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Reddit Moderators Call for More Action to Address Racism and Hate Speech on the Platform

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Against the backdrop of the #BlackLivesMatter protests across the US, a group representing hundreds of Reddit moderators, who lead some of the platform’s most popular communities, has published an open letter calling for the platform to take more action against racism and hate speech.

As per the letter:

“The problem of Reddit’s leadership supporting and providing a platform for racist users and hateful communities has long been an issue. Nearly six years ago, dozens of subreddits signed the original open letter to the Reddit admins calling for action. While the Reddit admins acknowledged the letter and said it was a high priority to address this issue, extremely little has been done in the intervening years.”

The group also notes that despite promises, Reddit’s leadership team has failed to act, addressing CEO Steve Huffman specifically:

“These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough. It has been five years since your return as CEO and this still remains Reddit’s most glaring problem.”

Reddit has long been known for its free-speech approach, which has lead to it facilitating some of the web’s more controversial elements. Reddit played a key role in the distribution of celebrity nude photos, obtained via a hack, back in 2014, while it’s also been a point of focus for the toxic #gamergate discussion

Reddit has taken steps to clean up its act in more recent years, but evidently, moderators don’t believe those measures have been enough. Indeed, a recent report from the BBC suggests that at least one subreddit is now shutting down activity at some points in the day in order to limit the amount of racist and extremist content flooding its moderation team. 

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The moderator group has called on the platform to take action in six specific ways:

  • Enact a sitewide policy against racism, slurs, and hatespeech targeted at protected groups – The group says that it’s time to “enact a specific and detailed policy that protects the disadvantaged members of our communities from hate based on their sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, or disability”.
  • Be proactive in banning hate-based communities – The group says that Reddit generally only takes action on hate subreddits when they’re featured in the news, which is not good enough.
  • Be proactive in banning hate users – The group also calls for more action against moderators who allow such content, in order to better address the core problem.
  • Reddit needs to hire more minorities/women, especially in leadership roles – The group also calls for more diversity in the platform’s management “to help shift the corporate culture and policies to be more equitable for all”.
  • Reddit needs to hire more community managers – The group says that Reddit needs to invest in paid managers to further address issues.
  • Honor Alexis Ohanian’s wishes to have his Reddit Board seat filled with a black candidate – And lastly, they call on Reddit to fulfill outgoing board member Alexis Ohanian’s request – which Reddit has done this week with the appointment of Michael Seibel.

​Huffman has posted a brief comment on the letter, noting that many of these issues align with Reddit’s already communicated intention to review its policies.

“We’d like to show progress with what we do in the coming weeks rather than what we say.”

As noted, now with 430 million monthly active users, Reddit has been working to improve its systems in order to provide a more brand-safe environment for advertisers. This latest call-out suggests that it still has its work cut out for it, and given the stakes, it seems likely that the platform will, indeed, respond and seek to revise its approach.

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How far those efforts will extend we’ll have to wait and see, but now, it seems, is the time for Reddit to make a significant shift.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta’s Developing the World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision

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Meta's Developing the World's Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision


As it looks to a future in the currently theoretical ‘metaverse’, Meta will need to up its computing power and systems in order to facilitate simultaneous connection in wholly immersive digital worlds, while it’ll also need more advanced computing power to fuel the next stage of its AI plans, in various forms.

Which is why Meta is developing a new AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which it says will eventually become the fastest AI supercomputer in the world, when it’s fully built out by mid-2022.

The advanced system will eventually be able to perform ‘5 exaflops of mixed precision compute’ at peak. Which, I have no real idea of what that truly means, but basically, Meta’s new, advanced computational system will be able to process huge amounts of data, facilitating development in a wide range of applications, with a specific view towards the next stage of its metaverse vision.

As explained by Meta:

RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build new and better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyze text, images, and video together; develop new augmented reality tools; and much more. We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.”

AR is clearly a key focus, with Meta developing its own AR-enabled glasses that will expand the use cases for the technology. The RSC will provide increased capacity to develop more complex AR systems, which could advance Meta’s tools beyond what’s currently available, which would ideally see its AR glasses become the top of the line, most advanced model available, helping Meta potentially dominate the space over rivals Snapchat and Apple.

