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Facebook Publishes New Update on Account Removals Due to Organized Manipulation Efforts

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facebook publishes new update on account removals due to organized manipulation efforts

Facebook has this week published its Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior report for May, which outlines all of the accounts, pages and groups that the platform has removed over the course of the month due to identified efforts to mislead and misinform Facebook uses for varying purpose.

As explained by Facebook:

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps.[…] We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation.” 

In May, Facebook removed 253 Facebook accounts, 240 Instagram profiles, 101 Facebook groups and 770 Facebook Pages as a result of its detection and investigation efforts.

The groups removed in May included networks originating from Tunisia and Iraq, with the Tunisian-based group working to influence users in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the Iraq-based network was focused on influencing domestic politics, and appears to have been funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Facebook’s efforts on this front will become more important as the 2020 US Presidential Election campaign starts to gain momentum, with the platform keen to showcase how much its systems have evolved since its apps were used for mass-manipulation, by various groups, during the 2016 campaign. 

Facebook has implemented a range of detection and awareness tools since then, and those efforts, based on the monthly CIB reports – which Facebook has been providing since February – do seem to be having an impact.

Looking at the reported figures, there are no significant trends or indicators which suggest that such activity is increasing – though removals of Facebook Pages have ramped up in the last two months.

Facebook CIB removals

Yet, even so, the month-by-month numbers are too variable at this stage to establish any definitive trends. Once we have a year of data – and insights heading into the US Election – we should have a clearer view of what Facebook’s seeing, and where such efforts are being focused on its platfoms.

And that’s another question that will need to be addressed. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, messaging apps have become the weapon of choice for many such campaigns, with WhatsApp, in particular, seeing an uptick in misinformation campaigns

WhatsApp and Messenger aren’t listed in Facebook’s CIB reports specifically, but that may be another area which can provide more context as to how such groups are operating, and their evolving tactics over time.

But right now, the reports are more a point of interest, providing additional transparency into what’s happening, but not much of a window into emerging threats. As noted, it’ll be interesting to see how those trends shift in the months ahead.

You can read Facebook’s full Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior report for May here 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Merriam-Webster’s 2023 Word of the Year

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Merriam-Webster's 2023 Word of the Year

The wordsmiths over at Merriam-Webster have announced their official “Word of the Year for 2023,” they say it’s something we are “thinking about, writing about, aspiring to, and judging more” than ever.

The word is authentic.

According to the dictionary, the most common definitions of authentic are “not false or imitation,” “being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character,” and “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”

Merriam-Webster says the word saw a “substantial increase” in lookups this year. That’s probably because we now live in a world where artificial intelligence, deepfake technology and questionable memes challenge our basic notions of reality.


Authenticity is also seen as a commodity at a time when influencers build their brands on social media while attempting to seamlessly pitch their “favorite” products. These days, the average person scrolls through over 43 feet of content every day on social media. After being exposed to countless images of people, it becomes easier to spot the phonies from those who are being their authentic selves.

“When we look at common threads across the thousands of influencer marketing campaigns we’ve run at The Outloud Group over the last 15 years, the similarity between all of our best-performing brand creator partnerships is pretty simple: true authenticity,” Bradley Hoos, CEO of The Outland Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency, writes in Forbes.

Merriam-Webster adds that authenticity is a trait people strove to find for themselves in 2023.

“Celebrities like singers Lainey Wilson, Sam Smith, and especially Taylor Swift all made headlines in 2023 with statements about seeking their ‘authentic voice’ and ‘authentic self,” Merriam-Webster writes. “Headlines like Three Ways To Tap Into Taylor Swift’s Authenticity And Build An Eras-Like Workplace associate this quality with pop-culture superpower.”

The dictionary also highlighted more words that trended in 2023, including:

“Rizz” — Internet slang for “romantic appeal or charm” (noun) or “to charm, seduce” (verb), popularized by YouTuber Kai Cenat, was added to the dictionary.

“Deepfake” — Altered images or recordings that convincingly misrepresent someone’s actions or words, making it hard to distinguish between real and fake.

“Coronation” — The crowning of a new British monarch, King Charles III, sent people to the dictionary’s website to learn the term’s meaning.

“Dystopian” — In 2023, “dystopian” was a verb applied to many frightening real-world issues and was used to describe the trend in video games, books and movies depicting a dark future.

“EGOT” — Lookups for “EGOT” spiked in February when Viola Davis won a Grammy for the audiobook version of her memoir. That made her one of the 18 people to become an EGOT, or winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

“X” — When Twitter was rebranded as X on July 23, searches for the term spiked at Merriam-Webster.com, where curious people went to discover more about the mysterious letter.

“Implode” — When a submersible that went to visit the remains of the Titanic in June imploded, the term had a considerable spike as people attempted to learn more about the passengers’ fate.

“Doppelgänger” — This term got hot multiple times in 2023. It trended twice due to stories out of Germany and New York involving the attempted murder or suicide of someone’s lookalike. Further, September saw the release of Naomi Klein’s book, “Doppelgänger: A Trip Into the Mirror World.”



