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Facebook Removes Three More Networks of Malicious Accounts, Including Coordinated Business …

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Given the widespread coverage of how social media has been utilized for political manipulation, it was really only a matter of time before we saw the same tactics deployed in corporate conflict.

This week, Facebook has provided an update on the latest set of accounts which it’s removed due to ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’, and while the first two groups in its listing are along similar lines to its now common reports of the same (efforts originating from Russia and Iran respectively), the third relates to a telecommunications in Myanmar, which was found to be using a group of 13 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages in order to conduct a smear campaign against its corporate rivals.

As explained by Facebook:

“The individuals behind this network used fake accounts to manage Pages posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs. They also purported to be customers of some of the telecom providers in Myanmar posting critical commentary about those companies and their services. The Page admins and account owners typically shared content in English and Burmese about alleged business failures and planned market exit of some service providers in Myanmar, and their alleged fraudulent activity against their customers.”

The tactics are indeed very similar to those used by foreign operatives seeking to influence voter action, though they are somewhat less discreet and more pointed in their focus.

Facebook’s security team investigated the various posts and ads, and found that the push was coming from two opposing providers in Myanmar.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to two telecom providers – Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam – and Gapit Communications, a PR firm in Vietnam.”

In some ways, it makes sense that they would attempt this, and there has always been a level of risk that this might happen. Seeing the ways in which people can be swayed by Facebook content – or at least seemingly moved to action by Facebook posts – there’s undoubtedly a range of corporations who have at least considered how they might be able to do the same. And there likely is, unfortunately, ways in which they could do this – though this example underlines that it does come with a level of risk (not to mention it being illegal in most regions).

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Facebook’s latest set of removals add to the thousands of other Pages and profiles which it’s taken action against due to detected coordinated manipulation efforts over the last year. Facebook has significantly ramped up its processes on this front, and with the 2020 US Presidential Election looming, it’s going to be under more pressure than ever to keep up that push, and keep voters as safe as possible in the run up to the polls.

Facebook’s key aim is to eliminate foreign interference as a factor – The Social Network has previously noted that the impact of such interference is likely minimal, but while it exists in any form, it’s difficult to rule out as a guiding force of some kind.

If Facebook can lessen such efforts, it can continue to focus on other areas to improve information flow, and avoid the spread of misleading content.

You can read the specifics of Facebook’s latest account removals here

Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter

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5 Effective Ways to Run Facebook Ads A/B Tests

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Facebook Ads A/B Tests or split tests help them try different versions of ads with various campaign elements. This process helps them arrive at the best version for the organization’s target. 

A/B Tests offer a vast pool of resources to try out various versions. You may get caught up and lose your way to arriving at the best version in a limited time. To better understand this topic you can read the Facebook ad testing guide. Here are five effective ways to run Facebook Ads A/B Tests-

1) Start with the minimal number of variables

This approach will help you analyze the impact of a variable much better. The lesser the variables, the better will be the relevant results and more conclusive. Once you have various versions, you will need to run them through the A/B Significance Test to determine if the test results are valid.

2) The second way is to select the correct structure. 

There are two structures in A/B tests. One is a single ad test, and the other is multiple single variation ad sets. All the variations will go under one ad set in the first structure. Each variation will be under a separate ad set in the second one. Out of the two, the second one works out to be better and gives better results.

3) Use of spreadsheets is important to stay organized. 

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These spreadsheets help collect and analyze data to get meaningful insights and arrive at data-backed decisions.

4) Do target advertising and set realistic time goals. 

One approach is to choose an entirely new set of audiences. Also, the data pool should be vast and not the same as some existing campaigns. The reason for choosing a different audience is that Facebook may mix up your ads and give contaminated output. 

Another approach to choosing the right audience is to pick geography. It works better, especially when you have business in a particular region.   

It’s also essential to set a realistic timeline for your testing. Facebook suggests one should run a test for at least four days, but you can choose to run the test for up to 30 days.   

5) Set an ideal budget. 

The concept of a perfect budget is subjective. But, you can fix it yourself, or Facebook can do that for you based on your testing data. A large part of the test budget is spent on avoiding audience duplication. If the same audience sees variations, it could affect the test results.

Besides these top five effective ideas, you will need to take a few more action points to make the testing process efficient. Make sure you put the website’s domain link and not the landing page link in the ad, as that doesn’t look good. Put appropriate Call To Action Button, such as ‘Learn More,’ ‘Buy Now,’ etc. It’s also important to see how your ad is coming across on various electronic gadgets- mobile, tablets, etc.

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Another strategy that works is trying to engage the customer. You may add social engagement buttons such as ‘Like’ or ‘Comment.’ Use high-resolution images as they work better with the customers. Low-quality, highly edited images are often not liked and trusted by the consumers.

You can learn more about the audience behavior patterns with A/B test results. Conducting these tests on Facebook streamlines the entire process and makes it smooth for you. With the test results, advertisers and marketers can work on the creatives they need to utilize.

To sum it up, you can run an effective A/B test campaign within the specified budget. You don’t need to spend massive amounts to get your advertisement right. You’ll make the correct assumptions about the performance of variations with a good understanding of business and consumers.

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