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It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Latest E-Commerce Trend: The Rise of Shoppable Posts
February 11, 2020
There were 4,521,480,071 Internet users as of Dec. 1, 2019. A month later it was closer to 5 billion users. A decade ago there were fewer than a billion social network users. That's worldwide. That user growth has been a leading indicator of the rise of alternative social networking platforms. Marketers -- and consumers -- are always on the lookout for the newest thing with which to engage.
Know Your Enemy: The Difficulty of Defining Deepfakes
January 21, 2020
Facebook recently promised that it would increase efforts to remove so-called "deepfake" videos, including content that included "misleading manipulated media." In addition to fears that deepfakes -- altered videos that appear to be authentic -- could impact the upcoming 2020 general election in the United States, there are growing concerns that they could ruin reputations and impact businesses.
Cybersecurity 2020: A Perilous Landscape
January 17, 2020
Cybersecurity is a very serious issue for 2020 -- and the risks stretch far beyond the alarming spike in ransomware. In addition to the daily concerns of malware, stolen data and the cost of recovering from a business network intrusion, there is the very real danger of nefarious actors using cyberattacks to influence or directly impact the outcome of the 2020 U.S. general election.
4 Marketing Automation Tools for SMB Success in 2020
January 14, 2020
Marketing automation isn't a thing of the future -- it's very much a part of the here and now for small and midsized businesses across the world. However, many are unaware of a variety of marketing automation tools that can help SMBs reach customers in a timely and effective way. To compete with larger firms on customer reach, SMBs need to approach their marketing plan with a strategic mindset.
Building E-Commerce Wave: Social Media Shopping
January 13, 2020
Consumers are on social media constantly, scrolling through posts. Many have begun clicking on brand posts and making purchases. "Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular for brands," noted Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path. "Even when the transaction itself may be happening outside the app, there's a much smaller gap between discovery and purchase."
'Black PR' Firms Line Their Pockets by Spreading Misinformation
January 9, 2020
PR companies long have been known for reshaping perceptions for their clients. Some now engage in "black PR" -- the calculated spread of misinformation online. Entrepreneur Peng Kuan Chin's company harvests online posts written in Chinese, reshapes them, and posts them on websites under its control. Thousands of fake social media accounts then spread this manipulated content across the Internet.
Facebook to Kick Out Some Deepfakes
January 8, 2020
Facebook has promised to remove certain "misleading manipulated media": videos edited or synthesized in ways that likely would mislead viewers to believe that video subjects said words they did not say; products of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merge, combine, replace, or superimpose content onto a video, creating a fake video that appears to be authentic.
Facebook Won't Let US, UK, Australia Get Toe in Backdoor
December 11, 2019
Facebook has rejected a request from the U.S., the UK and Australia for a "backdoor" in its encrypted messenger apps to help law enforcement agencies combat crime and terrorism. "Cybersecurity experts have repeatedly proven that when you weaken any part of an encrypted system, you weaken it for everyone, everywhere," wrote WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Facebook Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky.
Twitter Sets Up Privacy Center but Moves to Skirt GDPR
December 4, 2019
Twitter's new Privacy Center will give users more clarity on what it does to protect the information people share. The center will host everything relevant to Twitter's privacy and data protection work, including initiatives, announcements, new privacy products and communication about security incidents, noted Twitter Data Protection Officer Damien Kieran and Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour.
New YouTube Terms of Service Create Stir
November 12, 2019
Google has published changes to YouTube's Terms of Service Agreement that have stoked fears among some users. "YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account's access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable," the new ToSA states. Many creators are deeply concerned over the prospect of YouTube changing its practices.
The Truth vs. Censorship Trap
November 4, 2019
There recently has been a lot of rumbling about Twitter deciding not to take political ads, and Facebook deciding -- and this was stupid -- that it would run political ads even if they were untrue. I'm becoming convinced that Zuckerberg is trying to put Facebook out of business. There are some real differences between the firms. Facebook does far more political advertising than Twitter.
Evidence of War Crimes Vanishing From Social Media
November 1, 2019
A controversy has erupted over YouTube's practice of taking down videos with graphically violent content, which also may be evidence of recent war crimes. YouTube's policy -- similar to other social media platforms -- has been to remove content that contains hate speech, disinformation or disturbing images. In the past, social media services have been called out for failing to do enough.
Facebook Employees Blast Company's Political Ads Policy
October 30, 2019
At least 250 Facebook employees signed a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticizing the company's hands-off policy against fact-checking political ads. "We strongly object to this policy as it stands," says the letter. "It doesn't protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
FTC Targets Fake Influencer Metrics, Fake Reviews
October 23, 2019
The FTC announced settlements of a series of fraudulent marketing charges against two high-profile firms. The actions taken make it clear that anyone who engages in similar illegal behavior will face enforcement action, the FTC said. In the first case, Devumi agreed to settle the FTC's first-ever complaint challenging the sale of fake indicators of social media influence.
