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Bereaved UK father criticises social media firms’ response to tragedy

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Bereaved UK father criticises social media firms' response to tragedy

Misinformation can spread rapidly on social media under the guise of satire and parody, creating challenges for platforms and fact-checkers. — © AFP

The father of a teenage girl who died in Britain after viewing harmful online content on Monday criticised the response of social media companies to a report aimed at preventing future tragedies.

Londoner Ian Russell, the father of 14-year-old Molly, described their reaction as  “underwhelming and unsurprising”, demonstrating “business as usual” approach.

Regulation, such as the British government’s proposed Online Safety Bill, was the only way to end the “inertia” shown by social media sites towards safety, he added.

The inquest into her death heard that of the 16,300 posts Molly saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide.

Coroner Andrew Walker, who led the inquest, subsequently wrote to Meta, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat in September last year.

In a “prevention of future deaths” report sent to the social media firms and the UK government, Walker urged a review of the algorithms used by the sites to provide content.

Russell expressed disappointment at their feedback and the fact that Instagram’s parent company Meta had not shown any “significant change in direction”.

“One perhaps would have hoped that looking at the level of detail that was presented to the coroner…,” he told the PA news agency.

“It would have focused minds and compelled tech platforms to react more positively to put safety higher up their agenda,” he added.

“But that doesn’t seem to be the case, particularly in Meta’s case.”

– Tougher action –

In his inquest into Molly Russell’s death, Walker ruled that she had died from an act of self-harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”.

It would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide, he said.

Her death in November 2017 led her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.

The Online Safety Bill is due to be debated by MPs on Tuesday.

In its current form, it would require tech companies to remove illegal material from their platforms, with a particular emphasis on protecting children from seeing harmful content. It would also heavy fines for sites that break the rules.

Dozens of MPs with the ruling Conservatives however have put their name to an amendment demanding tougher action.

The rebels MPs want the owners of social media platforms to face jail time if they fail to protect children from seeing damaging content.

After the inquest into his daughter’s death, Russell said it was “time the toxic corporate culture at the heart of the world’s biggest social media platform changed.

A senior Meta executive had said the content that the platform’s algorithms had pushed to his daughter was safe, said Russell.

“If this demented trail of life-sucking content was safe, my daughter Molly would probably still be alive — and instead of being a bereaved family of four, there would be five of us looking forward to a life full of purpose and promise that lay ahead for our adorable Molly,” he added.

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

While talent matters, the good news is we all learn at basically the same rate–and can “learn anything we want.” Think you don’t have the talent for entrepreneurship? For leadership? For programming, for design… for whatever pursuit you may want to, um, pursue? According to HubSpot co-founder …

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

Are you a small business owner or marketing manager, just getting started on building your social media strategy? Need to learn the basics before launching your first social media campaign?

In this infographic, Sprout Social shares social media tips broken down as follows:

  • Who uses social media?
  • What does social media do for you?
  • Define your goals
  • Targeting your audience
  • Choosing a platform
  • Social media metrics

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners

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