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FCC Republican excitedly endorses Trump’s crackdown on social media

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Enlarge / FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

Getty Images | Bloomberg

Republican Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission is cheering on President Trump’s attack on Big Tech this week. The commissioner also accused social media platforms of bias against the president and of trying to swing the 2020 presidential election.

Carr has supported Trump’s action in a series of tweets, in an official statement posted on the FCC website, and in interviews including one with Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business channel.

“This is really welcome news,” Carr told Dobbs. “Since the 2016 election, the far left has hopped from hoax to hoax to hoax to explain how it lost to President Trump at the ballot box. One thing they’ve done is look to social media platforms and they’ve put pressure on them for the crime, in their view, of staying neutral in the 2016 election and they’re committed to not letting those platforms stay neutral in the run-up to 2020. So this step by President Trump shines a light on some of that activity and tees up some steps that can be taken.”

@BrendanCarrFCC weighs in on today’s executive order: pic.twitter.com/nR2A1y0AeR

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2020

“Twitter made the decision to take on the president of the United States in a partisan, political debate and it did so in a really disingenuous way,” Carr added, saying that Trump was right to warn of voter fraud in mail-in ballots. In a tweet today, Carr accused Twitter of “punishing speakers based on whether it approves or disapproves of their politics.” He’s been making similar arguments for months.

“If they go after the president, who are they going after next?” Carr said in a separate interview about Twitter, also on Fox.

Chairman Ajit Pai takes measured tone

Carr’s enthusiasm for Trump’s executive order is significant because the FCC would be tasked with implementing part of it. Trump’s order calls on the FCC to “expeditiously propose regulations to clarify” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in order to limit social media platforms’ legal protections for hosting third-party content when the platforms take down content they consider objectionable.

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The FCC’s power to do this is limited, as we explained in an in-depth article on Trump’s order today. And Carr may be alone among the five FCC commissioners in actually wanting to carry out Trump’s wishes. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai didn’t carry out Trump’s call in 2017 to revoke broadcast licenses from stations whose news coverage Trump disliked. Pai did question Twitter’s moderation decisions in a tweet today, but he is generally against imposing new regulations.

“This debate is an important one,” Pai said yesterday. “The Federal Communications Commission will carefully review any petition for rulemaking filed by the Department of Commerce.”

Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote on Twitter that Trump “has [the] right to seek review of [the] statute’s application. As a conservative, I’m troubled voices are stifled by liberal tech leaders. At [the] same time, I’m extremely dedicated to First Amendment which governs much here.”

FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel blasted Trump, saying, “an Executive Order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the President’s speech police is not the answer. It’s time for those in Washington to speak up for the First Amendment. History won’t be kind to silence.”

Even if the Pai-led FCC doesn’t do much in response to Trump’s order, Carr’s full-throated support for Trump could help him win the job of FCC chairman in 2021 if the president wins re-election. Pai wouldn’t have to step down, but FCC chairs traditionally end their terms after a presidential election even if the same party stays in power. If Trump wins a second term and Pai leaves the FCC, Trump could appoint Carr to be the chairman. Unlike nominations for people who aren’t yet on the commission, which require Senate approval, the president can promote a commissioner to chair unilaterally.

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Carr says Facebook is trying to “tilt an election”

The White House Twitter account posted the video of Carr’s interview with Dobbs, and Carr retweeted that. In the interview, Carr criticized Facebook’s oversight board, saying, “If you were to hand-pick a group to tilt an election against the incumbent president, I don’t think it would look much different than the oversight board that Facebook has put together.” Carr previously called the Facebook board “your new speech police” in one of his many tweets about what he considers censorship on social media websites.

Dobbs was in full agreement with Carr. “It’s ridiculous some of the comments that have resulted from the Twitter folks trying to explain their idiotic attempts to limit the free speech of the president of the United States. It cannot be condoned rationally, can it?” Dobbs said. Dobbs also said that Trump “served notice, more than sufficient notice, that he was not going to be trifled with by Big Tech, pencil-neck geeks in the form of one [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey, who has tried to become his nemesis in Silicon Valley.”

Carr conflated free speech on Twitter with the First Amendment, despite the fact that the First Amendment only prevents government-imposed restrictions on free speech (not restrictions from private companies). “Every speaker in this country has a First Amendment right to free speech,” Carr said in the statement he issued on the FCC website. In the Fox interview with Dobbs, Carr continued:

Here’s what’s really important about the president’s executive order: Everybody has free speech, First Amendment rights. What’s different about these platforms is that Congress in the 1990s afforded them a very special and unique legal liability and protection that all other political actors don’t enjoy. That maybe made sense when you had the Prodigy messaging board that was in Congress’s mind. But flash-forward 20 years, these are now the largest, most powerful corporations when it comes to speech. So I think it’s entirely appropriate for the president to say, is it time to take another look at Section 230 and whether that makes sense, given where we are today.