Creating Brand Loyalty in the Era of Now
October 21, 2019
Not so long ago, marketing usually meant gathering some demographic data, placing ads in selected print and broadcast media, stuffing mailboxes with direct mail, plastering the countryside with billboards, and more recently, bombarding the universe with spam. Marketers no longer can focus on delivering static messages, regardless of how "targeted" or "multichannel" they may be.
Facebook's After-the-Fact Oversight
October 19, 2019
I wanted to like Kara Swisher's recent piece about Facebook's attempt to wrestle with its demons, but I can't. It feels too much like self-delusion. To cut to the chase, Facebook announced it was forming an oversight board that eventually will have about 40 members with responsibilities for policing its domain and reducing or even eliminating fake news and propaganda.
New Trade Deal Provisions Give US Tech Firms Legal Shields
October 9, 2019
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into trade agreements to shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits. That move could help lock in America's tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being questioned at home. The legal protections are included in the administration's two biggest trade deals.
Getting Ahead of the Digital Marketing Evolution Curve
October 7, 2019
Digital marketing was the firstborn child spawned from the invention of the Internet. It quickly became the major focus of businesses interactions -- and transactions -- both online and in person. Digital marketing now is fundamental to the success of your business. Why is digital marketing so important? Simply put, it is the last remaining channel for content that consumers can trust.
Leaked Audio Reveals Zuckerberg Spinning Hard
October 2, 2019
An attendee at a two-hour question-and-answer session during a Facebook company meeting held in July leaked a recording of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments that reveal deep insights into his thinking. Zuckerberg apparently decided the Q&A format would be an effective way to rally Facebook employees against rising criticism from competitors and the U.S. government.
Facebook's New Portals: More Ways to Follow
September 19, 2019
Facebook has announced three additions to the Portal family: a new Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. The devices let users make calls using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The Portal has a new design that resembles a picture frame. The Portal Mini is similar but smaller. The Portal TV blends the functionality of a set-top box with social media and video conferencing.
Instagram May Roll Out App for 'Real Friends' Sharing
August 28, 2019
A new application may be in the works that allows Instagram users to share real-time information with their closest friends. Called "Threads," the app allows users to set up automatic sharing with their closest Instagram buddies of such information as location, movement and battery life, as well as text, video and photo messages generated using Instagram's tools.
Making It in Multichannel E-Commerce
August 23, 2019
Contemporary e-commerce means selling through a variety of channels beyond traditional company-owned websites -- including a plethora of social media, mobile and other platforms. Multichannel selling quickly has become the norm, and consumers increasingly expect to be able to shop wherever they happen to be in the digital world. "Today, retailers have countless options of channels to choose from," said Marcel Hollerbach, CMO of Productsup.
Facebook Gives Privacy-Minded Users Some Control Over Activity Tracking
August 21, 2019
Facebook has announced the release of Off-Facebook Activity, a tool that will let members see which apps and websites supply information about their online activity, and clear that information from their Facebook accounts if they wish. Once members have cleared their off-Facebook activity, Facebook will remove their identifying information from the data it collects.
YouTube as Political Influencer Takes the Spotlight
August 16, 2019
YouTube, which operates as one of Google's subsidiaries, is under increased scrutiny after a report earlier this month highlighted the role it played in the recent presidential election in Brazil. Among concerns is YouTube's installation of a new AI system that can suggest additional videos to watch. The goal arguably is not much different from the way newspapers offer links to other stories.
5 Steps to Optimizing Your Quiz for Marketing Success
August 7, 2019
The modern world is becoming more difficult every year for e-commerce marketers. Audiences are harder than ever to reach as mistrust of traditional marketing tactics continues to increase. Banner ads are dying with the rise of ad blockers -- and proven lead generation methods like pop-ups and interstitials are becoming less and less effective. A new tactic is needed -- and that tactic is quizzes.
Cloudflare Cuts Service to 'Cesspool of Hate'
August 6, 2019
Cloudflare has cut service to 8chan, an online forum it called a "cesspool of hate." The move was motivated by the role 8chan played in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Christchurch, New Zealand; and Poway, California. "The rationale is simple: They have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths," wrote Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince.
Leveling Up From Product Seller to Brand Builder
August 5, 2019
Video traffic is expected to make up 82 percent of all Internet traffic by 2022. This spike coincides with the increased production and distribution of videos throughout every industry. However, the value of video marketing for brands is as old as video itself. The difference now is that there are more opportunities to publish them and reach consumers via social media.
UCSF Researchers Synthesize Speech From Brain Waves
August 1, 2019
Researchers led by speech neuroscientist Edward Chang at the University of California San Francisco have achieved success at decoding speech attempts in real time by reading the activity in the speech centers of test subjects' brains. Three persons capable of normal speech, who were being treated for epilepsy at the UCSF Medical Center, participated in the study.
Timely Antitrust Investigation
July 26, 2019
The Justice Department is opening antitrust investigations into some of the biggest tech companies around, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. This is nothing that either the public or the companies involved should fret about. This is part of the evolution of the tech sector. We've been through this kind of thing before. Each economic era follows a similar trajectory.
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Amazon Advertising: Strategies to Drive Success
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