also the most popular social network worldwide as of January 2022 when ranked by the number of monthly active users.

Knowing a substantial portion of your target audience likely uses Facebook regularly, it’s crucial as social media marketers to keep up with the Facebook marketing tips that can help you grow your business.

Your business is probably already leveraging Facebook to reach your target audience – and if you’re not, you’re missing out on valuable lead and conversion opportunities.

You’ve likely set up a Facebook Page to communicate with current and potential customers, share current updates, and build social proof.

But, is your Facebook Page optimized to engage your target audience? Have you invested ample time into ensuring you’re leveraging every form and field possible?

The good news is, starting from scratch is the most challenging part of getting your Facebook Page off the ground.

Since you’ve already done this, revitalizing your page is the easy part – and we’re here to help streamline the process even further.

This deep dive guide will succinctly outline what it takes to transform your Facebook Page from vapid to vivacious with the following eight marketing tips.

Read on to ensure you maximize the world’s most visited social media platform to your advantage.

1. Beyond The Facebook Page Basics

Your business can be found in many places online, from your Google Business Profile (GBP) to review sites and social platforms.

Potential customers should be able to find accurate information about your business anywhere they can find you. This includes your current physical address, website link, phone number, and more.

In fact, 20% of consumers are unlikely to visit a business with incorrect or missing listing information.

Ensuring all information on your Facebook page is up-to-date is a good place to start.

Next, it’s time for optimizations that go beyond the basics to help your Facebook Page stand out from your competition.

2. Leverage Facebook Pages’ Templates

Facebook offers numerous templates designed to enhance your Page and help customers find what they’re looking for.

There’s a standard template that you’ll most often see when visiting other businesses’ Facebook Pages.

But there are also templates that cater to different types of businesses, such as nonprofit organizations, restaurants, services, retailers, and more.

To find the template most applicable to your brand, once you’re on your Facebook Page, click on the More drop-down menu and select Edit Tabs.

In the template section, click the Edit button.

You’ll then see a list of available templates. Select the template that is most relevant to your business category.

Screenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook Page template example

For example, if you’re a service business and you select the service template, you’re able to clearly showcase the services you offer to customers, along with reviews and offers.

3. Use An Attractive Cover Photo

Visual content has the power to capture attention and increase conversions.

According to Google, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

Your cover photo is the first element that will draw people’s attention. It can be the make-or-break point, helping people decide to scroll down to learn more about your business.

Pick a photo that aligns with your branding but captures your audience’s attention.

Use a real photo or an illustration that showcases your brand’s style in terms of colors, mission statement, and values – and be sure to avoid stock imagery.

Stock photos fail to convey a visual representation of your brand and, in turn, can make your brand feel less authentic.

When selecting your cover image, Facebook recommends it:

  • Left aligns with a full bleed and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
  • Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall, and less than 100 kilobytes.

4. Choose A Professional Profile Picture

Your profile picture, while not as prominent as your cover photo, appears prominently at the top of your Facebook Page.

It also appears as your avatar on all posts and photos you publish on Facebook (on your page and others).

This photo should represent your brand effectively any time someone sees it.

For most businesses, using your company logo is typically common practice, as customers may already be familiar with it, and associate it with your business.

8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring PageScreenshot from Facebook, December 20228 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

It should be easy for someone to discern which brand they’re engaging with when they see your Facebook Page.

Your profile image displays at 176×176 pixels on your Facebook Page on computers, 196×196 pixels on smartphones, and 36×36 pixels on most feature phones.

Ensure your profile image is clear by following the aforementioned sizing guidelines and using a high-resolution image.

5. Create Content That Resonates With Your Target Audience

Your Facebook Page should be a one-stop shop for your audience.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about your business, read reviews from loyal customers, and consume relevant content.

So, create quality content that resonates with your wider audience.

You may also want to incorporate a mixture of different types of posts – such as video posts when you have impactful customer testimonials to share, or high-quality photos when you’re launching a new product.

No matter the type of content you choose to share, make sure that it is relevant and impactful to your readers. For example, if your wider audience is Gen Z, video content may be the way to go.

When creating content, ask yourself: will this post add value, or am I trying to reach a quota? If your answer is the latter, you may need to revise your Facebook content marketing strategy.

Consider your post timing, too.

In the past, mid-morning posts drove the most engagement, as people often use the app on their commutes to school or work. However, posting during the early morning hours has now taken the lead.

Post timing also varies by industry, so find the best time to reach your customer base.

6. Create An Incentive For Following Your Facebook Page

Deals and discounts play a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans say offers are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy online. Deals are so important that 48% of Americans said they will avoid brands that do not provide offers.

Your Facebook Page enables your business to promote offers for free.

These offers can be:

  • Percentage-off.
  • Dollar-off.
  • Free product or service.
  • Free shipping.
  • Custom offer of your choice.

Create an offer that is unique for your Facebook followers. This incentivizes them to follow you and engage with your posts.

These offers can change and vary. We advise that you keep your offers fresh and switch them periodically to encourage your audience to continue to follow your page.

Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer example

Respond To Customer Feedback

One of the most fundamental Facebook marketing tips (and digital marketing tips in general) is to respond to all customer feedback whenever possible.

This includes any time customers reach out via Facebook Messenger, during a Facebook Live, when they leave a review on your Facebook Page, or when they reply to your Facebook Stories.

Being proactive with your responses, whether the customer leaves negative or positive feedback, shows your brand cares about its customers.

Your response time matters, too.

According to ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, but 1 in 3 expect a response within 3 days or less.

Ensure you have a reputation management strategy and team in place to triage responses. Set standards and expectations with your team when it comes to reviewing responses.

Creating response templates is a good way to quickly and efficiently respond to customer reviews across multiple platforms.

7. Use Every Character In Your Page’s Description

Your Facebook page allows you 255 characters to describe your business.

Use every character possible to share what you do, what you sell, and why it matters. Use original content relevant to your business when drafting your description.

You’ll also want to add complete information for your:

  • Your business contact details (phone number, address, and email).
  • Business categories.
  • Website.
  • Social media accounts.
  • Hours.
  • Price range.

8. Add A CTA

Allow your customers to quickly perform the call to action (CTA) of your choice.

This button appears beneath your cover image and to the right of your profile image. You can choose from a variety of CTA options, including:

  • Follow.
  • View gift card.
  • Start order.
  • Book now.
  • Call now.
  • Contact us.
  • Send message.
  • Send email.
  • Learn more.
  • And more.

For example, a restaurant brand would benefit from adding a Start order CTA.

This eliminates friction in the consumer’s path to purchase, allowing them to start the order right from your Facebook Page, rather than navigating to your website or a third-party food delivery app.

Keep a pulse on your engagement metrics to see if the CTA you’ve selected is driving measurable results. If it’s not, consider adding a different CTA to see if your audience engages better with alternative messaging.

To find your engagement metrics, click on the Insights button in the menu.

Facebook Insights offer a wealth of information from likes, story reach, actions on the page, post engagement rates, how different types of content are performing, and much more.

Check these insights often to better guide your Facebook marketing strategy.

Facebook CTA exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook CTA example

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, updating and optimizing your Facebook Page doesn’t take much effort.

Instead, it requires continuously keeping up with your social media marketing strategy and leveraging the tools and features available to you.

Following these Facebook marketing tips is a good place to start.

To keep up with Facebook’s evolving functionality, do a quick audit every quarter to see what’s new and available to you.

This ensures your business is taking full advantage of your Facebook Page’s capabilities and staying one step ahead of your competition.

More resources: 

Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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