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Twitter’s Looking to Re-Open its Account Verification Process, Seeks Feedback on New Guidelines

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Get ready to stake your case – after shutting down its account verification application process back in 2017, Twitter says that it’s now looking to re-open applications for account verification which could give you a chance to get your own blue checkmark, making you infinitely more important than others on the platform.

But hang on – as you can see, the actual policy around what verification means isn’t set in stone yet.

As Twitter notes, it’s currently seeking feedback from the community as to what people expect the blue checkmark to represent, in order to revamp its previous, flawed process, which ended up being a mess due to the different ways that Twitter employees applied the qualifiers, and who should be approved and not, etc.

That’s what lead to the initial pause on the public application process – because there was a level of confusion around what the blue checkmark meant, no one really knew who should be approved for one, who should not. That lead to Twitter verifying the profile of reported a white supremacist leader – despite, at that time, looking to take more action against hate speech. Because there was a level of uncertainty over whether the badge signified ‘identity’ or ‘endorsement’, Twitter shut the whole thing down, and while certain accounts have still been verified since then, public applications have been off the cards entirely for three years. 

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Now they could be coming back – but Twitter first needs to ensure that there’s clear understanding about what verification actually means, both internally and externally.

In order to address this, Twitter’s published a proposed overview of which accounts should be considered for verification, along with a new survey to seek feedback on its process.

The first tier of profiles that Twitter says should be eligible for verification are ‘Notable Accounts’, with the blue tick signifying that the account is an authentic representation of that person or entity, serving an immediate public purpose.

The six types of accounts Twitter has filed under this heading are:

  1. Government
  2. Companies, Brands and Non- Profit Organizations
  3. News
  4. Entertainment
  5. Sports
  6. Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals

Those make sense – marking official accounts in these categories serves a clear purpose, and while its public application process has been paused, Twitter has continued to approve verification for accounts in these categories.

But the more complex, and divisive arguments around verification come from the public, when people want their own blue checkmark. If you’ve got lots of followers and you spend a lot of time on Twitter, why shouldn’t you get your own checkmark, right?

This comes down to the core of the question around Twitter verification – does the blue checkmark simply signify identity, in which case, anyone who can provide their ID documents should qualify? Or does it signify celebrity, which is a more nebulous and subjective criteria?

That’s what Twitter’s now trying to determine – in the public survey on expectations around verification, Twitter looks to glean insight what people think the blue tick means.

Twitter verification survey

Twitter also seeks to clarify whether people see the verification badge as a general qualifier of identity, or as an endorsement of that person from Twitter. 

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The distinction here is key – as noted, Twitter has previously given blue checkmarks to users of questionable background, and if people see that as Twitter giving their support to that person, as opposed to a marker of identity, then that’s a problem for the brand.

As such, Twitter needs to clarify what its badge actually represents – but even so, this doesn’t seem like the best way to address these issues and formulate a better policy.

Back in June, it seemed like Twitter was going to go with a new form of verification that would signify that a user had confirmed their identity, with reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong uncovering this explanation.

Twitter verification explainer

That relates to ‘confirming’ your Twitter account, not verification exactly, which seemed like it could be a different form of profile badge. That would cater to those looking to confirm their identity, who were not considered to be in the top tier of qualifiers for account verification.

Maybe that’s what Twitter is looking to go with – as noted by Twitter:

“The blue verified badge isn’t the only way we are planning to distinguish accounts on Twitter. Heading into 2021, we’re committed to giving people more ways to identify themselves, such as new account types and labels. We’ll share more in the coming weeks.”

Maybe, then, Twitter will make account verification available to ‘Notable accounts’ only, those which fit into a strict criteria of celebrity or status, while it could also add another tier of accounts that have confirmed their ID documents, with a different type of badge.

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That seems to cater to the key elements – and while there will still be debates over what counts as ‘notable’, the criteria listed above seems fairly clear. The ‘entertainment’ category could lead to questions, as could the ‘other influential individuals’ marker. But if Twitter has an internal review panel to approve such, that could be a more workable solution.

Twitter has also been looking to add dedicated badges for bot accounts, to provide more transparency in interactions, and that could be another category it looks to implement. 

So we could soon have three different types of account badges to signify who or what each is.

Will that clear things up? Probably not, especially given that many people who’ve already been incorrectly approved for verification, based on these revised guidelines, will still be circulating on the platform, which will maintain a level of confusion over what the badge means.

But maybe, if Twitter revises the rules and removes the badges from those who no longer qualify based on the update, that could work. 

Maybe. Still seems like it’ll cause a lot of headaches.

You can take the Twitter verification survey yourself here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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How to Expand Your Reach with Newsletter Advertising

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How to Expand Your Reach with Newsletter Advertising


As marketers search for creative ways to reach new leads, newsletter advertising is becoming a staple in the industry. With effective targeting and high engagement rates, this up-and-coming medium is an effective choice for advertisers of all sizes and budgets.

While newsletter advertising has gained popularity among growing startups like AppSumo, it’s also a go-to for top brands like Lyft and Warby Parker. However, despite its high performance and adoption by leading marketers, its potential is largely untapped.

