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Facebook Launches Voting Information Center, and New Option to Opt-Out of Political Ads

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Amid ongoing criticism of his company’s handling of political content, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has today provided an update on where Facebook stands on political content, while also announcing a new Voting Information Center to encourage political participation.

Zuckerberg has also noted that, soon, Facebook users will be able to opt-out of political ads. But more on that in a moment.

In an opinion piece for USA Today, Zuckerberg says that despite criticisms, Facebook can and will play a key role in the upcoming US Presidential Election. He hopes that it will be a helpful one:

“With so much of our discourse taking place online, I believe platforms like Facebook can play a positive role in this election by helping Americans use their voice where it matters most – by voting. We’re announcing the largest voting information campaign in American history. Our goal is to help 4 million people register to vote.”

Voting has long been Zuckerberg’s fallback stance on political content. People should be able to see what elected officials have to say, Zuckerberg has said, because they voted them in. If you don’t like what they say, don’t ask Facebook to stop them from saying it, just don’t vote for them again. And while the issue is often more complex than that, there is also some logic in Zuckerberg’s stance – so long as voters are not significantly influenced by lies spread by political leaders.

In order to do encourage more voter participation, Zuckerberg has announced a new Voting Information Center, which will be added to both Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram Voting Information Center

As per Zuckerberg

We’re creating a new Voting Information Center with authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting. We’ll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities. We’ll show this center at the top of the Facebook News Feed and on Instagram to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it.”

Facebook Voting Information Center

Zuckerberg says that he expects more than 160 million Americans will see “authoritative information on Facebook about how to vote in the general election” from July through to November, heading into the poll. Facebook will also prompt users to register, and add new alerts for information about voting by mail. And Facebook will also run Election Day reminders – which have proven particularly effective in prompting voter participation in the past.

Ultimately, I believe the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves. That’s why I think we should maintain as open a platform as possible, accompanied by ambitious efforts to boost voter participation.”

But the key note of Zuckerberg’s opinion post came right at the end:

By giving people a voice, registering and turning out voters, and preventing interference, I believe Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and beyond. And for those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you – so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”

The capacity to switch off political ads entirely is a big step. Back in January, Facebook gave users more options to limit how they could be targeted by political advertisers by opting-out of Custom Audience targeting – or conversely, by making themselves eligible to see ads if an advertiser had used a list to exclude them. 

Now, Facebook will let users switch ads from political candidates off entirely.

As per CNBC:

“Users will be able to turn off political, electoral and social issue ads from political candidates, Super PACs and “other organizations that have the ‘Paid for by’ political disclaimer on them,”. [Facebook] will start rolling this feature out to some users on Wednesday, and it will become available to all U.S. users over the next few weeks.”

Basically, when you see a political ad in your feed, you’ll soon have an option within the ad drop-down to turn off all future political ads. You’ll also be able to switch them off within your Facebook and Instagram settings.

I would note that the message does say ‘see fewer’, not ‘turn off political ads’, but as you can see here, Facebook says that this will effectively turn off all ads with the ‘Paid for by’ political/issue disclaimer.

Facebook is initially launching the option in the US, but plans to bring it to more regions in future.

That could have a major impact. Of course, it’s still reliant on user response, people still need to manually switch political ads off. And while those that have been critical of Facebook’s political content stance likely will, it’s the people who are not as disparaging of the same that are arguably more likely to be influenced by such.

But it’s a start, it’s an option – it’s a significant step for Facebook, which provides some measure to reduce the influence of political campaigns. The impact will be variable, but it’ll be interesting to see how people respond to the option.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

Here’s the difficult thing with Twitter no longer having a comms department – now, there’s nowhere to go to confirm info about the app’s latest updates and features, and where each is available, etc.

Case in point – this week, Twitter appears to have launched a new in-stream boost option for tweets, which provides a quick and easy way to promote your tweet without having to launch a full ad campaign.

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by Jonah Manzano (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new boost option would be available direct from a tweet. You’d simply tap through, select a budget, and you would be able to boost your tweet then and there.

Which seems to be new, but also seems familiar.

It’s sort of like Twitter’s Quick Promote option, but an even more streamlined version, with new visuals and a new UI for boosting a tweet direct from the details screen.

Tweet boost

So it does seem like a new addition – but again, with no one at Twitter to ask, it’s hard to confirm detail about the option.

But from what we can tell, this is a new Twitter ad process, which could provide another way to set an objective, a budget, and basic targeting parameters to reach a broader audience in the app.

Which could be good, depending on performance, and there may well be some tweets that you just want to quickly boost and push out to more people, without launching a full campaign.

It could also be a good way for Twitter to bring in a few more ad dollars, and it could be worth experimenting with to see what result you get, based on the simplified launch process.

If it’s available to you. We’d ask Twitter where this is being made available, but we can’t. So maybe you’ll see it in the app, maybe not.

Thus is the enigma of Twitter 2.0.



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Twitter faces lawsuit by advisory firm for $1.9 million in unpaid bills

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Twitter faces lawsuit by advisory firm for $1.9 million in unpaid bills

US-based advisory firm Innisfree M&A Incorporated sued Twitter on Friday in New York State Supreme Court, seeking about $1.9 million compensation for what it says are unpaid bills. Reuters File Photo

New York: US-based advisory firm Innisfree M&A Incorporated sued Twitter on Friday in New York State Supreme Court, seeking about $1.9 million compensation for what it says are unpaid bills after it advised the social media company on its acquisition by Elon Musk last year.

“As of December 23, 2022, Twitter remains in default of its obligations to Innisfree under the agreement in an amount of not less than $1,902,788.03,” the lawsuit said.

Twitter and a lawyer for Innisfree did not respond to queries.

Elon Musk in October closed the $44 billion deal announced in April that year and took over microblogging platform Twitter.

In January 2023, Britain’s Crown Estate, an independent commercial business that manages the property portfolio belonging to the monarchy, said that it had begun court proceedings against Twitter over alleged unpaid rent on its London headquarters.

Advertising spending on Twitter Inc dropped by 71% in December, data from an advertising research firm showed, as top advertisers slashed their spending on the social-media platform after Musk’s takeover.

The banks that had provided $13 billion in financing last year for the Tesla chief executive’s acquisition of Twitter abandoned plans to sell the debt to investors because of uncertainty around the social media company’s fortunes and losses, according to media reports.

Recently, Twitter made its first interest payment on a loan that banks provided to help finance Musk’s purchase of the social media company last year.

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