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Meta Uncovers Coordinated Misinformation Initiatives Targeting Ukrainian Users

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Meta Uncovers Coordinated Misinformation Initiatives Targeting Ukrainian Users

Amid the rising conflict in Ukraine, Russian-based cyber warfare groups are seeking to utilize social networks to sway public opinion, and increase the pressure on Ukrainian leadership – though thus far, these groups don’t appear to be gaining the traction that they might have hoped.

According to reports, various Russian misinformation and disinformation efforts have already been thwarted by quick action from the platforms themselves, as well as users aligned with Ukraine. And now, Meta, the owner of Facebook, has uncovered a new network of Russian-affiliated pages and profiles, which it’s blocked from exerting their influence on the broader narrative.

As explained by Meta:  

“In the last 48 hours, we uncovered a relatively small network of about 40 accounts, Pages and Groups on Facebook and Instagram. They were operated from Russia and Ukraine and targeted people in Ukraine across multiple social media platforms and through their own websites. We took down this operation, blocked their domains from being shared on our platform, and shared information with other tech platforms, researchers and governments.”

Meta says that the operation was relatively small, but growing, and that the group had been using these accounts to present themselves as independent news outlets, “publishing claims about the West betraying Ukraine and Ukraine being a failed state”.

Meta has also detected an increase in targeted email hacks, designed to gain access to the social media accounts of Ukrainian users, in order to post pro-Russia content on their behalf.

“We detected attempts to target people on Facebook to post YouTube videos portraying Ukrainian troops as weak and surrendering to Russia, including one video claiming to show Ukrainian soldiers coming out of a forest while flying a white flag of surrender.”

It’s interesting to see how Russian hackers are looking to utilize such tools to weaken the resolve of Ukrainian citizens, while also publishing counter-narratives about the motivations behind the invasion. The fail point, in many cases, seems to be that Russia hasn’t been able to provide a credible justification for the action – or at least, not one that’s catching on in the wider world. But again, it serves as a reminder of the impact and influence of social platforms, and how far we’ve come in regards to the way we interact, and our reliance on these apps as a key information source.

Which is why it’s important for Meta, and other platforms to do all that they can to address such, and thus far, it does seem like the lessons of the past are bearing fruit in this instance.

During previous events, social platforms have sought to maintain a distance, and to give users the freedom to express what they like, but the impact of major uprisings like the Capitol Riots in Washington, or the military coup in Myanmar, have reinforced the need for more vigilance on such, and to not wait until such discussions are out of hand before taking action.

Now, each platform is seemingly more prepared, and more on top of trends as they emerge, enabling faster action on such, reducing impact.

Again, it is a little different in this case, as it doesn’t seem like there’s a strong counter-narrative in support of Russia’s actions, but that may also be due to the increased action of platforms to limit the spread of such from taking hold.

Which, from a broader scope, could also raise questions about the capacity of social platforms to shape such narratives. But thus far, it does seem to be reducing the impact of misinformation within this latest global incident.


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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

Are you a small business owner or marketing manager, just getting started on building your social media strategy? Need to learn the basics before launching your first social media campaign?

In this infographic, Sprout Social shares social media tips broken down as follows:

  • Who uses social media?
  • What does social media do for you?
  • Define your goals
  • Targeting your audience
  • Choosing a platform
  • Social media metrics

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners

Sprout Social

 

 

 

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

Moore Digital, which assists nonprofit clients with fundraising, has named Adva Priso as chief strategy officer and Bonnie Huey as senior vice president of
digital media.

They are joining a team of “more than 70 top digital experts from across the for-profit and nonprofit industries, including strategists,
media planners and …



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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

Pinterest has posted its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2022, showing steady increases in both users and revenue, as it continues to build out its various offerings.

First off, on users, Pinterest added five million more active users – most of them coming from Europe – within the final measurement period of last year.

That’s a good sign for Pinterest, which actually lost users in early 2021, after the COVID-induced boom in eCommerce activity of the previous year, which saw the platform post record high usage numbers.

Many analysts and businesses seemed convinced that the COVID boost to online shopping would hold, even after the pandemic ended. That lead to companies like Meta, Google, Amazon and Twitter investing big into commerce solutions – but many of the staff they put on were eventually culled in the most recent round of lay-offs, because once physical stores re-opened, people actually did go back to shopping as normal, as opposed to continuing to rely on online options.

Pinterest felt that the most, but now, it’s steadily building back up again, as it continues to refine its solutions around evolving shopping behaviors. Which includes video content.

Pinterest’s big winner on this front has been Idea Pins, its Stories-like option which presents uploaded video in a swipeable, full-screen display.

Pinterest Ideas Festival updates

The emphasis on this format has helped boost the platform’s appeal with younger audiences, with Pinterest reporting that Gen Z was the fastest-growing demographic on the platform, increasing double digits year over year.

“Gen Z sessions grew much faster year over year than sessions from older demographics, while nearly half of all new videos pinned in Q4 were from Gen Z users.”

Pinterest also says that sessions continued to grow faster than MAUs, an indicator that it’s driving better engagement overall, while it also increased its overall video supply by 30%, another marker of the popularity of Idea Pins.

Because you can’t post video as a native pin anymore, only in Idea Pins (or paid ads), underlining the focus on the format, and Pinterest’s evolving usage.  

On the revenue front, Pinterest posted a 4% year-over-year increase, after bringing in $877 million Q4.

Pinterest Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Pinterest’s revenue is climbing steadily, though its revenue splits remain concerning:

Pinterest Q4 2022

Or maybe you see this as an opportunity, with Pinterest still able to potentially eek out a lot more revenue from regions outside of the North American market. Definitely, it’s got some work to do in that ‘Rest of World’ bracket.

But Pinterest is still developing, and is still expanding its ad and business offerings into new regions. So there is, indeed, potential there – yet the size of the gap here is a concern.

Still, there is growth, slowly but surely, and maybe, if you’re a believer, you can see more ways for Pinterest to generate much bigger revenues moving forward.

Pinterest remains focused on shopping, and highlighting relevant products to users, with its ever-evolving recommendation engine providing better content matches to more users every day. It’s also investing in live-stream shopping, a trend that all platforms hope will catch on in western markets, while it’s developing more presentation tools for Idea Pins to capitalize on that engagement.

In combination, these approaches are working – but at the same time, usage growth in your local market may have stalled, going on these charts.

And of course, while overall growth is interesting, what marketers want to know is whether their customers are there.

For this, you can use Pinterest Trends, which enables you to search for the most popular Pin trends by region.

Pinterest Trends

Tap into these with Idea Pins and you’ll likely be on the right path, based on these latest insights from the app.

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