Carr also accused social media websites of misleading the public about how they apply content moderation. “If you’re any other type of business and you represent to Congress and the public that you’re a neutral platform, and you engage in some of the conduct that we’re seeing, you’d be held liable for an unfair business practice at that point,” he said. Carr, who was the FCC’s general counsel before becoming a commissioner in 2017, said that he wants “a neutral application of terms of service to all Americans.”

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While Carr supports Trump’s attempted crackdown on social-media websites, he has consistently fought against consumer-protection rules for broadband providers that the FCC regulates. When Carr voted to kill net neutrality rules, which prohibit ISPs from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, he said, “I am proud to help end this two-year experiment with heavy-handed regulation—this massive regulatory overreach.” That vote ended the policy of regulating ISPs as common carriers and eliminated other consumer protections such as rules against hidden fees and a process for consumers to file complaints about unjust or unreasonable prices and practices.

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Google and marketing industry predictably hostile to proposed surveillance advertising ban

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Google and marketing industry predictably hostile to proposed surveillance advertising ban


The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act (BSAA), was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). The bill would no longer allow advertisers to target ads to consumers based on personal information. Two exceptions would be broad, location-based targeting and contextual ads.

Why the legislation was introduced. “Disinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses,” and other harms were cited by California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, the lead sponsor of the bill, as the basis for the legislation forward. 

Privacy search engine DuckDuckGo tweeted its support of the bill, saying that “The collection of your private data to target you w/ads violates your privacy & leads to discrimination, manipulation, & disinformation.”

In short, the lawmakers want to stop allowing advertisers to “exploit” and profit from the data collected from consumers. It’s not clear that this excludes “first-party” data. The text of the bill makes no explicit distinction between data collected voluntarily and data collected by surreptitious tracking.

“An advertising facilitator may not target the dissemination of an advertisement; or knowingly enable an advertiser or a third party to target the dissemination of an advertisement, including by providing the advertiser or third party with (i) a list of individuals or connecteddevices; (ii) contact information of an individual; (iii) a unique identifier that may be used to identify an individual or a connected device; or (iv) other personal information that can be used to identify an individual or a connected device.”

Google’s response. Google’s take was both predictable and apparent from the title of the blog post it published: “The harmful consequences of Congress’s anti-tech bills.” This was in reference to this legislation, as well as other antitrust bills pending in the Senate this week (the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act).

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How might all of this impact Google search? The end result would be lower-quality search results, Google said. For example, the company warned that the proposed legislation would prevent it from:

  • Showing directions from Google Maps in its search results. 
  • Providing answers to urgent questions.
  • Highlighting business information when someone searches for a local business.
  • Integrating its products (e.g., Gmail, Calendar, Docs). 

Why we care. Legislation like this could be a game-changer for every digital marketer. What’s particularly troubling is that, as drafted, it seems to prohibit the use of voluntarily submitted names, addresses or emails for targeting purposes. Whether the bill’s sponsors intend this — whether, indeed, they understand the distinction between first- and third-party data — is hard to know.

Not for the first time in the technology space we see Congress preparing to address a problem that surely exists, but that it seems only faintly to understand.

Read next: Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers

Industry says the bill goes too far. The general consensus seems to be that the bill won’t (or at least shouldn’t) pass in its current state, won’t actually accomplish what lawmakers want, and would have serious consequences for the marketing industry.

Susan Wenograd, VP, performance marketing at Marpipe, said the bill is well-intentioned. However, the idea that the user would have no say in how their personal information is used swings the pendulum widely into the other direction, she noted. 

“It removes personalization from advertising under the assumption users want no tracking,” Wenograd said. “As with many things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.”

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Marketing strategist Doug R. Thomas of Magniventris, however, seemed more accepting of the overall direction of the legislation: “I’m really not sure of the viability of specifically The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act. I’ll leave it to horse race bettors to wrangle those odds, though. Feasibility notwithstanding, my gut says that this is a statement of the direction display ads are going to be forced to move towards as legislation both in the US and abroad is refined.” He described the bill as “a bellwether for the overall tack of future regulation.”

Additional reporting by Kim Davis.