Because of the lack of education surrounding newsletter advertising, many marketers neglect email in favor of more mainstream, competitive platforms. However, with the right approach, investing in email advertising can help you reach more qualified audiences and get ahead of competitors.

What is newsletter advertising?

Newsletter advertising is the process of placing sponsored content in email newsletters to get in front of subscribers. Unlike other forms of digital marketing, newsletter ads are delivered straight to their audience’s inboxes. Because of this, they’ll often reach readers more directly, bypassing any ad blocking measures.

The Paved platform offers two main types of newsletter advertisements: sponsorships and programmatic ads.

Sponsorships

Newsletter sponsorships are coordinated via a partnership between the publisher and the advertiser. Because each sponsorship campaign is organized individually, they can be custom designed for the newsletter partner. Some publishers will even help tweak the sponsorship design and copy to fit their publication’s style and appeal to readers.

​Sponsored email in The Report newsletter from March 2021

 

Programmatic ads

Just like sponsorships, programmatic email ads are placed within the body of newsletters to directly reach engaged audiences. However, they’re more similar to social media ads due to their automation, scalability and precise targeting. Whereas sponsorships are coordinated on an individual basis, programmatic ads allow advertisers to run placements across multiple newsletters with a single campaign.

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Programmatic ad for Hired in the eWebDesign newsletter

 

Why newsletter advertising beats other marketing channels

Not only is newsletter advertising a fresh and creative way to reach new audiences, but it also has its share of practical benefits. The advantages of newsletter advertising make it a worthwhile investment for brands in both the short and long-term.

Reach new audiences

The first step in converting new customers is figuring out where to find potential leads. Unfortunately, the rise of VPNs and privacy companies have made it increasingly difficult to connect with audiences online.

According to data by Hootsuite, roughly 42.7% of internet users use an ad blocker. With newsletter advertising, that’s not a problem. By delivering your message in the body of a trusted newsletter, you can market to audiences who can’t be reached through social media or display ads.

Leverage heightened engagement

One of the most valuable aspects of newsletters is their level of reader engagement. It’s not easy to convince someone to give you their email. Therefore, opting in to receive a newsletter is a much stronger signal of interest than liking a page or following an account.

Because newsletter readers are more engaged, email marketing tends to outperform other channels in ROI. Litmus’ 2020 State of Email report calculated an average return of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

Access built-in targeting

Email newsletter lists are often inherently targeted due to their niche content. On the Paved platform, many publishers run interest-focused newsletters based on topics like programming or yoga. Incidentally, this creates a neatly packaged audience that advertisers can leverage for their campaigns.

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Programmatic ads allow you to target your audiences even more precisely. On the Paved Ad Network, you can define your target audience, budget and frequency cap. From there, you’ll be able to automatically display your ad in front of individual readers across several newsletters based on their demographic profile.

Join a marketplace to launch your newsletter advertising strategy

Joining a marketplace is the quickest and easiest way to start advertising in newsletters. Instead of reaching out to publishers individually, you’ll be able to request, design and schedule multiple sponsorships in one place.

On the Paved marketplace, you can browse hundreds of newsletters to find the right partner for your brand. Once you’ve booked a campaign, you can exchange messages, send payment and automatically track results through the platform.

Sign up with Paved for free today to unlock all the tools you need to streamline your newsletter advertising campaigns.



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China accused of interference as Australia PM’s WeChat account vanishes

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year – Copyright NO BYELINE/AFP STRINGER

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account has disappeared, prompting accusations of Chinese “interference” from senior members of his government Monday.

Morrison’s account on the Chinese social media app, which was launched in February 2019, appears to have been replaced with one titled “Australian Chinese new life.”

WeChat is the overwhelmingly dominant messaging and social media platform in China, where Western services such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

There was no immediate comment from Morrison but a senator from his ruling centre-right Liberal Party accused Beijing of being behind the change.

“What the Chinese government has done by shutting down the prime minister’s account is effectively foreign interference in our democracy,” James Paterson told 2GB radio on Monday.

Paterson called on Australian politicians to boycott WeChat in response.

According to the account’s about page, the “Australian Chinese new life” name was registered on October 28, 2021.

But the account has posts dating back to February 1, 2019, including Morrison’s first, which reads: “I’m very happy to open my official WeChat account”.

AFP has contacted WeChat’s parent company Tencent for comment.

Morrison first launched his WeChat account to communicate with Australia’s sizable Chinese-Australian community ahead of elections in 2019.

That year, Morrison was asked by reporters whether there was a risk his account could be censored by the Chinese Communist Party.

“We haven’t experienced any such censorship,” he said.

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In December 2020, WeChat removed a post from Morrison that defended Australia’s investigation into allegations of war crimes perpetrated by Australian soldiers.

The post also criticised Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who had tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife.

The last post on the “Australian Chinese new life” account is from July 9, 2021.

The Daily Telegraph reported Morrison has been locked out of his account since then.

All of the posts on the “Australian Chinese new life” account relate to Australian government announcements or messages from Morrison.



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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

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TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile


I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.





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