The week in social media: Facebook, UGG and Fake News

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:

Hot Topic

Facebook to double UK team in 2017

Facebook is looking to increase its presence in the UK by 50% when its new London headquarters open next year. The social network has announced plans to employ an additional 500 members of staff, including engineers, sales staff, marketers and project managers. ‘The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company’, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn said. The majority of new workers will be based at the  headquarters in Fitzrovia, which is currently under construction. London-based Mendelsohn revealed: ‘Many of the new roles will be highly-skilled engineering jobs as the UK is home to our largest engineering base outside of the US.’ The social network said that some of its most important innovations have originated in the UK, including its solar-powered unmanned plane Aquila, which provides internet connectivity to remote areas. The project operates from Facebook’s only UK location outside of London, in Somerset. Engineers at the London office are also helping to drive Workplace, a business platform designed to improve workforce communication, which launched last month.

Facebook’s decision to invest in the capital is reassuring following concerns that international companies are considering their role in the UK since the Brexit vote. London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the commitment and praised the capital’s tech scene. He added: ‘Facebook’s continuing commitment is another sign that London is open to talent, innovation and entrepreneurship from all four corners of the world.’ 

PR and Marketing in Social Media

UGG turns to Facebook Messenger for its festive campaign

US footwear brand UGG will use Facebook Messenger to deliver personalised video messages in its festive social media campaign. ‘All I want is UGG …’ will allow users to send their Christmas footwear wish list to their Messenger contacts. Anyone can join in the promotion by uploading a photo of a loved one alongside details of the UGG boots they would most like to find under their tree. A Facebook Messenger bot will then create a personalised video to be shared with the potential present buyer. The recipient will receive the message: ‘This Christmas, all I want is U…’ which when opened up reveals the true message: ‘This Christmas, all I want is UGG’ containing a link to the footwear in question. 

The company’s EMEA social media and digital manager Felicity Walters said the brand is closely associated with the holiday season. She added: ‘Therefore, launching an interactive social campaign was a logical next step, delivering straight to the core consumer a personalised, light-hearted and shoppable way to share the ideal UGG gift with their loved ones. Supportive promotional activity on Twitter and Instagram has been launched to complements the Messenger campaign. 

Social Media Brands

Mark Zuckerberg outlines plan to tackle fake news

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed details of how he plans to combat fake news on the social network. Such is the prevalence of misinformation on the platform, some have said it changed the outcome of the US presidential election. ‘We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this seriously’, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. He revealed the issues were ‘complex, both technically and philosophically’, noting that while the social network is launching several projects ‘to take misinformation seriously’, it does not want to discourage the sharing of opinions or become ‘arbiters of truth’. 

Zuckerberg insisted that over 99% of Facebook’s content was ‘authentic’ but conceded more work needs to be done. He revealed the social network is working on seven proposals to tackle misinformation more robustly, including methods for stronger detection and verification. The social network is improving its algorithms so they can better detect false information and is also making it easier for users to report stories they believe are fake. In the immediate aftermath of the US election, Facebook changed its policy to ban its advertising from appearing on sites that carry misinformation, which Zuckerberg said was one of a number of ideas aimed at ‘disrupting fake news economy’. Likewise, eGoogle has also pledged to do more to prevent fake new sites from making money through advertising.  

Instagram launches ‘disappearing video’

Instagram has unveiled a ‘disappearing video’ feature in its new update, becoming the latest social network to adopt live video broadcast. Footage that vanishes once viewed is a signature feature of Snapchat, and its introduction to Instagram will further the competition between them. Live video is being launched within Instagram Stories and is similar to parent company Facebook’s Live function with the difference that footage disappears the second the broadcast ends rather than being saved to the app. Instagrammers can comment and react by posting emoji that appear on the live video screen. The update also comprises of a disappearing private message feature which allows users to send photos and videos directly to friends via Instagram’s Direct Message function. 

Kevin Weil, Instagram’s product boss, said the new features aimed to make using the social network a more personal experience rather than providing an alternative to viewing content on traditional TV. He also stressed that unlike Facebook Live, Instagram will not partner with celebrities and brands to encourage people to use the product. He emphasised the new features were being introduced to offer users a place to share ‘the more private moments or the inside jokes that are relevant not for your entire Instagram following but for a smaller group of folks’.

Trainer turns to Twitter to book a jockey

Trainer Jamie Osborne turned to Twitter when he could not find a jockey to ride Secret Interlude at Kempton on Wednesday. He looked to the social network after realising his apprentice Lucy Barry had ridden too many winners to be eligible, while none of the other jockeys he used fitted the qualification. Having no allegiance to any rider, he decided to ask Twitter to find a jockey who met the race qualifications. When seven riders got in touch Osborne launched a  Twitter poll to choose who won the booking. He said: ‘This being the year of the vote I thought it was only fair to do the same’. The lucky winner was Georgia Dobie who is based with Mark Tompkins. The British Horseracing Authority confirmed it had no concerns over the method of her booking, as long as she held the appropriate licence. 

Osborne tweeted a photograph of Dobie in the parade ring shortly before the race, captioned: ‘The first jockey ever booked by Twitter poll.’ Despite making a little piece of Twitter history, Secret Interlude came seventh in the apprenticeship handicap, which was won by My Bubba and William Cox. 



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