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Main Benefits of Having Field Service Management Software

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Main Benefits of Having Field Service Management Software


Field service management is definitely the most demanding task for the majority of managers. It’s not simple for field managers to apply a paper-based management system to optimize workforce efficiency. All businesses that provide field services need to have suitable field service management software for managing the workforce, equipment, or related resources on site.

Generally, field service management includes work scheduling, tracking working hours, task dispatching, and, above all, invoicing customers for completed work. As a result, each company that adopts proper field service management software will make all these activities easier and simpler.

What Is Field Service Management Software?

Field service management software helps companies to reach their wanted business goals and boosts productivity. Every business owner usually aims to gain profit by following two basic objectives: use of resources up to standard and highest client satisfaction.

Today, customer expectations for superb customer service increase every day. FSM software overcomes that burden and assists your business to obtain effective solutions such as improved communication with customers, employees, and management. The businesses that utilize reliable FSM software, such as FieldAware, can quickly seize the opportunity to be one of the top competitors on the market.

If you haven’t employed FSM software yet, we give you the main five benefits of using FSM software. So, read below to understand why your business needs to adopt it.

Streamlines Work

A lot of industries continue to use papers for documentation or outmoded software to record the daily work activities. That results in work delays, scheduling overlaps, dispatching issues, a number of incorrect data entries, or even high-cost demands.

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With FSM software, every job task is sent to the technician’s mobile phone, along with the optimal route to the location, tools that need to be used, inventory management processing, client’s service history, service reports, and other valuable information for serving the customer best according to their needs.

It fastly helps eradicate paper-based field services and offers the organization a possibility to streamline field service work easily.

Improves Scheduling

FSM software allows you to generate and manage multiple jobs easily. Each field service business heavily depends on its scheduling and the dispatching process in order to make the working tasks smooth.

Once you implement a sound management system, it improves your scheduling immediately. In other words, it means that by implementing FSM, your business intelligence and planning make a major impact on on-time service technicians, reducing double-booking, and sending the right technician on site. On the other hand, a faulty scheduling system results in chaos and an excessive loss of revenue.

Real-Time Tracking

Aside from the benefits to improve the service management activities, the FSM’s customized tool allows the client to track the records related to a certain service request or service delivery.

After the service is finished, you also have an option to examine the performance of the field technician to improve your overall service. Additionally, it becomes pretty easy for you to supervise and manage your technicians more intelligently and foresee issues even before they occur.

Once you have the technician’s precise location, you can relatively easily change routes and make better decisions when dealing with surprising events or emergencies in the best way possible.

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Effective Communication

Customer acquisition and retention are the two most important goals that every organization should have. Once your customers are disappointed with your services, you can lose them. The most efficient way to boost customer satisfaction is by having better communication with the technicians who resolve your customer’s inquiries.

With FSM the technicians are able to record relevant service notes, different diagnostics, test results, important data, tools used, and labor spent in their devices. They can also capture and send on-arrival photos or videos using.

Furthermore, FSM provides real-time data in accordance with the work requirements to maintain the customer’s happiness using innovative ways to enhance customer service. Plus, the customers have the ability to track the technician’s location. As a result, customer engagement also strengthens once companies employ FSM software.

Invoicing Is Fast

Invoicing is one of the most crucial assets of every field service company. It usually takes multiple weeks to appraise the work done once every data is recorded and analyzed manually.

When using FSM, the service technicians send all the job-related data such as labor spent, tools and parts used, customer’s digital signature, and job result images.

Based on the data provided, the FSM system automatically creates invoices and calculates the cost, identifying the services available under warranty, delayed payments, and discounts.

Final Words

The field service management software manages almost everything that increases your strength to make it more effective and offers field employees the resources to make their jobs simpler. Once you invest in this kind of solution, you can easily profit from the benefits of establishing great customer relations, reducing operational costs, and much more.

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How Contextualizing Topics can Lead to Press-worthy Content for Your Brand

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How Contextualizing Topics can Lead to Press-worthy Content for Your Brand


The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

More brands than ever are investing and producing quality journalism to drive their earned media strategy. They recognize that it’s a valuable channel for simultaneously building authority while finding and connecting with customers where they consume news.

But producing and distributing great content is no easy feat.

At Stacker and our brand-partnership model Stacker Studio, our team has mastered how to create newsworthy, data-driven stories for our newswire. Since 2017, we’ve placed thousands of stories across the most authoritative news outlets in the country, including MSN, Newsweek, SFGate, and Chicago Tribune.

Certain approaches have yielded a high hit rate (i.e., pick up), and one of our most successful tactics is helping add context to what’s going on in the world. (I mentioned this as a tactic in my Whiteboard Friday, How to Make Newsworthy Content: Part 2.)

