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Meta Launches New ‘Sphere’ AI System Which Can Scan and Measure the Accuracy of Reference Links

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This will no doubt provoke the many Facebook critics who remain hell-bent against fact-checks.

Today, Meta has announced the launch of a new AI model which is capable of automatically scanning hundreds of thousands of website citations at once, in order to check whether they truly support the corresponding claims on a page. 

As you can see in this example, Meta’s new ‘Sphere’ system is able to scan a Wikipedia page, for example, for supporting links within the text. It can then match up whether the linked pages actually do reinforce the claims made in the original post.

As explained by Meta:

“[The process] calls attention to questionable citations, allowing human editors to evaluate the cases most likely to be flawed without having to sift through thousands of properly cited statements. If a citation seems irrelevant, our model will suggest a more applicable source, even pointing to the specific passage that supports the claim.”

So it’s essentially a double-checking measure for reference links, which right now is only focused on Wikipedia pages. But it could eventually be expanded to all websites and reference links, helping to ensure more accurate data sharing, with less manual work.

Meta says that it’s focusing on Wikipedia to begin with, because it’s one of the most referenced knowledge sources on the web.

“As the most popular encyclopedia of all time – with some 6.5 million articles – Wikipedia is the default first stop in the hunt for research information, background material, or an answer to that nagging question about pop culture. But sometimes that quick search for information comes with a nagging doubt: How do we know whether what we’re reading is accurate?”

Because Wikipedia is crowd-sourced, and always expanding, it’s becoming ever more difficult for the platform’s team of volunteers to keep up with public edits, which can lead to misinformation and confusion. You’ve likely seen this in high-profile news stories, where people will edit a Wikipedia page as a joke.

Which may be good for the memes, but it can also lessen the accuracy of Wikipedia’s info, and with so many people now relying on the site for information, that can be problematic.

Which is where this new system comes in – though it could also potentially hold even more value as an SEO tool, in detecting and alerting web page owners to broken or erroneous links, which could help to ensure better data mapping to contextually match up relevant queries.

An automated system able to alert site managers to problematic links could be hugely valuable in this respect, and could improve broader web information flow and accuracy, facilitating a better data ecosystem.

It also marks yet another significant advance in AI understanding, and human-like processing of information.

“To succeed at this task, an AI model must understand the claim in question, find the corresponding passage on the cited website, and predict whether the source truly verifies the statement […] Where a person would use reasoning and common sense to evaluate a citation, our system applies natural language understanding (NLU) techniques to estimate the likelihood that a claim can be inferred from a source. In NLU, a model translates human sentences (or words, phrases, or paragraphs) into complex mathematical representations. We’ve designed our tools to compare these representations in order to determine whether one statement supports or contradicts another.”

Meta says that the model, and its dataset of 134 million web pages, is now available via open-source to expand related research projects.

It’s an interesting project, with a range of potential use cases – and as more people become even more reliant on what they read on the web, any measures that can improve the accuracy of what’s displayed can only be a positive.

You can read more about Meta’s Sphere project here.  

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Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock

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Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock

Last year was brutal for Meta Platforms (META 3.01%). The Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger parent’s ad revenue suffered as a weak macroeconomic environment and changes to ad tracking and measurement on Apple‘s mobile operating system combined to create a significant headwind.

This headwind wreaked havoc on the stock, with shares of the tech company declining 65% last year. But The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that there may be some signs of improvement in Meta’s business — something that could prove to be a catalyst for the stock.

Here’s a look at why 2023 could be a decent year for Meta’s business and possibly its stock, too.

Meta’s nightmare 2022

It’s not surprising that Meta’s stock took a beating last year. The bad news started early in 2022, when Meta reported its fourth-quarter 2021 results and said first-quarter revenue growth would slow dramatically due to Apple’s iOS changes, a weak macroeconomic environment, and a shift of user engagement within the company’s apps to its TikTok-like Reels format, which was monetizing at a lower rate than its more mature formats. 

These trends largely persisted throughout 2022, as revenue growth decelerated dramatically in Q1 and turned negative by Q2. Revenue growth continued to decline on a year-over-year basis in Q3, and management said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to decline between 3% and 11% year over year. The midpoint of this range would be worse than the company’s 4% revenue decline in Q3.

A turnaround may be underway

While Meta’s performance was dismal last year, management emphasized on several occasions that it was confident it could turn things around eventually. In particular, the social media company believed it would be able to build out solutions to make its ad tracking and measurement less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system’s capabilities. Further, Meta said throughout the year that even though its Reels format may be a headwind today, it would become a tailwind as the company improved its monetization.

