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Instagram Bans Searches for COVID-19 AR Effects, Adds New Information Prompts in Home Feeds

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instagram bans searches for covid 19 ar effects adds new information prompts in home feeds

After adding new information prompts and links to official resources in related search queries last week, Instagram is now expanding on its COVID-19 response tools, with additional information panels in the main feed and a ban on searches for coronavirus related AR masks.

As per Instagram:

To help people get relevant and up-to-date resources, we will start showing more information from WHO and local health ministries at the top of Instagram’s Feed in some countries.”

Instagram COVID-19 info panel

This is a more extreme informational measure from Instagram. For incidents in the past, Instagram has only added relevant links and prompts within related search queries, but now, reflecting the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s looking to make these alerts more prominent, by bringing them up to the top of the main feed.

Given the reach that Instagram has, this could be a hugely beneficial update – even if only a small percentage of users actually end up tapping through, it could contribute significantly to ensuring timely, accurate information on the crisis is being disseminated within communities. Not everyone has to check it, but those that do can share what they learn with others – and given the need for proactive, aggressive measures to stop the spread of the virus, this could prove very important.

In addition to this, Instagram has announced a ban on searches for AR effects related to the pandemic:

We will no longer allow people to search for COVID-19 related AR effects on Instagram, unless they were developed in partnership with a recognized health organization. This is part of our ongoing effort to better connect people with credible health information.”

This comes after concerns were raised with the flood of coronavirus filters on Insta, which many have reported as insensitive given the rising death toll resulting from the outbreak.

Instagram coronavirus filters

Some of these filters are also considered to be spreading misinformation about the virus, and raising anxiety. As such, Instagram’s move to make them harder to find makes sense.

And finally, Instagram is also adding a new sticker to thank health workers who have been working tirelessly to keep their communities safe.

Instagram thanks sticker

I’m not sure how effective Instagram’s stickers are, in terms of advocacy and support, but Instagram does seem to be keen on rolling them out as a means to contribute to the broader conversation.

As the COVID-19 outbreak rolls on, we’ll no doubt continue to see more updates like this, as social networks seek to establish better ways to connect users with relevant info and keep people informed.

And with more and more workers being told to stay home, social networks will indeed become a more critical information and interaction lifeline. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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X Pitches Advertisers on Audience Reach Opportunities in ‘Q5’

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X Pitches Advertisers on Audience Reach Opportunities in ‘Q5’

X is making a push to win over advertisers in the holiday season, by promoting its opportunities in “Q5”, which covers the post-Christmas to mid-January period.

As explained by X:

During [Q5], we see reduced CPMs and cost-per-conversion as consumers shop for post-holiday deals and products to support their New Year’s ambitions. Last year, X saw a 5% reduction in the average CPM and a 27% reduction in the average cost-per-conversion1.

Which could present new opportunity to reach a larger audience with your promotions, if indeed they are engaging on X over the holiday period.

“Q5 is filled with a wide variety of tent-pole moments, ranging from the holidays to sports, entertainment and more. With a surge of engagement around these conversations, your brand can remain relevant to your audiences while driving maximum ROI.

X says that, based on engagement data from last year, there are a lot of potential topics of interest for brands.

X also notes that sports video views are surging in the app, up almost 25% YoY over the past 6 months, while vertical video is also gaining momentum.

“Vertical video is the fastest growing surface on X. Over 100M people around the world are consuming vertical video daily at an average of over 13 minutes per day. On many days, vertical video accounts for around 20% of all time spent on the platform.

Though I would advise some caution in trusting these data points.

In recent months, various questions have been raised as to what X counts as a video “view” versus an impression, which is when a post is shown in-feed.

Technically, X counts video views like this:

“The main X video view metric is triggered when a user watches a video for at least 2 seconds and sees at least 50% of the video player in-view. This applies to View metrics for both uploaded videos and live broadcasts.

But that’s different to the actual view count that’s displayed on posts:

“Anyone who is logged into X who views a post counts as a view, regardless of where they see the post (e.g. Home, Search, Profiles, etc.) or whether or not they follow the author. If you’re the author, looking at your own post also counts as a view.

Even worse, X counts multiple views from the same person in that count:

“Multiple views may be counted if you view a post more than once, but not all views are unique. For example, you could look at a post on web and then on your phone, and that would count as two views.

So you can see how the public view count on video posts can massively overstate how many people actually watched a clip, which could be why X is reporting such big spikes in engagement. It just depends on which “view” metric it’s referring to here, actual views or exposure in stream.

Which makes all of these numbers a little difficult to determine, while X owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino have also continued to amplify misleading engagement stats via their own X profiles, muddying the waters as to what kind of actual reach and engagement you can expect.

And that’s before you consider the concerns that other advertisers have had with their promotions potentially being displayed alongside harmful or offensive content in the app.

But depending on how you feel about these aspects, and where your target audience is active, it could be worth considering X for your post-holiday promotions, as you look to maximize sales activity over the holiday period.