Contextualizing topics, statistics, and events serves as a core part of our content ideation process. Today, I’m going to share our strategy so you can create content that has real news value, and that can resonate with newsroom editors.

Make a list of facts and insights

You likely have a list of general topics relevant to your brand, but these subject areas are often too general as a launching point for productive brainstorming. Starting with “personal finance,” for example, leaves almost too much white space to truly explore and refine story ideas.

Instead, it’s better to hone in on an upcoming event, data set, or particular news cycle. What is newsworthy and specifically happening that’s aligned with your general audience?

At the time of writing this, Jack Dorsey recently stepped down as CEO of Twitter. That was breaking news and hardly something a brand would expect to cover.

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But take the event and try contextualizing it. In general, what’s the average tenure of founders before stepping down? What’s the difference in public market success for founder-led companies? In regard to Parag Agrawal stepping into the CEO role, what is the percentage of non-white CEOs in American companies?

As you can see, when you contextualize, it unlocks promising avenues for creative storyboarding.

Here are some questions to guide this process.

Question 1: How does this compare to similar events/statistics?

Comparison is one of the most effective ways to contextualize. It’s hard to know the true impact of a fact when it exists stand alone or in a vacuum.

Let’s consider hurricane season as an example. There’s a ton of stories around current hurricane seasons, whether it’s highlighting the worst hurricanes of all time or getting a sense of a particular hurricane’s scope of destruction or impact on a community.

But we decided to compare it another way. What if we asked readers to consider what hurricane seasons were like the year they were born?

This approach prompts a personal experience for the readers to compare what hurricane seasons are like now compared to a more specific “then” — one that feels particularly relevant and relatable.

I’ll talk more about time-based comparisons in the next section, but you can also compare:

  • Across industries/topics (How much damage do hurricanes do compared to tidal waves?)

  • Across geographic areas (Which part of the ocean is responsible for the most destructive hurricanes? Where has the most damage been done around the world?)

  • Across demographics (Which generation is most frightened of hurricanes?)

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There are dozens of possibilities, so allow yourself to freely explore all potential angles.

Question 2: What are the implications on a local level?

In some cases, events or topics are discussed online without the details of how they’re impacting individual people or communities. We might know what something means for a general audience, but is there a deeper impact or implication that’s not being explored?

One of the best ways to do this is through localization, which involves taking a national trend and evaluating how it’s reflected and/or impacts specific areas. Newspapers do this constantly, but brands can do it, too.

For example, there are countless stories about climate change, but taking a localized approach can help make the phenomenon feel “closer to home.”

We put together a piece that illustrated significant ways climate change has affected each state (increased flooding in Arkansas, the Colorado River drying up, sea levels rising off South Carolina, etc.). You could take this a step further and look at a particular city or community if you had supporting data or research.

If you serve particular markets, it’s easy to implement this strategy. Orchard, for example, does a great job publishing real estate market trend reports in the areas they serve.

But if you’re a national or international brand that doesn’t cater to specific regions, try using data sets that have information for all countries, states, cities, ZIP codes, etc., and present all of it, allowing readers to identify data points that matter to them. When readers can filter data or interact with your content, it allows them to have a more personalized reading experience.

Question 3: What sides of the conversation have we not fully heard yet?

The best way to tap into the missing pieces of a story is to consider how other topics/subject areas interact with that story.

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I’ll stick with our climate change theme. We did the story above on how climate change has impacted every state, which feels comprehensive about the topic, but there’s more to dive into.

Outside of just thinking how climate change is impacting geographic areas, we asked ourselves: How is it affecting different industries?

Now we have a look at a more specific angle that’s fascinating — how climate change has impacted the wine industry.

When you have a topic and want to uncover less-explored angles, ask yourself a set of questions that’s similar to the compare/contrast model:

  • How does this topic impact different regions? (E.g. What is wine’s cultural role in various countries?)

  • How does this topic impact different demographics of people? (E.g. Who profits most from wine making?)

  • How does this topic impact different industries? (E.g. How have wineries/vineyards impacted tourism?)

  • How is this topic impacted by these various things? (E.g. How is the flavor of wine impacted by region? Who buys the most wine, and where do they live?)

This should create a good brainstorming foundation to identify interesting hooks that aren’t often explored about a really common topic.

Conclusion

Not only will taking the approach of contextualizing differentiate your story from everything else out there, it will also allow you to re-promote it when a similar event occurs or the topic trends again in the future. Contextualized content is often this perfect blend of timeliness and evergreen that’s really difficult to achieve otherwise.



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