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Unless, of course, Snap and Apple team up, which is my prediction. But even so, with the additional computing power of the RSC behind it, Meta could still be well ahead, which could be a key step in bridging our current online experience to the next stage.

Which is where Meta is really focused:

“Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform – the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role.

It’s worth noting here that Meta specifically notes that the metaverse will take years to develop, it’s not something that’s happening overnight, nor will it become an all-immersive, integrated world by next year. Which is why any company or project that’s pitching itself as ‘metaverse ready’ is kidding itself – the metaverse, as it’s broadly envisioned, will require massive collaboration between platforms, in order to transfer your digital identity between virtual worlds, and take your avatars, skins, digital items, and more with you.

Meta is keen to reiterate that it won’t own that space, as such:

No one company can (or should) build the metaverse alone. It will be built by people and businesses all over the world. And it’ll be important that experiences built by different companies or people, like avatars or virtual worlds, work together.

But really, Meta is best-placed to host the party, via its industry-leading consumer VR tools and advanced computing systems like RSC, which will give it a significant advantage in dictating what the metaverse will be, and who will be able to sign up.

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Eventually, this will require industry agreement on schemas and systems that will likely enable any service to join. But they’ll still need a host platform, along with software/hardware connection. Meta will be at the forefront of that aspect, which, again, will see it well-placed to define the rules of the space, and dominate the next stage of digital connection – whether it technically ‘owns’ it or not.

But it is worth noting that the metaverse does not exist yet, not in any form, and any platform or project that claims otherwise is ultimately misleading. Those NFT projects that claim to be ‘metaverse-ready’, yeah, no, maybe avoid them.

Eventually, Meta’s RSC will give it significant advantages in developing new systems for everything from combating harmful content on its platforms to building entirely new user experiences. The potential here is massive, and while it will take time to see the results of these developments, it’ll be interesting to see how Meta’s processes evolve in turn, and whether these advanced systems result in a significant acceleration in its development cycles.

You can read more technical details on Meta’s RSC project here.





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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement

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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement


TikTok has partnered with brand suitability platform Zefr on a new brand safety post-bid measurement solution for in-feed ads, which will enable advertisers to ensure that their TikTok promotions don’t appear alongside potentially offensive material.

As you can see here, using Zefr’s dashboard, which provides insights into each campaign by mapping it against the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) Suitability Risk categories, advertisers will now be able to ensure that their TikTok ads are not shown next to content that they don’t want to be associated with.

As explained by TikTok:

“This solution will provide advertisers with campaign insights into brand safety and brand suitability for their TikTok campaigns. These insights provide clients with third-party impartial reassurance that their investment is delivered next to content suitable for their brand, protecting brand reputation and mitigating risk.”

Zefr’s advanced ‘Cognition AI’ process utilizes audio, text, and frame-by-frame video analysis, along with scaled human review, to determine brand safety, and provide full assurance on potential ad placement.

With TikTok’s challenges and posts sometimes veering into dangerous territory, the option will help to reassure brands that their campaigns won’t end up being associated with potential harm, which could help TikTok secure even more ad spend.

Though it could be difficult to 100% guarantee success here. For example, the recent ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ on TikTok started off innocently enough, but eventually lead to increasingly risky and dangerous behaviors, which resulted in serious injuries to some participants. Other TikTok challenges could follow a similar evolution – though the additional assurance of Zefr’s systems will ideally help to catch these out before they become a potential brand risk, or at the least, as soon as they’re identified as a problem.

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It’s a good integration, and another key step in TikTok’s broader expansion of its ad tools.

The new TikTok Zefr integration is available to advertisers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.



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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing efforts in 2022?

As we head into the new year, it’s worth revising your business goals, and establishing a clear direction for your digital marketing process. Maybe you’re happy with the growth and interaction you’re seeing, and how that’s then leading to conversion, but over the past two years, in particular, there’s no doubt been some level of disruption to your marketing plans.

With that in mind, this infographic from the team at Click Dimensions could help. They’ve put together a simple overview of how to establish your social media marketing goals, including which metrics to focus on, how to increase engagement, and the importance of adapting as things progress.

It could help to spark some new thinking in your approach – check out the full infographic below.

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