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Social media reform is coming, and the country will be better for it

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Being in the news business is tough. You don’t have to tell us. After all, this newspaper’s been at it since the first time Grover Cleveland was president.

But for the chief executives of Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies that have reaped so much profit from providing the world information (and misinformation), it seems like a fresh revelation every time they are called before Congress to answer for the way they do business.

Whether Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey ever come to a full understanding of the trust a publisher must have with an audience is hopefully immaterial at this point. We say that because we believe that the moment of change is upon us, and we hope that change will benefit this country by reining in the malpractice of companies like theirs.

When we first began studying social media reform some years ago, it was a lonely field. But after the 2016 election, people began to awaken to the damaging unintended consequences of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

That section — often called the 26 words that created the internet — gives broad immunity from liability to internet “platforms” for what they publish. This — coupled with manipulative algorithms and lax privacy laws — has enabled a small number of companies to gather inordinate hold over the internet economy.

And from that hold arose an outsize arrogance about the power these companies have wielded. That arrogance, if nothing else, is on the wane as social media companies are forced at last to reckon with their responsibility as publishers.

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The problem they face is that acknowledging the plain truth that they are publishers eliminates their immunity. And that’s been the rub for a long time. At last, it seems, the jig is up.

Twitter and Facebook have done nothing but make editorial choices in the runup to the 2020 election. That has raised the ire of conservatives who — as is so often the case with the media — feel they’ve gotten the short end of the stick. Whether that’s true or not, others can argue.

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But what no one can argue now is that the facade that these are neutral platforms has been ripped away. Every day, these companies are making decisions about what information people should and should not access and how that information should be presented.

Mind you, they’ve been doing this all along, albeit through algorithms and then through human content monitors whose impossible job is to spare the public from live suicides and mass shootings and a host of horrors that would otherwise stream live.

No one now seriously argues that Section 230 doesn’t need reform.

On the one hand, no civil society can accept a free-for-all where the largest disseminators of information exercise no control over what appears on their websites. On the other hand, companies that make editorial choices regarding news, information and content of great importance to the nation and the world cannot also enjoy full immunity for what they publish.

A better media ecosystem must emerge from reforms that diminish, if not eliminate, that immunity while enhancing user privacy and ensuring the First Amendment is respected.

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Congress has the power to make this happen. It should do so absent the “help” of the companies that have abused their privileged place for so long and it should do so for the greater good of the country.

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5 Effective Ways to Run Facebook Ads A/B Tests

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Facebook Ads A/B Tests or split tests help them try different versions of ads with various campaign elements. This process helps them arrive at the best version for the organization’s target. 

A/B Tests offer a vast pool of resources to try out various versions. You may get caught up and lose your way to arriving at the best version in a limited time. To better understand this topic you can read the Facebook ad testing guide. Here are five effective ways to run Facebook Ads A/B Tests-

1) Start with the minimal number of variables

This approach will help you analyze the impact of a variable much better. The lesser the variables, the better will be the relevant results and more conclusive. Once you have various versions, you will need to run them through the A/B Significance Test to determine if the test results are valid.

2) The second way is to select the correct structure. 

There are two structures in A/B tests. One is a single ad test, and the other is multiple single variation ad sets. All the variations will go under one ad set in the first structure. Each variation will be under a separate ad set in the second one. Out of the two, the second one works out to be better and gives better results.

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3) Use of spreadsheets is important to stay organized. 

These spreadsheets help collect and analyze data to get meaningful insights and arrive at data-backed decisions.

4) Do target advertising and set realistic time goals. 

One approach is to choose an entirely new set of audiences. Also, the data pool should be vast and not the same as some existing campaigns. The reason for choosing a different audience is that Facebook may mix up your ads and give contaminated output. 

Another approach to choosing the right audience is to pick geography. It works better, especially when you have business in a particular region.   

It’s also essential to set a realistic timeline for your testing. Facebook suggests one should run a test for at least four days, but you can choose to run the test for up to 30 days.   

5) Set an ideal budget. 

The concept of a perfect budget is subjective. But, you can fix it yourself, or Facebook can do that for you based on your testing data. A large part of the test budget is spent on avoiding audience duplication. If the same audience sees variations, it could affect the test results.

Besides these top five effective ideas, you will need to take a few more action points to make the testing process efficient. Make sure you put the website’s domain link and not the landing page link in the ad, as that doesn’t look good. Put appropriate Call To Action Button, such as ‘Learn More,’ ‘Buy Now,’ etc. It’s also important to see how your ad is coming across on various electronic gadgets- mobile, tablets, etc.

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Another strategy that works is trying to engage the customer. You may add social engagement buttons such as ‘Like’ or ‘Comment.’ Use high-resolution images as they work better with the customers. Low-quality, highly edited images are often not liked and trusted by the consumers.

You can learn more about the audience behavior patterns with A/B test results. Conducting these tests on Facebook streamlines the entire process and makes it smooth for you. With the test results, advertisers and marketers can work on the creatives they need to utilize.

To sum it up, you can run an effective A/B test campaign within the specified budget. You don’t need to spend massive amounts to get your advertisement right. You’ll make the correct assumptions about the performance of variations with a good understanding of business and consumers.

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