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TikTok girds for US election misinformation threat

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TikTok is putting out word to 'creators' that its ban on political ads includes sponsored videos related to the coming US midterm election

TikTok is putting out word to ‘creators’ that its ban on political ads includes sponsored videos related to the coming US midterm election – Copyright AFP Jade GAO

TikTok on Wednesday rolled out its battle plan against the deluge of misinformation expected to accompany the upcoming US midterm elections, a problem tech firms largely decide themselves how to handle.

The November contest that will decide who controls Congress will generate innocently shared false information as well as deliberate attempts to mislead on the major social media networks — which have begun announcing how they will fight back.

TikTok began reminding users that its ban on political ads includes videos that people are paid to create for the platform, head of US safety Eric Han said in a blog post.

“If we discover political content was paid for and not properly disclosed, it is promptly removed from the platform,” Han said.

TikTok has rolled out an “Elections Center” that will help users know how and where to vote, and feature videos intended to encourage people to think critically about online content, he added.

The widely popular video sharing app will add links to its Elections Center to content identified as being related to the midterm elections along with accounts belonging to governments, politicians or political parties.

TikTok will use automated systems and human fact-checkers to assess the accuracy of content, prompting users to “reconsider” sharing posts with unsubstantiated information, Han said.

Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project, one of the organizations working with TikTok, is helping provide information for registering and voting, said national director Mike Burns.

“We saw historic youth and student voter turnout in the 2018 and 2020 elections,” Burns said.

TikTok has emerged as a top social media platform for US teens, according to a recent Pew Research report.

Facebook parent Meta this week said that the safeguards it is putting in place for the midterms will build on lessons learned.

“As we did in 2020, we have a dedicated team in place to combat election and voter interference while also helping people get reliable information about when and how to vote,” Meta president of global affairs Nick Clegg said Tuesday in a blog post.

Meta security operations will fight foreign interference and domestic influence campaigns, and include new measures to help keep poll workers safe, Clegg said.

Meta will remove misinformation about the voting process, poll results or the integrity of balloting and prohibit new election-related ads during the final week in the campaign, he added.

“We are once again prepared to respond to content discussing the integrity of the election by applying labels that connect people with reliable information,” Clegg said.

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

Publicis Groupe-owned performance marketing agency CJ, which specializes in affiliate marketing, has acquired Perlu, a Syracuse, New York-based influencer networking and technology platform.
Perlu’s platform enables companies to activate, network, and collaborate with a community of influencers.   

Perlu will initially retain its name and organization as it is
integrated …



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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

While Facebook is no longer the cool app, especially among younger audiences, it remains a key platform for many users, and its capacity to keep people updated on important updates from friends and family is likely to ensure that many continue to return to the app every day for some time yet.

But more than that, Facebook usage is actually increasing, according to internal insights viewed by The Wall Street Journal, which also include some interesting notes on overall Facebook and Instagram usage trends.

As per WSJ:

Data gathered in the middle of the fourth quarter showed that time spent on [Facebook] was up worldwide, including in developed markets, over the course of a year.”

Which seems unusual, given the subsequent rise of TikTok, and short form video more generally. But actually, Facebook has been able to successfully use the short-form video trend to drive more usage – despite much criticism of the platform’s copycat Reels feature.

Indeed, Reels consumption is up 20%, and has become a key element in Meta’s resurgence.  

How is it finding success? Increased investment in AI, which has driven big improvements in the relevance models that fuel both Reels and its ads, which are also now driving better response.

On Reels, Meta’s systems are getting much better at showing users the Reels content that they’re most likely to be interested in. You’ve likely noticed this yourself – what was initially a mess of random clips inserted into your Facebook feed has now become more focused, and you’re probably finding yourself expanding a Reels clip every now and then, just to see what it’s about.

Reels has actually been too successful:

“Because ads in Reels videos don’t currently sell for as much as those sold against regular posts and stories, Reels’ growing share of content consumption was denting ad revenue. To protect the company’s earnings, the company cut back on promoting Reels, which lowered watch time by 12%.

So again, while Meta has been criticized for stealing TikTok’s format, it’s once again shown, just as it did with Stories, that this is a viable and beneficial pathway to keeping users engaged in its apps.

You might not like it, but replication works in this respect.

But for marketers, it’s likely the development of Meta’s AI targeting tools for ads that’s of most interest.

Over time, many performance advertisers have been increasingly recommending that marketers trust Meta’s AI targeting, with newer offerings like Advantage+ driving strong results, with far less manual targeting effort.

Advantage+ puts almost total trust in Meta’s AI targeting systems. You can choose a couple of targeting options for your campaigns, but for the most part, the process is designed to limit manual impact, in order to let Meta’s systems determine the right audience for your ads.

Which may feel like you’re ceding too much control, but according to Meta, its continued AI investment is now driving better results.

Heavy investment in artificial intelligence tools has enabled the company to improve ad-targeting systems to make better predictions based on less data, according to the interviews and documents […] That, along with shifting to forms of advertising less dependent on harvesting user data from off its platforms, are key to the company’s plans to overcome an Apple privacy change that restricted Meta’s capacity to gather information about what its users do outside its platforms’ walls, the documents show.”

That’s likely worth considering in your process, putting more trust in Meta’s targeting systems to drive better results. At the least, it may be worth experimenting with Meta’s evolving AI for ad targeting. 

It’s not all good news. Meta also notes that while time spent in its apps is on the rise, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.

That’s particularly true among younger audiences, while notably, usage of Instagram Stories is also in decline, down 10% on previous levels.

So while Meta is driving more engagement from Reels, which draws on content from across the app, as opposed to the people and Pages you follow, that’s also led to a decline in user posting.

Is that a bad thing? I mean, logically, engagement is important in keeping people interested in the app, and Meta also relies on those signals to help refine its ad targeting. So it does need users to be sharing their own content too, but if it can get more people spending more time in its apps, that will help it maintain advertiser interest.

In essence, despite all of the reports of Facebook’s demise, it remains a key connective platform, in various ways, while Meta’s improving ad targeting systems are also helping to drive better results, which will keep it as a staple for brands moving forward.

If you were thinking of diversifying your social media marketing spend this year, maybe don’t reduce Facebook investment just yet.

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