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Canadian Politicians Criticize Meta Over Local News Bans Amid Wildfire Crisis

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Canadian Politicians Criticize Meta Over Local News Bans Amid Wildfire Crisis

Meta is in the midst of a moral standoff over its decision to ban news content for Canadian users, with the Canadian Government now looking to put pressure back on the company for, as it claims, failing its users during the current wildfires in the region.

To recap, earlier this month, after repeated warnings about the impact of the Canadian Government’s proposed Online News Act, Meta blocked news sites for Canadian users, in order to comply with the new law, which is designed to force revenue share agreements between publishers and large online platforms.

The Online News Act essentially seeks to establish a revenue share model between Meta and local publishers, with Meta paying for the right to host news content on Facebook and Instagram. Meta has rightly argued this is a misinterpretation of the modern news cycle, and that publishers actually glean more from its platforms than the benefit flowing the other way, but the Canadian Government, following the lead of Australia, has opted to push ahead with the plan, in the hopes of securing more funding for local journalists.

Which the Australian Government has reported as having some benefit, but over the last few years, Meta has increasingly sought to shift away from news content entirely. So when push comes to shove, as it has in this case, and Meta is forced to actually pay for news content, or abandon it, it’s opted, instead, for the latter, arguing that it won’t have a significant impact to its business.

Which Meta is within its rights to do, while the Canadian Government’s latest criticisms of the company also somewhat justify Meta’s stance that local publishers actually benefit more from it than it does from them, hence why it should be forced to pay.

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As reported by Bloomberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticized Meta for blocking news content during the current crisis, noting that it’s impeding information sharing during a national emergency.

Thousands of Canadians have been forced to flee their homes amid the fire threat, and Trudeau says that Meta has a responsibility to serve its users in this situation.

As per Trudeau:

“It is so inconceivable that a company like Facebook is choosing to put corporate profits ahead of ensuring that local news organizations can get up-to-date information to Canadians and reach them.”

Trudeau’s point makes sense, but again, this is essentially an acknowledgment that news publishers and the public benefit far more from Facebook amplification, yet it’s Meta, under the proposed Online News Act, that would be paying for this privilege.

And while now isn’t the time to be playing politics, in the midst of a major disaster, the case does highlight that there needs to be more discussion about the Act, that that enforcement, based on its current parameters, is not the best solution moving forward.

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In response, Meta has said that it is still providing assistance, via support groups and other tools, despite the news ban.

“We have been clear since February that the broad scope of the Online News Act would impact the sharing of news content on our platforms, We remain focused on ensuring people in Canada can use our technologies to connect with loved ones and access information, which is how more than 45,000 people have marked themselves safe and around 300,000 people have visited the Yellowknife and Kelowna Crisis Response pages on Facebook.”

At this stage, Meta seems unwilling to change it stance, though as the crisis worsens, it may be time for the company to put its arguments on pause for the time being, then make its case at a later date.

British Columbia’s Premier David Eby has pleaded with Meta to open up access to Canadian media, so that British Columbians can share critical local information and stay safe.

Again, it does seem like a clear example of Meta’s stance, that the reach and amplification it provides is of more value to news organizations than it is to it.

Ideally, Meta can now press this case after the current crisis.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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