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X Experiments with New Grok AI Access Buttons In-Stream

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X Experiments with New Grok AI Access Buttons In-Stream

I’m not sure that X’s “Grok” AI chatbot is ever going to become a major element of the in-app experience. But owner Elon Musk has invested a lot into the new tool, so soon, it’ll be added to a lot more surfaces in the app, as X looks to make it a bigger enticement to get more subscribers to its X Premium+ subscription offering.

Last week, Musk noted that, soon, Grok would be available to analyze X posts in-stream.

In order to facilitate this, X is now looking to add a new Grok button to the lower function bar in the app, seemingly, at this stage a least, replacing the current Communities shortcut.

As you can see in this example, posted by X News Daily, a new Grok button may soon be displayed in prominent position, right in the middle of the bottom tray. Which would then make it easier to consult Grok for analysis of content, or potentially to assist in post creation, while there’s also another Grok tab in the sidebar, providing alternative access.

Grok chatbot

All of this is still in flux, as X works out the best placement for the option. But one way or another, Grok is coming to the main X UI, which could see a lot more content being pumped out by Elon’s sarcasm-focused AI bot, which is trained on real-time X conversation and data.

Though, presumably, access will remain limited.

Right now, Grok is only available to selected users who have subscribed to X’s highest-priced “X Premium+” monthly subscription package, which currently costs $US16 per month. X is rolling out Grok access to Premium+ subscribers based on when they signed up to the program, as it gradually expands the presence of its AI chatbot tool.

You would assume, then, that these new buttons and Grok analysis options will only be made available to those who are paying a premium for the app, though whether that’s actually worth the $US168 a year (annual plan) to gain access is another question.

But then again, millions of people have signed up to ChatGPT, and Elon seems confident that Grok will be as good, if not better than that. And in that sense, maybe Grok will prove to be a winner, which could then help X to maximize its subscription revenue intake, and broaden its income streams.

It’s impossible to say, because Grok is only in limited access, and as such, there’s not a lot of insight as to its potential value, or not, as yet.

But Elon wants to ensure that there remains a generative AI option that’s not biased, and not censored, a market gap that he believes Grok can fill. And again, given his investment in the required technology (Elon reportedly spent “tens of millions of dollars” on GPUs for his alternative AI project), he’ll also be looking to glean some return on that outlay, which will likely see X looking to make as big a push on Grok as it can to maximize interest.

Whether that’s a positive or negative, we’ll soon find out.



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Beyond the buzz: Blue Tick’s formula for social media success

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Beyond the buzz: Blue Tick's formula for social media success

Photo courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

Breaking through the constant clamor of the social media world is no easy feat. With the world more interconnected than ever, attention isn’t just a valuable commodity, it’s the currency brands and marketers trade in. This bustling digital bazaar has brands tripping over themselves to capture even a fleeting glance from consumers, and while some do it successfully, many often fail. Blue Tick Ltd is one of the pioneering brands that understand the rhythm and flow of the online attention economy.

Under the dynamic leadership of its founder, Dylan, Blue Tick doesn’t chase attention — it commands it. A community marketing expert with wide-ranging expertise, Dylan has always had a keen eye for what works. Thanks to his fascination with the nuances of social media strategies and consumer engagement, he proudly holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications and a master’s degree in digital marketing. That fascination was also the catalyst for Blue Tick, an enterprise that reimagines the connection between brands and their communities.

“In school, I led several successful social media campaigns that not only increased engagement with campus events but also brought significant online attention to my academic community,” Dylan recalls. “After graduating, I founded a community marketing company called Blue Tick.” This community doesn’t merely aim to increase visibility but strives to forge a bond with audiences through authenticity and innovation. Unlike traditional advertising, community marketing is about creating a living, breathing ecosystem around a brand.

At Blue Tick, the focus isn’t on broadcasting messages but on creating dialogues, recognizing that a personalized touch can turn a passive observer into an active participant and brand advocate. In a digital terrain where every brand is a storyteller, Blue Tick’s narrative is distinct. It isn’t about adding more noise; it’s about fine-tuning the message to reach the right ears. Their approach is both an art and a science, melding creative content with a laser-focused targeting system backed by robust data analytics.

“My work has proven that combining creative content with precise targeting can create impactful online experiences,” Dylan explains. Blue Tick’s marketing campaigns aren’t just seen but felt. The content they create isn’t just encountered by consumers; they experience it. As Dylan explains, “Our campaigns are more than just text and images; we also include interactive content, gamified elements, and storytelling that make the brand more vivid and interesting and stand out in the busy world of social media.” Every campaign they roll out isn’t just a series of ads; they’re the opening lines to a conversation that makes every single person feel seen and heard.

Data-driven decision-making is another of Blue Tick Ltd’s pillars. The company meticulously analyzes consumer data to understand preferences, behaviors, and trends. This insight allows them to craft marketing strategies that are not only creative but also incredibly targeted. “The content I receive is more relevant, making me more likely to pay attention, share, or make a purchase,” says one consumer, highlighting the impact of Blue Tick’s data-driven strategies.

Over the years, Dylan’s team hasn’t just understood the landscape of social media marketing; they have redefined it. As their success proves, community marketing succeeds because consumers become brand ambassadors who not only love the products but also feel a deep connection to the brand’s ethos. With Blue Tick, it’s clear that the future of marketing is not just about reaching audiences; it’s about speaking directly to the consumer’s heart, turning every campaign into a conversation, and every consumer into a community member.

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