Based on a report from WSJ on Friday, Meta has been making progress on these fronts. Investment in artificial intelligence tools to improve ad-targeting and forecasting and a shift to ad products that are less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system are paying off, WSJ reports. “Executives told employees in October that Meta expected to begin rebounding from Apple’s change as soon as that quarter, which ended Dec. 31,” wrote WSJ‘s Jeff Horwitz and Salvador Rodriguez, citing “internal documents” at Meta.

Of course, it’s still impossible to know what Meta’s fourth-quarter results may look like. We’ll find out when the company reports fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1. It’s worth noting that Meta’s third-quarter report was released toward the end of October — the same month WSJ said executives reported these improvements to employees, and almost a month into Q4. Management, therefore, likely attempted to conservatively bake in any improvements it was seeing into its fourth-quarter revenue guidance.

While it’s possible Meta surprises to the upside for its fourth-quarter 2022 results, the internal documents WSJ cites at least provide an encouraging backdrop for a potential turnaround in the company’s top-line trajectory in 2023.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple and Meta Platforms. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Twitter Publishes 2023 Marketing Calendar to Assist with Campaign Planning

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Twitter Publishes 2023 Marketing Calendar to Assist with Campaign Planning

Looking to map out your content calendar for the year ahead?

This will help – Twitter has published its annual events calendar, which highlights all of the key dates and celebrations that you need to keep in mind in your planning.

The interactive calendar provides a solid overview of important dates, which could assist in your strategy. You can also filter the list by region, and by event type.

Twitter marketing calendar 2023

You can also download any specific listing, though the download itself is pretty basic – you don’t get, like, a pretty calendar template that you can stick on your wall or anything.

Twitter marketing calendar 2023

Twitter used to publish downloadable calendars, but switched to an online-only display a couple of years back. Which still includes all the same info, but isn’t as cool looking.

Either way, it may help in your process, as you map out your 2023 approach.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also published an overview of some of the major events that it’ll be looking to highlight in the app throughout the year, along with a pitch to advertisers, amid the more recent chaos at the app.

As per Twitter:

We’re moving more quickly than ever, and we’re still the place people turn to see and talk about what’s happening. A great example is the recent FIFA Men’s World Cup. We saw a whopping 147B impressions of event-related content on the platform, up nearly +30% from 2018. We also generated 7.1B views on World Cup video1, with everything from memes to nail-biter outcomes to history being made.”

There’s also this:

Not only is Twitter alive with content and conversation around big moments, but we are also growing. We saw global mDAU acceleration in Q4 to 253.1M, driven by an average sign-up rate of more than 1 million new daily users across Q42.”

That’s the first official usage stat Twitter has shared since Elon Musk took over at the app, and is a significant jump on the 238 million mDAU that Twitter reported in Q2 last year, its last market update before the sale went through.

It’ll be interesting to see if that usage level holds, as Twitter works through its latest changes and updates.

You can check out Twitter’s 2023 marketing calendar here.



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‘Stop the hate’ online, UN chief pleads on Holocaust Day

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A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Copyright AFP Michal Cizek

The UN secretary-general warned of social media’s role in spreading violent extremism around the globe as he marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, urging policy makers to help stop online hate.

Antonio Guterres said parts of the internet were turning into “toxic waste dumps for hate and vicious lies” that were driving “extremism from the margins to the mainstream.”

“Today, I am issuing an urgent appeal to everyone with influence across the information ecosystem,” Guterres said at a commemoration ceremony at the United Nations. “Stop the hate. Set up guardrails. And enforce them.”

He accused social media platforms and advertisers of profiting off the spread of hateful content.

“By using algorithms that amplify hate to keep users glued to their screens, social media platforms are complicit,” added Guterres. “And so are the advertisers subsidizing this business model.”

Guterres drew parallels with the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, when people didn’t pay attention or protest.

“Today, we can hear echoes of those same siren songs to hate. From an economic crisis that is breeding discontent to populist demagogues using the crisis to seduce voters to runaway misinformation, paranoid conspiracy theories and unchecked hate speech.”

He lamented the rise of anti-Semitism, which he said also reflects a rise of all kinds of hate.

“And what is true for anti-Semitism is true for other forms of hate. Racism. Anti-Muslim bigotry. Xenophobia. Homophobia. Misogyny”

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