16th – 22nd February 2019.
Facebook dubbed “digital gangster” by UK Parliament
The House of Commons committee that oversees media policy, published a scathing report this week, calling out Facebook on its handling of personal data and its involvement in political campaigns including the spread of Russian misinformation. The “Disinformation and ‘fake news’” report, branded Facebook as a “digital gangster”, accusing the social media giant of putting itself above the law by intentionally violating data privacy and anti-competition laws. The report proposed that a set of new regulations to be overseen by an independent regulator should be implemented, putting an end to self-regulation so that any future breaches by large tech companies could be dealt with under official legal direction. Facebook responded to the committee by pointing out that it had made some changes but offered its support for tougher regulations and electoral law reform.
YouTube updates its community guidelines with additional strike warning
From 25th February 2019, YouTube is scrapping its (nearly a decade old) 3-strike system for creators who post prohibited content. YouTube’s Community Guidelines dictate that content posted to the site cannot be of a sexual, violent, harmful, hateful or dangerous nature, nor should it spread misleading information or aim to scam people. These guidelines will still apply, although content creators that breach them will now receive a one-time warning instead of a strike. The offending content will be removed and creators are free to dispute any warnings they feel are unfair. The full changes are explained in this video.
Instagram testing new fundraising feature in Stories
Facebook has announced that following the success of it’s on platform fundraising tools such as Page, Group and Live video fundraiser options; it is exploring the possibility of adding a donation sticker for Instagram stories. This will allow users to make a direct donation to their preferred non-profits, when that charity puts the donation sticker on their Instagram Story, instead of using the “swipe up” feature currently available. This feature could have a really positive impact on non-profits fundraising efforts, by opening up a new channel (with over 500 million daily active users) through which to take in donations.
Twitter rolls out political ad tracking tools in Europe
Ahead of key European Parliamentary elections this May, Twitter has introduced some new features that will allow users to identify ads that are tied into political campaigns, such as those endorsing a particular candidate. The features come as a result of the increasing pressure on social media platforms to find ways to tackle the spread of fake news, extremism and Russian disinformation online. As part of these efforts, a separate database called the Ads Transparency Centre outlining ad spend, billing information and targeting data will be available indefinitely. In addition, all Twitter ads will be displayed with a visual disclaimer that will specify who has paid for them. From 11th March, anyone wishing to buy advertising space on Twitter for political campaigns will have to undergo a verification procedure and provide proof identity before they can run any ads.
Selected Twitter users to get to experience new features ahead of everyone else
Twitter has announced that it will be launching a new Beta Test Group made up of Twitter users that will test out new features it is planning to roll out such as colour-coded replies to tweets, status updates, and more. Members of this group will have access to these features ahead of anyone else and based on their responses, could have a significant impact on the direction in which the platform takes in the future. To apply to become part of this group, users have to fill out a form which includes questions such as what languages you speak, where you live, and the devices you primarily use Twitter on. Based on the nature of what is being tested, Twitter will select the participants it feels would best suit the test. The application form can be found here.
Facebook updates location settings for Android users
Facebook has announced this week that it will be rolling out a new privacy setting for Android users that will allow them to choose whether the app knows their location, even when the app is not open or in use. This feature has been available for iOS users for some time now due to default location permissions built into the iOS system, so it is good news for Android users that they can finally get access to the same privacy features as other users. Having this setting switched on, enables Facebook to know your exact location even when you are not using the app as well as allowing Facebook to keep a record of all of your different locations. Facebook has also said that it will be sending out reminders to both Android and iOS users to review their Location Services settings to confirm that they are aware of how their data is being used – how many users will actually do this, however, remains to be seen.
LinkedIn publishes the results of its user marketing aspirations survey
Last month, LinkedIn asked users to fill out a survey that asked what their marketing aspirations, including their expectations, priorities and overall objectives for 2019 on the platform were. This week they published the findings of this survey in order to provide those that answered, with some insight into what kind of things their peers are planning to do on the platform. The study found that the majority of participants (63%) placed “driving more leads” at the top of their 2019 marketing priorities. 69% of people said that building their page following was their principal LinkedIn objective and 40% of contributors said that they could use more help with using the Audience Network feature. Other findings showed that people primarily use LinkedIn for building their network (70%) and would like to see more content like “tactical how-to guides” (69%) and case studies (49%) amongst other kinds. You can read the full report here.
Google Ads algorithm update allows users to see mobile speed scores for more landing pages
Google has updated its mobile speed score algorithm so that fewer ad clicks are required than previously, in order to generate a score of mobile speed on the advertising console. The 10-point scoring system was introduced last July and gives advertisers an indication of the loading time of their mobile landing pages, with 10 being the fastest and 1 being the slowest. Scores are calculated from a combination of factors such as page speed and potential conversion rate and should give advertisers an indication of which landing pages are providing the best mobile experience and ones that require work. Google also recommends that advertisers make use of features such as Accelerated Mobile Pages, which load 85% faster than standard mobile pages.