Connect with us

SOCIAL

Twitter Tests New ‘Suggested Follows’ Listings on Android

Published

on

Honestly, Twitter’s efforts on content discovery are difficult to understand at times.

Back in 2015, then Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told investors in an earnings call that the platform had been struggling to grow because it lacked the mass market appeal that other platforms enjoyed.

“Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use.”

That became a key area of focus for Twitter, and since then, it’s put significant effort into making the app easier to understand for non-users, and for people to more easily be able to find profiles, and then topics, that they can follow in order to get the most out of the platform.  

And for the most part, those have made sense – but every now and then, Twitter announces something like this:

As noted by Twitter:

You can instantly add all the accounts with a single tap and easily remove the ones you don’t want to follow.”

Which seems like a lot of extra work, following clusters of around 20 accounts at a time, then going back and weeding out those that you don’t like. Seems like a surefire path to cluttering up user feeds, and while it may enable some relevant discovery, surely there’s a better way to connect people with personally relevant accounts follow, as opposed to automated suggestions based on what other people tweet.

See also  This subscription social network is happy to be an Albatross in a pandemic

The recommendations here, as reported by TechCrunch, are based on algorithmic considerations:

“[including] the profile you’ve just visited, or if people who follow that user tend to follow certain other users.”

So, maybe they could be relevant. Possibly. But based on experience, finding 20 relevant people to follow at once is tough, and while, as Twitter says, you can just get rid of those you don’t like, that doesn’t seem like an optimal way to guide users towards more relevant tweet content, and boost user engagement.

The issue, in Twitter’s case, lies in the signals – or lack of them – that Twitter’s able to track and utilize in providing you with more relevant recommendations.

As noted by analyst Eugene Wei in his recent assessment of the effectiveness of TikTok’s algorithm, Twitter’s lack of direct cues in its process makes it difficult for Twitter’s systems to get explicit feedback on what users want to see.

“If [Twitter’s] algorithm were smarter about what interested you, it should take care of muting topics or blocking people on your behalf, without you having to do that work yourself. That you have to follow people at all on Twitter to get interesting content is, one could argue, a design flaw for what could be a powerful interest graph.”

Wei explains that TikTok’s algorithm is particularly good at showing you more of what you like, and less of what you don’t, because TikTok clips are shown one at a time, in full screen, and all of your actions are based on each specific video, providing clear feedback on each. That enables TikTok to learn more about what you like, which other platforms are not able to do as effectively because the news feed format includes various posts on screen at once, and there are fewer explicit actions that you can take to register your interest, or lack of it.

See also  How to Create Incredible Website Content and Generate Loads of Traffic [Infographic]

Twitter’s probably the most susceptible to this. With so many tweets on screen, its systems can’t know what you’re reading, what you’re most interested in, and Twitter therefore needs to rely on user feedback to show you more relevant content. That puts a lot of onus on each user to curate their feeds, which leads to more manual work, and potentially, a worse user experience, at least until you’re able to cultivate a more effective, engaging feed of people who tweet things that you like.

If Twitter’s system had more inputs, it could negate some of this effort, but instead, it reverts to mass follow recommendations like this – which is even more confusing when you consider that Twitter was literally prompting some users to do the exact opposite back in 2018.

Twitter unfollow prompt

As you can see here, Twitter ran a small test in 2018 which called for users to review the profiles that they were following, in order to improve the relevance of their feed. The listings, based on accounts that users weren’t engaging with, looked to narrow down feeds, which, for most regular Twitter users, makes more sense.

But then again, the focus of this new push would be new users who are looking to establish a list. But while the two opposing prompts cater to different user subsets, it still feels like a flawed approach, cluttering people’s tweet streams with tangentially related users, then putting it on them to pare it back as they see fit.

Basically, Twitter needs to improve its content recommendation processes, and it should be able to do so by more effectively mapping user interests and correlating lists. Twitter actually is working to do this with its improving topics and list search options. But clearly, it still has a way to go, and mass-follow options like this are probably not the way forward in this respect.

See also  Top 4 Reasons Hanapin Loves Pinterest Ads for Travel

The new recommendations are being shown to some users on Android.

Socialmediatoday.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SOCIAL

Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers

Published

on

Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers


With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

See also  25 Link-Building Stats for Your SEO Strategy [Infographic]

Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

See also  Google Publishes New Guide to Evolving Shopping Behaviors in 2020

That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.





Source link

Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Published

on

Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps


Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

See also  Lacking eyeballs, Facebook’s ad review system fails to spot coronavirus harm



Source link

Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Published

on

Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

See also  25 Link-Building Stats for Your SEO Strategy [Infographic]

Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.



Source link

Continue Reading

DON'T MISS ANY IMPORTANT NEWS!
Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Trending