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New Report Shows That 74% of People Don’t Believe Tech Platforms Will Be Able to Stop Political Manipulation



In what will likely come as little surprise, a new study from Pew Research has shown that 74% of Americans have little to no confidence that tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, will be able to prevent the misuse of their platforms to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Pew Research Tech Trust graph

As you can see here, trust levels are similar across the political divide this time around, in slight variance to the same survey in 2018.

As per Pew:

“Confidence in technology companies to prevent the misuse of their platforms is even lower than it was in the weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, when about two-thirds of adults had little confidence these companies would prevent election influence on their platforms.”

Again, that’s not a major surprise. Another survey published by Pew earlier this month also found that both Republicans and Democrats “register far more distrust than trust of social media sites as sources for political and election news”, with 59% of respondents specifically noting that they do not trust the news content they see on Facebook.

So people don’t trust the news they’re seeing on social platforms already. Given this, it makes sense that they also don’t have much faith in avoiding manipulation. And while each platform has implemented new measures to better protect users, and weed out “inauthentic” actions, the data would suggest that it’s not enough.

It’s worth noting too that this latest survey was conducted between January 6th and January 19th, 2020, and incorporates responses from 12,638 people.

But while users don’t currently have a lot of faith, they do believe that technology companies should do more to stop the spread of misinformation. 

Pew Research tech trust

As you can see here, 78% of respondents agree that tech companies “have a responsibility to prevent the misuse of their platforms to influence the 2020 Presidential election”. 

So, to recap, people don’t trust the news they’re seeing on digital platforms, and have little faith that the situation will improve – even though they feel that the providers have a responsibility to do so.

The bigger question then is “does that matter?”

I don’t mean that in a moralistic sense – of course it matters that people are potentially being manipulated. But I mean in terms of what impacts that will have – will people, for example, stop getting their news content from Facebook and other platforms as a result of this lack of trust, as noted in their responses?

Do you want to know the answer?

Historical evidence shows that people won’t stop using Facebook as a result of these trends. They probably should, right? If people believe that they may well be manipulated by social media news coverage, maybe it’d be better to get off of these apps, and stop getting their news coverage from them. But that won’t happen.

Case in point – in yet another Pew Research report, its researchers found that, in 2016, the year of the last Presidential election, 62% of Americans got at least some of their news content from social media. In 2018, after all the discussion around foreign interference and manipulation, amid all the coverage around social media misuse by political activists. After all that, guess what happened?

Pew Research social media news

More people now get more of their news exposure through social media. So while it’s one thing for people to say ‘we don’t trust what we see’, it’s another thing to actually get them to take action on such, and actively stop using social channels to source news content.

Because that’s hard to do. More than just content, social platforms provide engagement, and the dopamine rush of likes and shares. That can be addictive – so while people don’t necessarily agree with what they’re seeing online, they do like to engage with it, they like to argue against it, to virtue signal in the comments. If you’re looking for the reason why we’re so divided along political lines these days, look to the engagement that people see in disagreement, the allure of the battle which few can resist. 

Sure, I might dislike my uncle’s views on climate change, for example, which he regularly shares on Facebook. But you can bet that in quiet moments, I’m going to check in on his posts. Because it’s addictive, the anger and outrage, like poking a wound to feel that little twinge of pain. It solidifies you in your beliefs – and when you finally feel the need to respond and call him/her out, there’s a rush in that engagement.

It’s not surprising that people distrust Facebook as a news source in this sense. But they’re still going there for the fight. And I would argue that Facebook is okay with that, as opposed to feeling any significant need to play referee and quell disagreement.   

So while this new survey doesn’t reveal any amazing insights, it is interesting to note what it suggests, in terms of broader behavioral trends, and what that means for civic discussion and engagement.


Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade



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.


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



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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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7



'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

While talent matters, the good news is we all learn at basically the same rate–and can “learn anything we want.” Think you don’t have the talent for entrepreneurship? For leadership? For programming, for design… for whatever pursuit you may want to, um, pursue? According to HubSpot co-founder …

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