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YouTube Outlines Election Security Efforts as 2020 Presidential Race Begins

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With the 2020 US Presidential race officially getting underway this week, YouTube has published a new post which outlines how it’s working to improve election security, and limit the spread of misinformation across its platform.

YouTube’s focus here is important – while Facebook is at the forefront of the push against misinformation, research shows that YouTube is the second most utilized social platform for news content, and with more than 2 billion monthly active users, its impact is significant.

Pew Research social news report

First off, YouTube notes that it will remove digitally altered content, alluding, in some ways to the now infamous Nancy Pelosi video that Facebook refused to take down, but also likely pointing to the rising use of deepfakes, which all platforms are working to get ahead of before it becomes a more significant concern.

As per YouTube, the platform will not allow:

  • Content that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm; for example, a video that has been technically manipulated to make it appear that a government official is dead.
  • Content that aims to mislead people about voting or the census processes, like telling viewers an incorrect voting date.
  • Content that advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office, such as claims that a candidate is not eligible to hold office based on false information about citizenship status requirements to hold office in that country.

​YouTube says that any content which violates these terms will be removed, along with channels that impersonate, misrepresent, or conceal their association with a government and/or those that use artificial means to increase their view counts, likes, etc.

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YouTube says that it’s also working with Google’s Threat Analysis Group to identify bad actors and terminate their channels and accounts, which has already resulted in the removal of thousands of accounts and videos linked to such groups.

In addition to this, YouTube has re-iterated its efforts to amplify “authoritative voices”, which it first outlined back in December.

YouTube says that, while topics like music and entertainment are more reliant on the timeliness of information:

“…for subjects such as news, science and historical events, where accuracy and authoritativeness are key, the quality of information and context matter most – much more than engagement.”

As such, YouTube’s been working to ensure that videos from more recognized publishers are surfaced in related searches, which includes the videos displayed in its “watch next” panels in relation to news content. <

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YouTube’s recommendation algorithms have previously been identified as a source of potential concern in this respect. Last June, The New York Times published an article which looked, in detail, at how a young American man was radicalized by YouTube content, sinking further and further down the rabbit hole with each tap on his ‘Up Next…’ recommendations.

YouTube’s now working to address this with the addition of information panels and previews designed to guide users to more reputable, trustworthy information.

As with all platforms, YouTube’s efforts on this front are of significant importance, working to limit the spread of misinformation and disinformation campaigns, and reduce their impacts on subsequent voter behavior. And while it’s difficult to quantify the full impacts that such campaigns can, and have, had, it is clear that social platforms are contributing to political perception, and playing a larger role in informing voters on key issues of note.

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There’s a reason why the Trump campaign spent $20 million on Facebook ads in 2019 alone. In the modern era, elections are being won and lost on social platforms, and the policy decisions which stem from such end up impacting the entire world. The consideration that at least a portion of those decisions are being made based on incorrect information is a major concern, so it’s good to see the platforms working to improve in this respect.

Yet, concerns still remain. Social platforms are still incentivized to maximize engagement in order to boost their market perception, which means that they still may look to promote, or at least host, a level of controversial content in order to spark debate, and further their own performance goals.

That’s actually why we should welcome moves like Facebook shifting to a new ‘Family of Apps’ metric for its performance reports – rather than showcasing the usage stats for each of its individual elements, Facebook is looking to move towards an alternate metric which represents total, cumulative growth across Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. That figure currently sits at 2.89b monthly actives.

Facebook family of apps

Some have been critical of this move, as it may be seeking to hide predicted performance declines on its flagship app – but if Facebook can actually move perception away from active usage, it could make better decisions for the health of users, as opposed to being dictated by bottom-line pressure.

But then again, advertisers want maximum reach, so the platforms need to show that X many people are using their apps for X hours each day, or a similar metric.

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The competing commercial goals and informational usage increases make for an awkward balance, which, as highlighted by YouTube here, each platform is working to maintain. But there are inherent difficulties in such, which we’re going to see more about in 2020. 

