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Marcos heir wins Philippine election misinformation race

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Philippine social media has exploded with support for presidential election favourite Ferdinand Marcos Junior

Philippine social media has exploded with support for presidential election favourite Ferdinand Marcos Junior – Copyright AFP Jam STA ROSA

Faith BROWN

Philippine social media has exploded with support for presidential election favourite Ferdinand Marcos Junior, driven by a massive misinformation campaign aimed at revamping the family brand and smearing his top rival.

False and misleading claims have flooded Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter in the lead-up to the May 9 polls, pounding Filipinos with a relentless barrage of propaganda on platforms where they rank among the heaviest users in the world.

Voter surveys show the son and namesake of the country’s former dictator heading towards a landslide victory — the endgame of a decades-long, well-funded effort to return the family to the presidential palace they fled in disgrace in 1986.

Critics and opponents accuse Marcos Jr and his supporters of trying to portray his father’s two-decade rule as a golden age of peace and prosperity while whitewashing human rights abuses and the plundering of state coffers.

But the effort to make over the family’s image appears to be translating into votes among the largely young electorate and those nostalgic for the Marcos years.

Al Contrata, 25, was born a decade after a military-backed popular uprising toppled the dictator from power and chased the family into exile in the United States.

Facebook posts about the elder Marcos have persuaded him to vote for his son.

“I learned about the infrastructure that was built during the time of president Marcos. Since then, I saw him in a positive light,” said Contrata, a delivery driver near Manila, who voted for President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

“I think maybe Bongbong Marcos can continue what his father started,” referring to the candidate by his nickname.

– ‘Troll armies’ –

Election-related misinformation has focused primarily on the two presidential frontrunners, Marcos Jr and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, analysis by AFP’s Fact Check team and local fact-checking alliance Tsek.ph shows.

“Data show Robredo reeling from preponderantly negative messages and Marcos Jr enjoying overwhelming positive ones,” said Maria Diosa Labiste and Yvonne Chua of Tsek.ph.

They said the trend was reminiscent of the flood of posts about Duterte and his opponents in 2016 that were seen as key to his win.

Marcos Jr draws support from the family’s northern stronghold as well as his alliance with vice presidential candidate and first daughter Sara Duterte.

But social media’s influence is critical.

One major battleground is Facebook, the most popular platform in the Philippines and used by most of its 76 million internet users.

Since Marcos Jr’s narrow loss to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race, pro-Marcos pages have pumped out misinformation about everything from electoral fraud and the family’s wealth to economic achievements during his father’s rule.

Robredo, who trailed Marcos by 45 percentage points in the latest poll by Pulse Asia Research, has also been a major target.

Among the dozens of claims about the Marcoses debunked by AFP is the popular assertion that the patriarch made his fortune when he was a lawyer via a massive gold payment from a client.

AFP also fact-checked dozens of false or misleading claims about Robredo, including doctored photos and videos that aim to portray her as stupid, unfriendly towards voters or even a communist.

Activity has only intensified ahead of the 2022 elections, drowning out support for Robredo.

In the past year, there have been nearly 75 million interactions — reactions, comments or shares — with posts on more than a hundred pro-Marcos pages with at least 3,000 followers, according to data from social media monitoring platform CrowdTangle.

That compares with just over 39 million interactions for the same number of pages promoting Robredo.

When Robredo announced her presidential bid on October 7, interactions on pro-Marcos pages spiked to more than 1.8 million — about nine times the daily average.

Pro-Robredo pages received 487,000 interactions.

“It’s hard for the other campaigns to compete with the Marcos machinery online, because this is six years in the making,” said Cleve Arguelles, an assistant lecturer in political science at De La Salle University in Manila.

“They’ve really worked hard to dominate these spaces and they’re reaping the benefits of investing early in troll armies and building these online communities.”

It is not possible to tell how many of the pages were created by real supporters or the candidates.

In January, Twitter suspended more than 300 accounts reportedly linked to supporters of Marcos Jr, which the social media giant said had violated its rules on manipulation and spam.

Marcos Jr has denied using trolls.

In an interview with the One PH channel broadcast on Monday, he accused fact-checkers of sometimes having “their own agenda” and inventing quotes that they attributed to him.

“For me, I am the victim of fake news, because there are many things that were said about me that are not true,” Marcos Jr said.

– ‘Long-term investment’ –

Marcos Jr’s social media strength is the result of a “long-term investment” to rehabilitate the family brand, said Jonathan Corpus Ong, a disinformation researcher at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University.

After the fallen dictator’s death in 1989, his heirs returned home and began their remarkable political comeback, getting elected to public office while distancing themselves from their past.

The Marcoses have previously denied local media reports that they asked the now-defunct British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica — at the centre of a Facebook data scandal in the past decade — to “rebrand” the family.

Members of the clan are often portrayed as victims in misleading posts claiming they receive unfair treatment from mainstream media — echoing claims by former US president Donald Trump.

Those messages resonated with Nelson Sy, 59, who manages two pro-Marcos groups on Facebook.

Sy, who sells imported cosmetics and perfumes in Manila, admitted becoming an “even more avid supporter” of Marcos Jr after seeing posts that “attacked” him.

“You know what they say, ‘the more they attack, the more we multiply’,” said Sy, who rejects fraud accusations against the Marcoses.

To combat misinformation, Facebook said it was working with the Commission on Elections to “connect people with accurate election information” as well as supporting fact-checking activities and investing in education programmes.

But Maria Ressa, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of local news site Rappler, said the platform could do more to “help bring down the lies”.

“You cannot have integrity of elections if you don’t have integrity of facts,” she said.

“If they make the facts debatable, they are essentially… dooming our nation.”


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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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