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Facebook Announces Election Notification Updates, Reiterates Efforts to Protect Poll Integrity



With the US Presidential Election only 27 days away, Facebook has provided what looks to be its final update on its election preparedness tools, including new prompts on the ballot counting process and the activation of its Elections Operations Center.

Here’s what’s been announced:

First off, Facebook has announced a range of new notifications which will be shared in user home feeds, across both Facebook and Instagram, in order to keep people up to date on official poll information.

“When polls close, we will run a notification at the top of Facebook and Instagram and apply labels to candidates’ posts directing people to the Voting Information Center for more information about the vote-counting process.”

Facebook election notifications

Over the past month, with US President Donald Trump refusing to assure a peaceful transfer of power in the case of him losing the vote, Facebook has become increasingly worried that the President could use his massive social media presence to declare victory, or invalidate the official results, leading to unrest among his supporters. 

Facebook does not want to be in the position of amplifying such messaging, which it makes clear in today’s announcement.

“If a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets, we will add more specific information in the notifications that counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined.”

Facebook will also take this even further, by providing official updates on the projections for the winner, as they become available.

Facebook election update

These will also be shared in Facebook’s Voting Information Center, ensuring maximum reach with its official notifications.

Facebook election update

Facebook will also provide additional notes on election integrity, another element that’s been heavily questioned by President Trump in the lead up to the poll.

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“As we noted earlier this month, we are attaching an informational label to content that discusses issues of legitimacy of the election or claims that lawful methods of voting like mail-in ballots will lead to fraud. This label provides reliable information about the integrity of the election and voting methods.”

Facebook will also put a temporary halt on all social issue, electoral and political ads after the polls close, further limiting the capacity for its platform to amplify non-official updates.

Of course, we have no idea what’s actually going to happen on election day, nor who the eventual winner may be, but given the ongoing discussion around potential interference in the voting process, Facebook is working to ensure that it plays no part in amplifying any spurious claims. 

In addition to this, Facebook is also banning all posts and comments which call for people to engage in poll watching or any other activity designed to intimidate election officials or voters. 

Facebook has also announced the launch of its Elections Operations Center for the poll, which will bring together a subject matter experts from across the company “including from our threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations and legal teams”, in order to monitor the process in a more coordinated way. Facebook has taken the same approach with all major elections across the world since 2018.

“Since 2016, we’ve built an advanced system combining people and technology to review the billions of pieces of content that are posted to our platform every day. State-of-the-art AI systems flag content that may violate our policies, users report content to us they believe is questionable and our own teams review content. We’ve also been building a parallel viral content review system to flag posts that may be going viral – no matter what type of content it is – as an additional safety net. This helps us catch content that our traditional systems may not pick up.” 

The Election Operations Center will monitor these key trends, in an effort to stop the spread of misinformation and further protect the poll.

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Facebook’s 2020 Election approach is the culmination of the various measures and tools that it’s implemented since 2016, when it was heavily criticized for allowing third-party activist groups to interfere in the election process.

At Facebook’s scale, that can have a huge effect, and since then, Facebook has introduced a range of tools and policies to better protect users, and avoid similar misuse.

Facebook election measures

This is just the first page – the full document outlines the complete list of steps Facebook has taken to protect the 2020 vote.  

In essence, Facebook is underlining that it’s done all that it can, so that it can’t be accused of failing to act, in any event, this time around. Whatever the result, Facebook has introduced all the measures it can, and while its approach to claims made in political ads is still questionable, given the overall breadth of new processes and tools it’s added, Facebook’s hoping that it’s not the focus of blame come November 5th.

But, of course, it still could be. Facebook is still a key source of misinformation, as has been indicated in various reports, and movements like QAnon, which Facebook took increased action against this week, have still been able to spread via Facebook groups and Pages. 

Will Facebook play a key role in the 2020 result? 

We’ll have some idea in less than 30 days.

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Meta’s Developing the World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision



Meta's Developing the World's Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision

As it looks to a future in the currently theoretical ‘metaverse’, Meta will need to up its computing power and systems in order to facilitate simultaneous connection in wholly immersive digital worlds, while it’ll also need more advanced computing power to fuel the next stage of its AI plans, in various forms.

Which is why Meta is developing a new AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which it says will eventually become the fastest AI supercomputer in the world, when it’s fully built out by mid-2022.

The advanced system will eventually be able to perform ‘5 exaflops of mixed precision compute’ at peak. Which, I have no real idea of what that truly means, but basically, Meta’s new, advanced computational system will be able to process huge amounts of data, facilitating development in a wide range of applications, with a specific view towards the next stage of its metaverse vision.

