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Facebook Announces New Comment Moderation and Support Features, including Live Chat for Some Account Issues

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facebook announces new comment moderation and support features including live chat for some account issues

As part of its broader push to win over more creators, Facebook has today announced a new set of comment moderation and support tools to help creators maximize their use of its platform.

And also, a big one for regular users – a new live chat option for those locked out of their accounts.

Here’s what’s been announced.

For creators, managing your community engagement is a key element in maximizing response, and that can be derailed, or distracted by spam comments and the like. Which is why Facebook’s adding some new tools to help manage your post comments.

The main change is a new, simplified option to hide comments in-stream, which social media expert Matt Navarra spotted in testing recently.

Facebook hide comments

To be clear, business Pages on desktop have been able to hide comments for some time, but creator Pages have not, and the feature hasn’t been available till now in the new Pages experience (which is why it may have disappeared from your Page).

When you hide a comment, it’s then only visible to the commentor and their connections, while Page admins can view all hidden comments on any post by selecting ‘Hidden by this Page’ in the comments drop-down on any post.

Facebook’s also adding more blocking controls to ensure that you can block problematic users, along with any future accounts that they create, new keyword blocking options, including the capability to automatically hide comments with variations of words that use numbers, symbols, or different spellings, while it’s also testing new Moderation Assist for groups, which automatically moderates comments on your posts based on your criteria and terms (i.e. no comments with links/images, in addition to keywords).

On Facebook Live specifically, Facebook’s also adding additional profanity blocking tools, user suspension/banning controls and enhanced comment controls.

“We’re also about to kick off a test for Facebook Live community moderation so creators can designate a specific viewer to moderate comments on their behalf.”

Facebook Live comment moderation

But the real news of the day is likely the addition of live chat assistance for certain issues.

As explained by Facebook:

We’ve begun a small test to provide support through live chat for English-speaking creators in the United States who do not already have an assigned relationship manager from Meta to help with questions they might have about Facebook or Instagram. Creators can access a dedicated creator support site when logged in through Facebook. There, they can chat live with a support agent for help on various issues ranging from status of a pay-out to questions about a new feature like Reels.”

So creators get dedicated, in-person support – but what about regular users?

“On the Facebook App specifically, we’ve also started testing live chat help for some English-speaking users globally, including creators, who’ve been locked out of their accounts.”

Facebook live chat

It’s worth noting that this is only for users that have been locked out of their accounts, but this is one of the most common frustrations reported by Facebook users, with the inability to communicate with an actual person, or even send an email to a contact address, causing significant angst for those who feel that they’ve been unfairly locked out of its apps.

We’ll have to wait and see how effective this new process is, and whether it actually helps to resolve such issues (many people are legitimately locked out, even if they’re not entirely sure why), but it’s an interesting test, which could help Facebook address a major bugbear among users.

Finally, Facebook’s also piloting a new ‘Safety School’ initiative to help provide users with more info on how to manage the time they spend in its apps.

“In this pilot, we cover policies, resources, and specifically the tools available around account security, impersonation and bullying and harassment. So far, we’ve connected with creators in more than 27 countries around this material, and we will be expanding this program and resources to more creators in the next year.”

Digital literacy is a key gap in our current educational curriculum, and while many teachers and schools are seeking to fulfill this need, and the platforms themselves do have various initiatives in place, it remains a key need that needs more focus.

As such, it’s good to see Facebook looking to push the agenda itself, and hopefully, it can prompt more users to undertake such courses and info sessions.

As noted, these are the latest elements in Facebook’s broader push to win over creators, and get them posting to Facebook and Instagram more over the holiday period and beyond. The extension of that push is its effort to win back young users, mostly from TikTok, and if it can build a more equitable, beneficial and positive environment for creators, many of them may well consider their options, and could bring their audiences across to Facebook instead.

Maybe. There’s a lot to play out yet, but Facebook will be hoping that these new options spark more interest over the holiday break, while its enhanced monetization and reach could also prove to be a strong lure.

