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Meta Releases New ‘Widely Viewed Content’ Report for Facebook, Which Continues to be a Baffling Overview

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Meta Releases New 'Widely Viewed Content' Report for Facebook, Which Continues to be a Baffling Overview

Safe to say that Meta’s efforts to refute the idea that Facebook amplifies divisive political content are not going exactly as it would have hoped.

As a quick recap, last year, Facebook published its first ever ‘Widely Viewed Content’ report for Facebook, which it launched largely in response to this Twitter account, created by New York Times journalist Kevin Roose, which highlights the most popular Facebook posts every day, based on listings from Facebook’s own CrowdTangle monitoring platform.

The listings are regularly dominated by right-wing spokespeople and Pages, which gives the impression that Facebook amplifies this type of content specifically, via its algorithms.

Understandably, Facebook was unhappy with this characterization, so first, it disbanded the CrowdTangle team after a dispute over what content the app should display. Then it launched its own, more favorable report, based on more indicative data, according to its estimation, which it then vowed to share each quarter moving forward, as a transparency measure,

Which sounds good, it’s great when we have more insight into what’s actually happening. Yet the actual report doesn’t really clarify or refute all that much.

For example, Facebook includes this chart in each of the Widely Viewed Content reports, to show that news content really isn’t that big of a deal in the app.

So posts from friends and family are the most prominent – which doesn’t really tell you much, because those posts could, of course, be shares of content from news pages, or opinions on the news of the day, based on publisher content.

Which is the real focus of the report – in the first Widely Viewed Content report, Meta showed that it wasn’t actually news content that was getting the most traction in the app, but really, it was spam, junk and recipes that were seeing the most exposure.

Meta’s latest Widely Viewed Content report, released today, shows similar – with one particularly notable exception:

Facebook Widely Viewed Content Report

Note the issue here?

The first listed Page here, the most viewed Facebook Page for the quarter, in the report that Meta is using to show that its platform isn’t a negative influence, has actually been banned by Meta itself for violating its Community Standards.

That’s not a great look – while the rest of the listings in the report also, once again, highlight that spam, junk and random pages (a tyre lettering company, letters to Santa via UPS) also gained major traction throughout the period.

Really, this latest report further underlines concerns with Facebook’s distribution, as a Page that it’s identified as sharing questionable posts, for whatever reason (Meta won’t clarify the details), has gained huge traction in the app, before Meta eventually shut it down.

Worth also noting that this report covers a three-month period (in this case, the period between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021), which means that it’s probably less likely to see news content listed anyway, as the news cycle changes quickly, and major news stories only gain traction on any given day.

You could argue, then, that if the same right-wing news outlets that are regularly highlighted in Roose’s Daily Top 10 list are actually indicative of Facebook sharing trends, then they’d show up in this list.

Facebook Widely Viewed Content Report

But for one, many of these Facebook Pages share YouTube links, and we don’t have the context on the specifics of this referral traffic (with YouTube being the top domain source), while it’s also questionable as to how many users actually click on the links shared by each Page.

Often, the headline is enough to spark outrage and debate, with the comment sections going crazy with responses, without users actually reading the post.

If somebody shares a post with a divisive headline, is its capacity for division diminished if people don’t actually click through to read it?

Basically, there are a lot of gaps in the logic Meta’s using here, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. And really, it’s impossible to argue that Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t incentivize divisive, argumentative posts, because its system does indeed look to fuel engagement, and keep users interacting as a means to keep them in the app.   

What fuels engagement online? Emotionally-charged posts, with anger and joy being among the most highly shareable emotions. As any social media marketer knows, trigger these responses in your audience and you’ll generate engagement, because more emotional pull means more comments, more reactions – and in Facebook’s case, more reach, because the algorithm will give your content more exposure based on that activity.

It makes sense, then, that Facebook has helped to fuel a whole industry of emotion-charged takes, in the battle for audience attention – and the subsequent ad dollars that this increased exposure can bring.

People have often pinned social media, in general, as the key element that’s sparked more societal division, and there is an argument for that as well, in terms of having more exposure to everyone’s thoughts on every issue. But the algorithmic incentive, the dopamine rush of Likes and comments, the buzz of notifications. All of these elements play into the more partisan media landscape, and the impetus to share increasingly incendiary takes.

Take the biggest issue of the day, come up with the worst take you can on it. Then press ‘Post’. Like it or not, that’s now an effective strategy in many cases, and honestly, it’s pretty ridiculous the lengths that Meta continues to go to in order to try and suggest that this isn’t the case.

Either way, that is the direction that Meta has taken, and its Widely Viewed Content reports continue to show, essentially, that the time people spend on Facebook is mostly spent on mindless junk.

But mindless rubbish is better than divisive misinformation, right? That’s better.

Right?

Honestly, I don’t know, but I do know that this report is doing Meta no favors in terms of overall perception.

You can view Meta’s ‘Widely Viewed Content’ report for Q4 2021 here.




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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

So, this is a thing…

Twitter has rolled out longer tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, with paying users now able to post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length.

If anyone needed or wanted that.

Longer tweets will be displayed in the main feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more…’ indicator pointing users to the remainder of the content.

Honestly, it’s sadly ironic that not even Twitter could come up with a good use of the extra characters in its example, but yes, Twitter Blue users – all 300,000 of them – will now be able to post super long rants about whatever they choose in the app.

As explained by Twitter:

“[Twitter Blue users] can also compose longer Tweets in a Quote Tweet or reply. Standard functionality like posting media, creating polls, and using hashtags still apply. Everyone will be able to read longer Tweets, but only Blue subscribers can create them.

I don’t know if anyone requested this, but Twitter 2.0 chief Elon Musk seems convinced that by enabling users to post long-form content, that will eventually open up new avenues to monetization, and will see more top voices posting more stuff to the app.

I mean, the recent Twitter Files are probably the best example – Elon’s hand-picked team of journalists have been trawling through Twitter’s archives to uncover accusations of corruption and Government meddling, all ended up posting their findings in ridiculously long tweet threads in the app.

It would make more sense to post them on a more long-form focused format, but Musk obviously wants all the attention on Twitter – and in instances like this, maybe having longer tweets could be valuable.

But I don’t know.

It also seems short-sighted to only provide this functionality to Twitter Blue users. As noted, only a small fraction of Twitter’s 250 milllion total user base is paying for a blue tick, and while Twitter is now expanding the offering into new markets, it’s hard to see it catching on in any real way.

That means that a lot of the most popular creators won’t even be able to use the option, which seems counterintuitive. But then again, Elon will probably look to add in a new monetization element, which you have to pay up to qualify for, which is probably his broader view for limiting access at this stage.

Who knows – maybe it ends up being amazing, and maybe it makes it way easier to post what would have been multi-tweet threads in a more engaging, interesting way in the app.

It’s different, for sure, very different from Twitter’s usual offering.



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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.




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DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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