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Until then, we can only hope that efforts like this are working to improve the flow of accurate voter information.  

Socialmediatoday.com

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into Maximize Response to Your InMail Messages

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into Maximize Response to Your InMail Messages

LinkedIn has published a new analysis of the best approaches to InMail, and maximizing DM opens in the app, based on ‘tens of millions of InMails’ sent between May 2021 and April 2022 in the app.

Which is primarily focused on recruiters – though really, a broad range of people use InMail to get in touch with people on LinkedIn, for different purpose, and many of the findings will apply in a more general sense.

But LinkedIn does make note of the option as a key recruitment tool.

As per LinkedIn:

More responses mean recruiters get more bang for their buck from their InMail allotment. That’s because recruiters earn an InMail credit back if their message receives a response within 90 days (even if it’s a negative one). So, response rates not only reflect candidate engagement but also recruiter efficiency. But what kind of InMails actually drive higher response rates and how can recruiters improve their own InMail response rate?”

It’s worth checking out the full report if you’re looking to use LinkedIn mail within your digital marketing approach, but in summary, LinkedIn’s key findings are:

  • Shorter InMails perform significantly better than longer ones
  • Avoid sending InMails on Saturday (and probably Friday too)
  • Personalized InMails perform about 15% better than ones sent in bulk
  • Candidates who are “Recommended Matches” or “Open to Work” are about 35% more likely to respond than others

Which is much the same as what LinkedIn recommended in response to the same report last year, which underlines the value of these notes as guide points for your InMail approach.

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Here’s a more in-depth overview of LinkedIn’s findings:

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First off, on message length – LinkedIn says that InMails under 400 characters perform best.

As you can see here, there’s essentially a sliding scale of engagement with InMails, based on length.

“The response rate for the shortest InMails is 22% higher than the average response rate for all InMails. By the same measure, the response rate for the longest InMails is 11% below the average rate.” 

Of course, this entirely depends on your message, and getting people to engage with what you’re trying to communicate. As such, there are no definitive rules, but the findings do provide some guidance as to how you can look to boost response to your in-app messages.

LinkedIn also provides an example of a great InMail under 400 characters.

LinkedIn InMail example

Though LinkedIn also notes that its data may also be slightly skewed due to the scarcity of shorter InMails in its dataset.

LinkedIn InMail study

As you can see here, only 10% of the messages sent on LinkedIn are under 400 characters, so while they do perform better, that may also be because they stand out more, due to most messages asking for more user attention.

Which would still suggest that it’s an effective approach, but it could be another element to consider.

LinkedIn also notes that sending InMails on a Friday or Saturday generally results in poorer response.

LinkedIn InMail study

Every other day is pretty even on response rate, though LinkedIn says that Mondays are the best days to send your messages.

That said, plenty of InMails are being sent on Fridays.

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LinkedIn InMail study

As LinkedIn notes:

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“If you’re about to send that InMail on a Friday afternoon, consider scheduling it for Monday morning instead.”

LinkedIn also provides some more specific stats on InMail performance, noting that messages that are sent individually see response rates roughly 15% higher than InMails sent in bulk.

LinkedIn InMail study

Which makes sense – no one wants to get a generic ‘Hi ***, I noticed that you’re interested in ***’ template email, as they mostly feel untargeted and spammy. Even the slightest personal touch can add a lot to email engagement, and entice more interest.

LinkedIn also notes that the InMail response rate for candidates who indicate that they’re “Open to Work” is 37% higher than the rate for others, while candidates found in Recommended Matches are up to 35% more likely to accept InMails than candidates found in Recruiter search alone.

LinkedIn InMail study

Which are obviously, again, more recruiter-specific data points, but it’s worth noting in the sense that you can glean from a user profile whether they’re looking to be contacted or not. That could also relate to freelance services listings, their career summary, their profile headline, etc.

Again, there’s a lot of good data here, and while it is based on analysis of recruiter InMails, it is worth noting the various trends for consideration in your LinkedIn messaging approaches.

You can read LinkedIn’s full InMail response report here.

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