New owners relax social media restrictions around Formula One

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

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New owners relax social media restrictions around Formula One

Formula One’s new owner is allowing teams and drivers to engage with fans on social media from inside the circuit area for the first time. Liberty Media has made fan engagement a key priority in stark contrast to previous owner Bernie Ecclestone who was highly sceptical of social media and moved to control all video content generated inside the paddock. However, Liberty Media is determined to build the Formula One brand through digital and social media channels. Teams were given the new guidelines ahead of the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Monday. The new rules will allow them to ‘shoot short-form video for use on the team’s own social channels’ from inside the circuit. The new owners have appointed Norman Howell as director of global communications at Formula One, a new post created to drive its innovative vision for the sport, which is based on new levels of entertainment and fan engagement. ‘If we can do this, Formula One will continue to be one of the biggest sporting brands in the world,’ Howell claimed. The change in policy was immediately evident. World Champions Mercedes took the lead, with an Instagram Live of Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for a hot lap of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which showed his view from the cockpit as the final check of his car was made in the garage. Hamilton, who has 4.16 million Twitter followers and 3.8 million on Instagram, tweeted: ‘Through practice I’ll be live on Instagram from the cockpit to give you something new, so tune in.’ Elsewhere, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told fans they would now have more behind-the-scenes access to drivers. ‘You’ve probably noticed teams are putting out a bit more content of what their drivers are up to in the paddock, not what’s happening trackside because that belongs to the broadcasters,’ he told reporters.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

BBC inspires Snapchat artists in a campaign for Big Painting Challenge

BBC1’s Big Painting Challenge is looking to Snapchat to discover the next generation of artists in a new campaign aimed at tapping into the social networks millennial audience. The weekly TV show puts amateur contestants through a six-week artistic boot-camp before crowning a winner. Alongside the series, a Snapchat artist will set a weekly challenge to followers of the BBC1 account on the social network. Fans of the show are being asked to post their creations on Snapchat, as well as Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #BigPaintingChallenge. This week’s challenge comes from San-Francisco-based Snapchat artist @TristanTales who uses the example of balloons popping to inspire users to create art people can interact with. ‘Snapchat art isn’t about creating a masterpiece – it’s about getting creative with the world around you,’ he said. Other featured artists include @TurbanChino and @geeohsnap, while other tasks involve selfies and Doctor Who-inspired art. Diana Ali and Pascal Anson, the art mentors from the TV series, describe Snapchat as another medium available for budding artists to express their creativity. Ali noted: ‘Snapchat is bold, colourful and exaggerates the world we see’. Submissions using the hashtag will be collected in a public gallery displayed on a dedicated section of the BBC website.

Social Media Brands...

Facebook reactions will influence News Feed rankings

Facebook’s reaction emoji buttons will now be used to determine what a user sees in their News Feed. Additional emoji reactions, such as Love, Wow and Sad were introduced last year following feedback that the Facebook Like button is not always adequate to express appropriate reactions to a post. The social network has revealed it is now tweaking the News Feed algorithm to weigh the emoji reactions more than Likes when deciding the relevance of a story to each user. ‘Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post,’ the social network said in a statement. Facebook also revealed ‘Love’ has been the most popular reaction emoji in the past 12 months, making up more than half of the 300 billion global reactions. Users in Mexico, Chile and Suriname were found to be the most prolific users of Facebook Reactions, while the highest volume of reactions in a 24 hour period was notched up on Christmas Day.

ResearchGate: A Facebook-style shift in how science is shared

During a recent project, University of Limerick surgery professor Calvin Coffey regularly turned to his followers on ResearchGate, for tips and suggestions on where his four-person team should focus their research. ResearchGate is a free Facebook-style social network for scientists. ‘It’s real-time feedback from people who are experts in this field,’ said Professor Coffey. ‘It’s not like your typical social media.’ ResearchGate, founded in 2008 in Berlin, has just announced another $52.6m in funding, bringing the total raised to over $100m from an impressive list of investors that include the Wellcome Trust, LVMH, Bill Gates, and Founders Fund. This is being used to build new features that expand the functionality of its platform. The platform is nowhere near the scale of LinkedIn in terms of user numbers - 12 million compared to 467 million - but what it may lack in size it makes up for in engagement, targeting and a fresh approach to science publishing and sharing information. And ResearchGate is also starting to think about other kinds of verticals it might want to reach in the future, such as education or the tech community, which is where interest from investors is needed. ‘ResearchGate is an innovative and widely-used platform, which connects researchers with their peers around the world. Through providing a space to share results and ideas, it is helping researchers to advance their research and develop applications that benefit society,’ said Geoffrey Love, senior member of the Investment Division at Wellcome Trust. Benchmark board member Matt Cohler added: “To be successful, everything a true network-effect business like ResearchGate does needs to be useful to its members. This includes making money.’

Pinterest doubles down on AI because most of Pinterest hasn’t been built yet

Pinterest is launching a new division within its organisation dedicated to machine learning and Artificial Intelligence research. Pinterest Labs will be run by the social network's chief scientist, Jure Leskovec, who posted that the Lab would work on image recognition, user modelling, recommender systems, and big data analytics. The aim is to improve the company's visual search and other features that use artificial intelligence technology, including spam filtering, ad targeting, search ranking, new user education, recommendations, and data science in general. Leskovec, who noted that these areas are among the most challenging for machine learning and artificial intelligence, commented: ‘Most of Pinterest hasn’t been built yet.’ The initiative puts it in a better position to hire top talent in a field where others, including Facebook, Salesforce, Snap, and Twitter, have also formed research groups focused on artificial intelligence. Pinterest has been steadily ramping up its efforts in the machine learning space, and AI has become increasingly important to the seven-year-old social network. Its visual search and discovery features have been of particular importance and the new ‘Lens’ feature, for example, allows users to search the site by snapping photos of objects with their smartphone, while ‘Shop the Look’ finds similar items when a user clicks on an object within an individual pin. Now it is known these features are just the beginning.

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