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The #SocialSkim – Week of August 6th

This week in social media:

Top Story: Facebook Removes 32 Pages and Accounts From Bad Political Actors

With their continued effort to fight ‘fake news’, Facebook has removed 32 pages and accounts from the Facebook and Instagram platforms. They released a statement saying that these accounts were involved in “coordinating inauthentic behavior”. Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy went on to say:

About two weeks ago we identified the first of eight Pages and 17 profiles on Facebook, as well as seven Instagram accounts, that violate our ban on coordinated inauthentic behavior. We removed all of them this morning once we’d completed our initial investigation and shared the information with US law enforcement agencies, Congress, other technology companies, and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a research organization that helps us identify and analyze abuse on Facebook.

So far this is what the Facebook team has released about the accounts:

  • In total, more than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of these Pages, the earliest of which was created in March 2017. The latest was created in May 2018.
  • The most followed Facebook Pages were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters.” The remaining Pages had between zero and 10 followers, and the Instagram accounts had zero followers.
  • There were more than 9,500 organic posts created by these accounts on Facebook, and one piece of content on Instagram.
  • They ran about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram, paid for in US and Canadian dollars. The first ad was created in April 2017, and the last was created in June 2018.
  • The Pages created about 30 events since May 2017. About half had fewer than 100 accounts interested in attending. The largest had approximately 4,700 accounts interested in attending, and 1,400 users said that they would attend.

These bad actors discovered by Facebook were clearly advanced and very careful to cover their tracks. They used VPN’s and internet phone services, and only used third parties to run ads on their behalf. The Facebook team has acknowledged that the activity is similar to that which they previously saw from the IRA (A Russian based internet research agency) before and after the 2016 elections.
Here are some examples of the content and ads published by these accounts:

One of the accounts removed, “Resisters” had a scheduled event named “No Unite The Right 2” In Washington in DC. At the time Facebook removed the event, it had 2600 users interested in going, and 600 users who had already RSVP’d as attending. Facebook sent this image out to these users after removing the event and profile:

Facebook has acknowledged that they still don’t have all of the facts, and we will continue to report on this story in future social skim articles as more come in.

Facebook Releases New Time Management Tools

This week Facebook has released new tools to help in time management for the Facebook and Instagram Platforms. The team worked closely with mental health experts and academics to give users more information and control over the time they spend on the platforms. They also hope to provide parents with a better tool to foster conversations with teens about their online habits.
Ameet Ranadive, Product Management Director at Instagram, and David Ginsberg, Director of Research at Facebook, released the following statement:

“Today we are announcing new tools to help people manage their time on Facebook and Instagram: an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications. We developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own extensive research and feedback from our community. We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring. Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them”.

Here is a view of what these tools will look like:

Here is the description released by the team on how to access these:

“To access the tools, go to the settings page on either app. On Instagram tap “Your Activity,” and on Facebook, tap “Your Time on Facebook.” At the top, you’ll see a dashboard showing your average time for that app on that device. Tap any bar to see your total time for that day. Below the dashboard, you can set a daily reminder to give yourself an alert when you’ve reached the amount of time you want to spend on that app for that day. You can change or cancel the reminder at any time. You can also tap on “Notification Settings” to quickly access the new “Mute Push Notifications” setting. This will limit your Facebook or Instagram notifications for a period of time when you need to focus.”

Facebook Expands Effort to Help People Connect with Local Businesses

On August 6th, Alex Himel (VP of Local at Facebook) released a statement outlining a number of new updates and tools being added to the platform with the purpose of increasing local business engagement. There are currently over 1.6 billion users around the world connected to a small business on the Facebook platform. In Alex’s statement, he revealed that the team consistently gets requests to from both customer and business profiles to make connecting easier. As such, the team has announced that they will be doing the following:

  • Updating Pages: We’re redesigning Pages on mobile to make it even easier for people to interact with local businesses and find what they need most. For example, you can make a reservation at a restaurant; book an appointment at a salon; or see most recent photos, upcoming Events, and Offers. You can also now see Stories on Pages to get to know the people behind the business.
  • Making Recommendations from your community more helpful: People use Recommendations to ask their communities where to go, where to eat, or where to shop. We’re making those Recommendations more prominent on Pages.
  • Continuing to build Events: 700 million people use Facebook Events each month to find things to do in their communities. This includes organizations like CUESA, a local agricultural nonprofit, that uses Events to connect local farms with shoppers in person. And if you want to get tickets to an event, you can buy them right from the Event on Facebook. Events that sell tickets directly on Facebook have seen two times more people getting tickets than when they’re ticketed on a website alone.
  • Expanding our jobs tool to help more people find work: Local businesses create more than 60% of new jobs. We want to help people find those jobs and help local businesses hire the right people, so we’re expanding our job application tool to everywhere in the world.
  • Taking steps to make finding a local spot quicker: You can now browse a “Local” section in your Facebook app and a standalone Facebook Local app for businesses around you, see what places are most recommended, and check out which events your friends are attending.

Facebook No Longer Allows Auto Posted Tweets

Due to some recent API changes on the Facebook platform, users will no longer be able to automatically share tweets to a connected Facebook account.
Twitter released the following statement about the changes:
Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 2.09.43 PM.png
It is worth noting that Facebook will still be listed in your connected Twitter apps, but will no longer work.

Facebook Adds Digital Resources for Teachers and Businesses

This week, Facebook released a new resource for teachers designed to help them improve digital literacy skills among young people across the globe. The team released the following statement about the new launch:

“Today we’re launching our Digital Literacy Library, a collection of lessons to help young people think critically and share thoughtfully online. There are 830 million young people online around the world, and this library is a resource for educators looking to address digital literacy and help these young people build the skills they need to safely enjoy digital technology.”

Facebook's education library on its Youth PortalThese new resources were built utilizing the research performed by the ‘Youth and Media team at the Berman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard’. The press release went on to say:

“Developed for educators of youth ages 11 to 18, the lessons incorporate learnings from over 10 years of academic research by the Youth and Media team, and they reflect the voices of young people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, geographies, and educational levels. The lessons address thematic areas such as privacy and reputation, identity exploration, security, safety and wellbeing, and more.”

Snapchat Updates Trending Topics

Earlier this week Snapchat released updates to its “Snap Chatter” audience insight reports. These reports provide markets with the top topics and trends being discussed among users within the app.
Here are some infographics released provided with these reports:
Snap Chatter discussion trends listing

Linkedin Rolls Out Changes to the ‘Experience’ Design

In an official blog posted by the Linkedin team, they have announced changes to the ‘Experience’ design. According to the article, one of the top requests their team members receive is to create a better way to highlight past experiences and show career movement across each role. They went on to say that profiles which have more than one position listed in their experience section are viewed 29 times more often.
Here is how the team said the new design will work:

If you’ve held more than one position at same organization within one month of each other and they link to the same company page, they’re now automatically grouped. It’s that easy! By grouping this information you can spotlight multiple roles at a specific organization, while not risking the rest of your past experience getting pushed too far down on your profile. The new design is starting to roll out in the U.S. this week on desktop and mobile, and will be available globally to all members in the coming weeks.

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