Socialmediatoday.com

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An Overview of the Evolving Data Landscape Powering AI, VR, and More [Infographic]

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An Overview of the Evolving Data Landscape Powering AI, VR, and More [Infographic]

While AI and large language models (LLMs) become more commonplace, it’s worth considering the amount of computational power, and data storage, that these systems require to operate. 

Demand for high-grade GPUs, for example, is still exceeding demand, as more tech companies and investors look to muscle in, while the big players continue to build on their data center capacity, in order to beat smaller systems out of the market.

That, inevitably, means that control over many of these new processes will eventually fall to those with the most money, and even if you have concerns about next-level computational power being governed by CEOs and corporations, there’s not a heap that you can do about it, as they need an established holding to even get in.

Well, unless a government steps in and seeks to build its own infrastructure in order to facilitate AI development, though that seems unlikely.

And it’s not just AI, with crypto processes, complex analysis, and advanced scientific discovery now largely reliant on a few key providers that have available capacity.

It’s a concern, but essentially, you can expect to see a lot more investment in big data centers and processing facilities over the coming years.

This new overview from Visual Capitalist (for Hive Digital) provides some additional context. Here, the VC team have broken down the current data center landscape, and what we’re going to need to facilitate next-level AI, VR, the metaverse, and more.

It’s an eye-opening summary. You can check out Visual Capitalists’ full overview here.

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30 Quick Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate [Infographic]

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30 Quick Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate [Infographic]

Looking to drive more direct conversions from your website listings this holiday season?

The team from Red Website Design share 30 ways to improve your website conversion rate in this infographic.

Here’s the top five from the list:

  • Include as few fields as possible on forms
  • Use testimonials
  • Clearly state product/service benefits
  • Include subscriber and social media follower counts
  • Write clear, compelling copy

Check out the infographic for more detail.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor

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With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

Platform policies and government regulations have proved capricious or neglectful. Meanwhile, creators’ bottom-up initiatives to collectively organize have sputtered.

Living on the edge

Industry estimates regarding the size and scale of the creator economy vary. But Citibank estimates there are over 120 million creators, and an April 2023 Goldman Sachs report predicted that the creator economy would double in size, from US$250 billion to $500 billion, by 2027.

According to Forbes, the “Top 50 Creators” altogether have 2.6 billion followers and have hauled in an estimated $700 million in earnings. The list includes MrBeast, who performs stunts and records giveaways, and makeup artist-cum-true crime podcaster Bailey Sarian.

The windfalls earned by these social media stars are the exception, not the norm.

The venture capitalist firm SignalFire estimates that less than 4% of creators make over $100,000 a year, although YouTube-funded research points to a rising middle class of creators who are able to sustain careers with relatively modest followings.

These are the users who find themselves most vulnerable to opaque changes to platform policies and algorithms.

Platforms like to “move fast and break things,” to use Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous expression. And since the creator economy relies on social media platforms to reach audiences, creators’ livelihoods are subject to rapid, iterative changes in platforms’ features, services and agreements.

Yes, various platforms have introduced business opportunities for creators, such as YouTube’s advertising partnership feature or Twitch’s virtual goods store. However, the platforms’ terms of use can flip on a switch. For example, in September 2022, Twitch changed its fee structure. Some streamers who were retaining 70% of all subscription revenue generated from their accounts saw this proportion drop to 50%.

In 2020, TikTok, facing rising competition from YouTube Shorts and Instagram reels, launched its billion-dollar Creator Fund. The fund was supposed to allow creators to get directly paid for their content. Instead, creators complained that every 1,000 views only translated to a few cents. TikTok suspended the fund in November 2023.

Bias as a feature, not a bug

The livelihoods of many fashion, beauty, fitness and food creators depend on deals brokered with brands that want these influencers to promote goods or services to their followers.

Yet throughout the creator economy, people of color and those identifying as LGBTQ+ have encountered bias. Unequal and unfair compensation from brands is a recurring issue, with one 2021 report revealing a pay gap of roughly 30% between white creators and creators of color.