As explained by Meta:

RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build new and better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyze text, images, and video together; develop new augmented reality tools; and much more. We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.”

AR is clearly a key focus, with Meta developing its own AR-enabled glasses that will expand the use cases for the technology. The RSC will provide increased capacity to develop more complex AR systems, which could advance Meta’s tools beyond what’s currently available, which would ideally see its AR glasses become the top of the line, most advanced model available, helping Meta potentially dominate the space over rivals Snapchat and Apple.

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Unless, of course, Snap and Apple team up, which is my prediction. But even so, with the additional computing power of the RSC behind it, Meta could still be well ahead, which could be a key step in bridging our current online experience to the next stage.

Which is where Meta is really focused:

“Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform – the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role.

It’s worth noting here that Meta specifically notes that the metaverse will take years to develop, it’s not something that’s happening overnight, nor will it become an all-immersive, integrated world by next year. Which is why any company or project that’s pitching itself as ‘metaverse ready’ is kidding itself – the metaverse, as it’s broadly envisioned, will require massive collaboration between platforms, in order to transfer your digital identity between virtual worlds, and take your avatars, skins, digital items, and more with you.

Meta is keen to reiterate that it won’t own that space, as such:

No one company can (or should) build the metaverse alone. It will be built by people and businesses all over the world. And it’ll be important that experiences built by different companies or people, like avatars or virtual worlds, work together.

But really, Meta is best-placed to host the party, via its industry-leading consumer VR tools and advanced computing systems like RSC, which will give it a significant advantage in dictating what the metaverse will be, and who will be able to sign up.

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Eventually, this will require industry agreement on schemas and systems that will likely enable any service to join. But they’ll still need a host platform, along with software/hardware connection. Meta will be at the forefront of that aspect, which, again, will see it well-placed to define the rules of the space, and dominate the next stage of digital connection – whether it technically ‘owns’ it or not.

But it is worth noting that the metaverse does not exist yet, not in any form, and any platform or project that claims otherwise is ultimately misleading. Those NFT projects that claim to be ‘metaverse-ready’, yeah, no, maybe avoid them.

Eventually, Meta’s RSC will give it significant advantages in developing new systems for everything from combating harmful content on its platforms to building entirely new user experiences. The potential here is massive, and while it will take time to see the results of these developments, it’ll be interesting to see how Meta’s processes evolve in turn, and whether these advanced systems result in a significant acceleration in its development cycles.

You can read more technical details on Meta’s RSC project here.

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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement



TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement

TikTok has partnered with brand suitability platform Zefr on a new brand safety post-bid measurement solution for in-feed ads, which will enable advertisers to ensure that their TikTok promotions don’t appear alongside potentially offensive material.

As you can see here, using Zefr’s dashboard, which provides insights into each campaign by mapping it against the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) Suitability Risk categories, advertisers will now be able to ensure that their TikTok ads are not shown next to content that they don’t want to be associated with.

As explained by TikTok:

“This solution will provide advertisers with campaign insights into brand safety and brand suitability for their TikTok campaigns. These insights provide clients with third-party impartial reassurance that their investment is delivered next to content suitable for their brand, protecting brand reputation and mitigating risk.”

Zefr’s advanced ‘Cognition AI’ process utilizes audio, text, and frame-by-frame video analysis, along with scaled human review, to determine brand safety, and provide full assurance on potential ad placement.

With TikTok’s challenges and posts sometimes veering into dangerous territory, the option will help to reassure brands that their campaigns won’t end up being associated with potential harm, which could help TikTok secure even more ad spend.

Though it could be difficult to 100% guarantee success here. For example, the recent ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ on TikTok started off innocently enough, but eventually lead to increasingly risky and dangerous behaviors, which resulted in serious injuries to some participants. Other TikTok challenges could follow a similar evolution – though the additional assurance of Zefr’s systems will ideally help to catch these out before they become a potential brand risk, or at the least, as soon as they’re identified as a problem.

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It’s a good integration, and another key step in TikTok’s broader expansion of its ad tools.

The new TikTok Zefr integration is available to advertisers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]



How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing efforts in 2022?

As we head into the new year, it’s worth revising your business goals, and establishing a clear direction for your digital marketing process. Maybe you’re happy with the growth and interaction you’re seeing, and how that’s then leading to conversion, but over the past two years, in particular, there’s no doubt been some level of disruption to your marketing plans.

With that in mind, this infographic from the team at Click Dimensions could help. They’ve put together a simple overview of how to establish your social media marketing goals, including which metrics to focus on, how to increase engagement, and the importance of adapting as things progress.

It could help to spark some new thinking in your approach – check out the full infographic below.

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