Facebook takes a stand against discriminatory advertising
Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:
Facebook takes a stand against discriminatory advertising
Facebook has announced it will use artificial intelligence tools to clamp down on advertisers who illegally discriminate by race. The social network will use the technology to identify ads for jobs, housing and credit which have been tailored to exclude particular racial minorities in direct contravention of the law. The potential for advertisers to exclude certain demographics on the platform was revealed last autumn, although it is unclear how many have broken the rules. However, Facebook insists racism will not be possible in the future as advertisers will not be able to take advantage of its ethnic affinity targeting system to exclude or focus on chosen groups. Anyone trying to do so will be greeted by a red flag warning such ads are no longer allowed. If any slip through the net, Facebook’s machine learning algorithm will be able to automatically detect any promotions which violate the rules and remove them. Any advertisers who believe they have been unfairly banned will have the option to request a manual review. The social network has also tightened the language used in its advertising policies to make clear advertisers must never discriminate on the grounds of personal attributes including, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, and genetic conditions. Facebook said it has launched the tools following discussions with ‘policymakers and civil rights leaders’ about the problem.
Separately, the Facebook Lite app has reached the 200 million monthly user milestone, less than two years since launch. The stripped down, low-bandwidth version of the main app is adding more countries to include Israel, United Arab Emirates, Italy and South Korea. It also part of the reason the social network has been able to boost its business in the Rest of the World region, which is up 52% this year to $839m per quarter. By offering a Lite version in areas with weak network connection, Facebook is starting to generate revenue in places other social networks haven’t reached.
PR and Marketing in Social Media
Channel 4 investigates Fake News
Channel 4 has brought together government and media officials as part of its Fake News Week drive to fight for truth. The broadcaster’s chief marketing and communications officer Dan Brooke believes making social networks comply with a set of fact-checking standards is the basis of a solution and has also called for the introduction of a social media ‘Kitemark’ for regulated news organisations. He added: ‘The issue with social media is it is the wild west. It is incredibly difficult to regulate the internet, no situation is going to be perfect. But the start of the solution has to be within the social media companies.’ While Channel 4 recognises the benefit of its working relationship with Facebook, providing it with a larger audience than it would have otherwise reached, it also worries the prevalence of fake news on social networks is devaluing its brand. C4 news editor Ben de Pear argued ‘a kid in Macedonia can earn the same amount of money as us writing fake news’. The broadcaster has bolstered its FactCheck service, with head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, revealing: 'We have had to widen now to check the facts on behalf of our viewers and the users of our online service'.
A YouGov survey commissioned by Channel 4 as part of Fake News Week revealed just 4% of those polled were able to correctly identify all of the news stories presented to them as being true or false. Participants were shown six individual news stories, three of which were true and three of which were fake. Of those that revealed Facebook as their primary source of news, 71% thought at least one of the fake stories was true whereas only 47% of participants who primarily get their news from broadcasters thought this.
Social Media Brands.
Fish fronts Fuller’s rainy giveaway campaign
Iconic TV weatherman Michael Fish has signed up with London brewer Fuller’s to be the face of a new campaign which will see lucky punters given a free pint of London Pride beer whenever it rains in the capital. As part of the month-long #whenitrainsitpours social media drive, Fuller’s is providing a live broadcast weather monitor showing a windowpane via Twitter and Periscope. As updates appear on Twitter timelines, followers will be prompted to tweet in if they see rain on the Periscope window. The campaign, which was designed in collaboration with advertising agency The Corner and creative media business UM London, runs for the whole of February. Londoners will be able to claim their free pint via the social media feeds, and they can then redeem the claims at the majority of Fuller, Smith and Turner’s 196 tenanted pubs and 196 managed pubs and hotels.
Mr Fish thinks it is an inspired idea. ‘February can often be one of the dreariest months of the year with the short days and wet weather, so a free pint of London Pride will certainly brighten up people's days,’ he says.
Twitter unveils new anti-abuse tools
Twitter will roll out three new anti-abuse tools in the coming weeks as it responds to continued criticism about harassment on its platform. The social network’s vice-president of engineering Ed Ho announced the changes in a blog post in which he said abuse and harassment stifle freedom of expression. ‘We won’t tolerate it, and we’re launching new efforts to stop it,’ he added. One of the main changes will see Twitter move to identify people who have been permanently banned from the social network and stop them creating new accounts. Another tool will offer safer search results, removing tweets from blocked accounts and those containing potentially sensitive content. A third change will collapse low-quality or potentially abusive replies to tweets. Neither of these features will remove tweets entirely from the platform but will allow users to control whether or not they want to see either in their settings.
Twitter has moved to address the issue of abuse following its failure to attract a buyer after months of takeover rumours. Google, Disney and Apple were all linked to the social network but did not progress to a deal. When Jack Dorsey became CEO in 2015, he put user safety as one of his top priorities.
Public services take to Snapchat to reach young people
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has become one of the first major public health bodies to embrace Snapchat as a communications tool. In a bid to reach young people with a message about attitudes towards antibiotic resistance, NICE posted its first Snapchat story sharing ‘snap facts’, along with pictures and emojis explaining how easily infections are spread and how quickly drug resistance develops. The account was promoted through its existing Facebook and Twitter accounts and a geofilter was included to encourage Snapchat users in the vicinity of NICE's London office to take their own selfies to spread awareness of the campaign. In the same vein, Essex Police created a Snapchat account in an effort to connect with younger members of the community, saying it will be used to support campaigns, cover live events and deliver key messages. Essex Police already use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Instagram, and now Snapchat will be used for appeals that might be particularly relevant for young people, perhaps asking them to come forward with any information.
Rebecca Smith, head of media at NICE, said: ‘We wanted to try Snapchat with our tight budget because this particular guidance was all about educating young people about drug resistance and the importance of simple hand-washing. Snapchat was the perfect platform for this. A future campaign might include NICE working more closely with other organisations on challenging topics such as our guidance on child abuse, to be published later this year, or universities when publishing guidance on sexual health.’