Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has waded into the debate about social media regulation.
In an award-acceptance speech to the Anti-Defamation League yesterday, the creator of Ali G and Borat delivered a precision take-down of what he called Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “bullshit” arguments against regulating his platform.
The speech is well worth watching in full as Cohen articulates, with a comic’s truth-telling clarity, the problem with “the greatest propaganda machine in history” (aka social media platform giants) and how to fix it: Broadcast-style regulation that sets basic standards and practices of what content isn’t acceptable for them to amplify to billions.
“There is such a thing as objective truth,” said Cohen. “Facts do exist. And if these internet companies really want to make a difference, they should hire enough monitors to actually monitor, work closely with groups like the ADL and the NAACP, insist on facts and purge these lies and conspiracies from their platforms.”
Attacking social media platforms for promulgating “a sewer of bigotry and vile conspiracy theories that threaten our democracy and to some degree our planet,” he pointed out that freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of reach.
“This can’t possibly be what the creators of the internet had in mind,” he said. “I believe that’s it’s time for a fundamental rethink of social media and how it spreads hate, conspiracies and lies.”
“Voltaire was right. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities — and social media lets authoritarians push absurdities to billions of people,” he added.
Cohen also rubbished Zuckerberg’s recent speech at Georgetown University in which the Facebook founder sought to appropriate the mantle of “free speech” to argue against social media regulation.
“This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech. This is about giving people — including some of the most reprehensible people in history — the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet.”
“We are not asking these companies to determine the boundaries of free speech across society, we just want them to be responsible on their platforms,” Cohen added.
On Facebook’s decision to stick by its morally bankrupt position of allowing politicians to pay it to spread lying, hatefully propaganda, Cohen also had this to say: “Under this twisted logic if Facebook were around in the 1930s it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his solution to the ‘Jewish problem.’ ”
YouTube also came in for criticism during the speech, including for its engagement-driven algorithmic recommendation engine which Cohen pointed out had single-handedly recommended videos by conspiracist Alex Jones “billions of times.”
Just six people decide what information “so much of the world sees,” he noted, name-checking the “silicon six” — as he called Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
“All billionaires, all Americans, who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. This is ideological imperialism,” he went on. “Six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law.
“It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar. At least that would explain his haircut.”
Cohen ended the speech with an appeal for societies to “prioritize truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference, and experts over ignoramuses” and thereby save democracy from the greed of “high tech robber barons.”
5 Effective Ways to Run Facebook Ads A/B Tests
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.
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.
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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