It’s also worth considering that with fewer big-name brands taking prime spots in the app, there may also be additional opportunity to reach people via X promotions.

There may be value, depending on your strategic thinking, though I would be keeping an eye on actual engagement

You can read more of X’s Q5 insights here.



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Gaza and Instagram make an explosive mix in Hollywood

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Gal Gadot regularly posts demands for the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza

Gal Gadot regularly posts demands for the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Drew Angerer

Audrey Pilon-Topkara

Hollywood celebrities are paying the price for taking sides in the Gaza war — plastering their social media accounts with slogans such as “Free Palestine” or “I stand with Israel”.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for starring in “Wonder Woman”, has expressed unyielding support for her country since October 7, when Hamas fighters burst out of Gaza, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

“I stand with Israel, you should too,” she declared to her 109 million Instagram followers.

She has continued to regularly publish or share posts demanding that Hamas release the civilians it is holding — earning her both approval and criticism.

“While you’re at it, can you use your platform to share all the missing and killed innocent Palestinians too?” a user on X, formerly Twitter, wrote in response to one of her posts.

In reprisal for the October 7 attacks, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip and launched a ground invasion, killing more than 17,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas government.

The Instagram account of American model Gigi Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent and followed by 79 million, has spent less attention on fashion in recent weeks.

She cited the “systemic mistreatment of the Palestinian people by the government of Israel”.

“Stop spreading lies. You and your sisters are antisemitic,” said one comment, with many others expressing similar views.

Famous stars can generate equally strong admiration and repulsion from the public, especially if they comment on divisive issues.

Well before social media, boxer Muhammad Ali, the actor Jane Fonda and singer Bob Dylan were adored or hated over their opposition to the Vietnam War.

More recently the actors Ben Stiller, Angelina Jolie and Sean Penn showed their support for Ukraine by visiting the country, in moves that were approved by most of their Western fans.

– Insults –

But the Israel-Palestinian issue is more divisive than most, exposing celebrities to even fiercer backlashes.

Kylie Jenner, the half-sister of socialite Kim Kardashian, shared a pro-Israeli post with her 399 million Instagram followers shortly after October 7, which according to US media she deleted an hour later after being hit with insults.

The Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon was dropped by her talent agency in November for comments she made at a pro-Palestinian rally, for which she later apologised.

Melissa Barrera, star of the fifth and sixth instalments of the “Scream” franchise, was cut from the cast of the seventh by the producers, who said they had “zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred”.

The Mexican had denounced what she called “ethnic cleansing” in Gaza.

Celebrities who take sides in the conflict have “a lot to lose and little to gain”, said Nicolas Vanderbiest, founder of the public relations firm Saper Vedere in Brussels.

Producers and sponsors have little appetite for mixing geopolitics and business, he said.

In this issue, two “extremely organised” communities are on the lookout, creating a “herd affect”, Vanderbiest added.

Tom Cruise prevented his own agent from losing her job after she had referred to “genocide” on her Instagram account, according to the cinema trade press.

Celebrities could just stay quiet, but with this conflict there is “pressure to pronounce” and no immunity from criticism, said Jamil Jean-Marc Dakhlia, a professor of information and communication at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris.

“Silence is seen as taking a position,” Dakhlia said. “So we are in a situation where you are forced to take sides, and not necessarily with much nuance.”

American singer and actor Selena Gomez, with 429 million Instagram followers, has been criticised for not taking a stronger stance on the issue.

Along with hundreds of others, including Hadid, singer Jennifer Lopez and actor Joaquin Phoenix, she took a middle road, signing a petition calling for a ceasefire and the safe release of hostages.

Earlier, hundreds of celebrities, including Gadot, had signed an open letter thanking US President Joe Biden for supporting “the Jewish people” and calling for the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

Very few signed both.

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More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, CEO says By Reuters

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More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, CEO says By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: ‘X’ logo is seen on the top of the headquarters of the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S., July 30, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

(Reuters) – More than 10 million people have signed up for X in December, X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a post on the social media platform on Thursday.

This comes as the company, formerly known as Twitter, risks losing as much $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of the year as major brands pause their marketing campaigns on the platform, according to the New York Times.

X, which does not regularly release user data, could not immediately be reached for comment on how the December sign-ups compared to average or why Yaccarino disclosed the figure. Billionaire owner Elon Musk said in July the site had 540 million monthly users.

Several companies, including Apple (NASDAQ:), Disney, Warner Bros Discovery , Comcast (NASDAQ:), Lions Gate Entertainment , Paramount Global, and IBM (NYSE:) said in November they were pausing their advertisements on X.

Musk cursed advertisers that fled the platform after he agreed with a user who falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people.

A report from watchdog group Media Matters found ads from major companies next to X posts that supported Nazism. The platform filed a lawsuit in late November against Media Matters accusing it of defamation.

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