Along with brand biases, platforms can exacerbate systemic bias. Creator scholar Sophie Bishop has demonstrated how nontransparent algorithms can categorize “desirability” among influencers along lines of race, gender, class and sexual orientation.

Then there’s what creator scholar Zoë Glatt calls the “intimacy triple bind”: Marginalized creators are at higher risk of trolling and harassment, they secure lower fees for advertising, and they are expected to divulge more personal details to generate more engagement and revenue.

Couple these precarious conditions with the whims and caprices of volatile online communities that can turn beloved creators into villains in the blink of a text or post, and even the world’s most successful creators live on a precipice of losing their livelihoods.

Food influencer Larry Mcleod, 47, better known on social media as Big Schlim, reviews the restaurant Shellfish Market in Washington, D.C.
Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rumblings of solidarity

Unlike their counterparts in the legacy media industries, creators have neither taken easily nor well to collective action as they operate from their bedrooms and fight for more eyeballs.

Yet some members of this creator class recognize that the bedroom-boardroom power imbalance is a bottom line matter that requires bottom-up initiative.

The Creators Guild of America, or CGA, which launched in August 2023, is but one of many successors to the original Internet Creators’ Guild, which folded in 2019. Paradoxically, CGA describes itself as a “professional service organization,” not a labor union, yet claims to offer benefits “similar to those offered by unions.”

There are other movements afoot: A group of TikTok creators formed a Discord group in September 2022 to discuss unionizing. There’s also the Twitch Unity Guild, a program launched in December 2022 for networking, development and celebration and includes a dedicated Discord space. In response to the rampant bias in influencer marketing, creator-led firms like “F–k You Pay Me ” are demanding greater fairness, transparency and accountability from brands and advertisers.

Twitch streamers are already seeing some of their organizing efforts pay off. In June 2023, after a year of repeated changes in streamer fees and brand deals, the company capitulated in response to the backlash of their top streamers threatening to leave.

None of these initiatives has yet attained the legal status of unions such as the Writers Guild of America. Meanwhile, efforts by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to recruit creators have proved limited. Legal scholar Sara Shiffman has written about how SAG-AFTRA provides creators with health and retirement benefits, but offers no resources to ensure fair and equitable compensation from platforms or advertisers. Nonetheless, while on strike, SAG-AFTRA threatened creators that partnered with studios with a lifetime ban from joining the union.

And despite these bottom-up efforts, the tech behemoths refuse to recognize creators’ fledgling organizations. When a union for YouTubers formed in Germany in 2018, YouTube refused to negotiate with it. Nonetheless, you’ll see companies trot out their biggest stars when they find themselves under regulatory scrutiny. That’s what happened when TikTok sponsored creators to lobby politicians who were debating banning the platform.

People of all races and ages pose holding signs that read 'Keep TikTok' and 'My small business thrives on TikTok.'
TikTok creators gather outside the U.S. Capitol to voice their opposition to a potential ban on the app, highlighting the platform’s impact on their livelihoods.
Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An invisible class of labor

Meanwhile, most governments have failed to provide support for – or even recognition of – creator rights.

Within the U.S., creators “barely exist” in official records, as technology reporters Drew Harwell and Taylor Lorenz recently pointed out in The Washington Post. The U.S. Census Bureau makes no mention of social media as a profession; it is invisible as a distinctive class of labor.

To date, the Federal Trade Commission is the only U.S. agency to introduce regulation tied to the work of creators, and it’s limited to disclosure guidelines for advertising and sponsored content.

Even as the European Union has operated at the forefront of tech and platform policy, creators rate scant mention in the body’s laws. Writing about the EU’s 2022 Digital Services Act, legal scholars Bram Duivendvoorde and Catalina Goanta criticize the EU for leaving “influencer marketing out of the material scope of its specific rules,” a blind spot that they describe as “one of its main pitfalls.”

The success of the 2023 Hollywood strikes could be just the beginning of a larger global movement for creator rights. But in order for this new class of creators to access the full breadth of their economic and human rights – to borrow from the movie “Jaws” – we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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