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Messenger Kids Launches New Digital Literacy Initiative to Better Educate Youngsters on Key Risks

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Messenger Kids Launches New Digital Literacy Initiative to Better Educate Youngsters on Key Risks


Meta is looking to educate kids on key elements of digital literacy and safe online behavior as part of a new program in Messenger Kids, which will help youngsters learn about avoiding harmful actions and protecting themselves online, among other elements.

As explained by Messenger:

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of ‘Pledge Planets, an interactive, in-app activity that will help kids learn and practice how to make healthy online decisions, stay safe and build resilience. Kids will explore different planets based on the tenets of the Messenger Kids Pledge, helping characters navigate various social situations and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes. By completing the games in each episode, kids will see that their kind, respectful, safe and fun actions have a big impact on those around them.”

The Messenger Kids Pledge, originally published in 2018, focuses on the core tenets of using the app:

Messenger Kids pledge

The new games have been built around these elements, to educate users on what they actually mean in practice, by providing examples of negative actions, and behavior that goes against these rules, in order to highlight what they should both avoid, and report in extreme cases.

The first two games in the initiative focus on negative actions and understanding other users’ actions in social apps.

  • Rough Reviews: The sandwich shop has a website where customers can leave comments about their experiences. Players must help the owner read through the reviews and match the correct online response to each one. In doing so, kids will learn to recognize kind and unkind behavior and become familiar with tools like blocking and reporting. The game also provides an option to “relax” and pause the game for a few seconds in exchange for bonus time later, which can help kids learn that it’s okay to take time to think before offering a response.
  • Order Up: Customers approach the counter to order a sandwich. In building each one, players must select the emojis that best respond to the customer’s mood. This uses empathy to teach kids how to read and react to various emotional states of people online.

The games were developed in partnership with a range of adolescent health experts and advisors, in order to ensure that they cover off on the key educational aspects that kids need to get a better understanding of negative behaviors, and interacting in a healthy and beneficial way.

It’s a good initiative, and while some will still balk at the idea of Meta providing education for kids, or having their children use Messenger Kids at all, digital literacy is now a key area of development that all youngsters need to learn, given the amount of time they now spend online in varying forms.

That’s become even more pronounced as a result of the pandemic, within which, online connection has been the only form of social interaction that many youngsters have had. A lot of kids now spend the majority of their recreational time online, and as VR becomes a bigger element, and indeed, the metaverse in a broader push, that’s only likely to increase. Add in the increasing work from home shift, and it’s clear that kids need to understand, from a young age, the key elements of safe and accountable online behavior.

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You may not want this info coming from Meta, but somebody needs to fill the void. And while many teachers have now built digital literacy education into their own curriculum, we still lack a standardized, up to date structure for teaching kids these key lessons.

As such, this could end up being a valuable new initiative, and with millions of young people now connecting in the app, Messenger Kids could be a key platform for such education.



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Meta Announces New Privacy-Focused Ad Targeting Solutions, Improvements in Automated Targeting

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NFTs are Coming to Facebook and Instagram – Whether You Like Them or Not

With Apple’s ATT data privacy update changing the game for app-based advertisers, Meta has been one of the biggest losers, with the company projecting up to $10 billion in revenue loss this year alone based on the amount of users opting out of data tracking in its apps.

Of course, part of that is due to Meta’s poor reputation on data privacy and protection, with the high-profile Cambridge Analytica case, in particular, shining a light on the platform’s past lax privacy measures, which have led to misuse.

But Meta has evolved its processes, and it’s now looking to ensure that it’s providing more data-protective solutions that will help advertisers maximize their campaigns, while also aligning with broader industry shifts.

On this front, Meta has today outlined a range of new ad measures, beginning with a new element within its Advantage ad suite, which incorporates Meta’s various ad automation and AI-based tools.

As explained by Meta:

“We’re rolling out Advantage custom audience, a new targeting automation product that leverages an advertiser’s Custom Audience to reach new and existing customers. This is similar to Lookalike audiences that find people who are likely to be interested in your business, except that Advantage custom audience goes beyond the 1%, 5% or 10% similarity ranges you are used to, while also prioritizing delivery of ads to people in your Custom Audience.”

Expanding the matching depth for Custom Audiences could be big, with the process guided by Meta’s evolving machine learning tools to help maximize campaign performance with less manual effort.

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Many performance advertisers have noted the improvement in Meta’s automated targeting tools, and with broader matching options to work with, it could be a good way to improve reach and response. Likely worthy of an experiment at least.

Meta’s also updating its Click to Messenger ads, with a new optimization that will target users more likely to make a purchase via a message thread.

Typically, we show Click to Messenger ads to people who are most likely to initiate a conversation with a business on WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct. With this update, we’re introducing the ability for advertisers to run Click to Messenger ads which will reach the people who are most likely to make a purchase in a thread.”

That adds another dimension to Click to Messenger targeting, which could help to optimize reach to people that are more likely to buy in-stream. Meta’s also adding a new ad format for lead generation which will funnel customers to either Messenger or a form, depending on which one the customer is most likely to interact with.

Meta’s also made improvements to its privacy solutions, including its Private Lift Measurement product. While at the same time, it’s also been working with various academics to study the impacts of the privacy shift.

“For example, we collaborated with academics from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to better understand the value of offsite data for ads personalization, in part to help guide the development of solutions that leverage privacy-enhancing technologies. The research reveals that advertisers’ costs increased by 37% when removing offsite data from the ad delivery system with outsized impact on smaller advertisers in CPG, retail, and e-commerce, who are often more reliant on digital performance advertising than larger, more established companies.”

So while Meta’s working to build more privacy-protective processes, it’s also looking to highlight the impacts that these changes will have on the broader industry, as it pushes the big platforms to factor such into their future changes and shifts.

Finally, Meta’s also looking to help advertisers to prepare for the next stage of digital connection, partnering with Coursera on a new, free course called “What is the metaverse?”

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“This course explains what the metaverse is, what we know about it today and what it means for the future of work, play and life. We’re working with partners like Coursera to give people, businesses, creators and developers the tools needed to succeed as the metaverse takes shape.”

Though you will be getting Meta’s interpretation of what ‘metaverse’ means, which may not be exactly how it plays out. Meta’s increasingly keen to impress its vision of the metaverse future onto anyone who’ll listen, but it’s also important to note that the metaverse does not exist, and will not exist in a fully-functional, interoperable way for some time yet.

Still, it may be worth tuning in, and getting some insight into Meta’s future vision, and how it relates to advertising and brand reach.

You can pre-enroll to the new ‘What is the Metaverse’?’ course here.

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