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Musk Indicates that Twitter Feeds May Show a Broader Spectrum of Political Content

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Musk Indicates that Twitter Feeds May Show a Broader Spectrum of Political Content

This is interesting. Earlier today, Twitter chief Elon Musk replied to a commentator who questioned why he was seeing more ‘right wing’ posts in his feed.

Now, this is not a definitive policy change or update that Elon’s reinforcing. But it does seem to suggest that Twitter may, at the least, be looking to show people more opposing political commentary in their tweet feeds, as a means to spark broader awareness and engagement. Musk also pinned this tweet, which adds a little more weight to the suggestion.

Which is interesting because as various studies have shown, this approach simply doesn’t work.

Back in 2020, Meta executive Andrew Bosworth published a long blog post on the challenges of political polarization on social networks, and their experiences at Facebook in dealing with such.

Bosworth explained that, while they had, at different times, tried to try and show users more content from both sides of the political spectrum, the user response had been the opposite of the intended effect.

As per Bosworth:

“Ask yourself how many newspapers and news programs people read/watched before the internet. If you guessed ‘one and one’ on average you are right, and if you guessed those were ideologically aligned with them you are right again. The internet exposes them to far more content from other sources (26% more on Facebook, according to our research). This is one that everyone just gets wrong. The focus on filter bubbles causes people to miss the real disaster which is polarization. What happens when you see 26% more content from people you don’t agree with? Does it help you empathize with them as everyone has been suggesting? Nope. It makes you dislike them even more.”

Within this, Bosworth essentially acknowledges that Facebook usage has indeed amplified political division, though not in the way that many expect – i.e. by showing you more and more posts that align with your established beliefs. Bosworth says that Facebook users actually ended up seeing a lot more opposing viewpoints, but that only exacerbated political divides, because these posts drove more angst, and further embedded opposition, as opposed to opening people’s minds to another way of thinking.  

Indeed, that same year, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that:

“People are less likely to click on things and engage with them if they don’t agree with them. So, I don’t know how to solve that problem. That’s not a technology problem as much as it is a human affirmation problem.”

Shortly after this, in January 2021, Meta announced its intention to reduce the amount of political content in user feeds.

As per Zuckerberg (on Meta’s Q4 ‘20 earnings call):

“One of the top pieces of feedback we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services.”

People were getting sick of the angst and bickering on Facebook, which was causing them to log on less and less, so Meta sought to reduce political content, in favor of more enjoyable experiences.

In fact, as per more recent reports, Zuckerberg actually directed his engineering teams to effectively cut political content out of people’s News Feeds altogether. Which Facebook users also didn’t like.

Meta has since scaled back politics in-feed, but it’s stopped short of eliminating it.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

Meta now estimates politics accounts for less than 3% of total content views in users’ newsfeed, down from 6% around the time of the 2020 election, the documents show. But instead of reducing views through indiscriminate suppression or heavy-handed moderation, Facebook has altered the newsfeed algorithm’s recommendations of sensitive content toward what users say they value, and away from what simply makes them engage, according to documents and people familiar with the efforts.

In other words, Meta’s not showing people as much divisive, incendiary posts – which likely means that it’s not looking to highlight as much content from the opposite side of the political spectrum.

Which may, as Musk notes, keep users in their echo chamber. But the research and experiments show that users simply don’t want the constant provocation and angst, which, eventually, sees them use the app less.

On Twitter, that’ll likely drive users to switch over to the ‘Following’ feed instead of the ‘For You’ main listing, which includes recommended tweets, as chosen by Twitter’s systems. If Musk and Co. are indeed pushing more politics into this stream, these past experiments suggest that it won’t work out as they might hope – though in theory, you can see why Musk wants to expand people’s horizons, and get them to see more content from the other side of the political divide.

Or he just wants to promote his own political opinions, and get more people to see things from his perspective.

It’s difficult to understand the full motivations in this respect, particularly given Musk’s overt political leanings and opinions. But in essence, it seems like another idea that seems to make sense, based on an ideological view, but in reality, doesn’t work – and we have a heap of study and data to underline this.

Still, Musk has shown that he’s going to go his own way, even if that means challenging established concepts, in order to prove them for himself.

Maybe it works out different on Twitter, but it seems like a risky move, especially when you’re trying to maximize discovery and engagement within that main ‘For You’ feed.

But if you start to notice more political content in your tweet feed, this is probably why.



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Meta says Trump to be allowed back on Facebook, Instagram

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Meta wants the UK to keep some EU e-commerce rules instead of scrapping them in its planned bonfire of Brussels legislation

Meta image: — © AFP INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

Glenn CHAPMAN

Social networking giant Meta announced Tuesday it would soon reinstate former president Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram with “new guardrails,” two years after he was banned over the 2021 US Capitol insurrection.

“We will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said in a statement, adding that the move would come with “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

Going forward, the Republican leader — who has already declared himself a 2024 presidential candidate — could be suspended for up to two years for each violation of platform policies, Clegg said.

It was not clear when or if Trump will return to the platforms, and his representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the 76-year-old tycoon reacted in typically bullish fashion, crowing that Facebook had lost “billions of dollars in value” in his absence.

“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he said on his Truth Social platform.

Facebook banned Trump a day after the January 6, 2021 uprising, when a mob of his supporters seeking to halt the certification of his election defeat to Joe Biden stormed the US Capitol in Washington.

The former reality TV star had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him and he was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot.

In a letter asking for the ban to be overturned, Trump’s lawyer Scott Gast said last week that Meta had “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.”

He asked for a meeting to discuss Trump’s “prompt reinstatement to the platform” of Facebook, where he had 34 million followers, arguing that his status as the leading contender for the Republican nomination in 2024 justified ending the ban.

American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero said Meta was making “the right call” by allowing Trump back onto the social network.

“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” Romero said in a release.

“Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”

The ACLU has filed more than 400 legal actions against Trump, according to Romero.

– Extremism engine? –

Advocacy groups such as Media Matters for America, however, vehemently oppose allowing Trump to exploit Facebook’s social networking reach.

“Make no mistake — by allowing Donald Trump back on its platforms, Meta is refueling Trump’s misinformation and extremism engine,” said Media Matters president Angelo Carusone.

“This not only will have an impact on Instagram and Facebook users, but it also presents intensified threats to civil society and an existential threat to United States democracy as a whole.”

A US congressional committee recommended in December that Trump be prosecuted for his role in the US Capitol assault.

His Twitter account, which has 88 million followers, was also blocked after the riot, leaving him to communicate through Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers.

Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was credited in part to his leverage of social media and his enormous digital reach.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account last November, days after the brash billionaire announced a fresh White House run. He has yet to post.

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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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