Facebook’s Explore Feed, Twitter Transparency, Snap’s Spectacle, And More In This Week’s Friday Download
October 27, 2017
Greetings in particular to our myriad readers in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, because you are the starting point for our first story, and specifically how Facebook are messing with your timelines.
Last week Facebook rolled out the new Explore Feed, an experiment in how consumers respond to separating personal and public newsflow. In part an attempt to show that Facebook are keen to disrupt the echo chambers that have led to much criticism particularly in connection to recent political discourse, ultimately this is a move to capture yet more of our hours in-app.
“But why pick out the readers from those six countries at the start?” I hear you cry. Well media and company pages in these markets were shocked to find that all their non-promoted posts were shunted into the Explore section, rather than the feed as standard. Cue: Major. Problems., as engagement dropped by between two thirds and three quarters among nation-specific media titles. Journalists called it a threat to democracy, while organisations looking to communicate to their audiences suddenly had a massive shortfall in reach and responses. While Facebook have downplayed a wider rollout, this suggests that supporting your content with advertising budget is growing in importance…
The Advertising Transparency Centre will allow user oversight on what adverts are being created, what they’re saying, who they’re targeting, and perhaps most importantly who’s paid for them.
This first step from Twitter in helping to curb the current free-for-all of digital political advertising, in which potentially conflicting or misleading messages can be delivered to differing demographics, paid for by agents unknown. Some of these practices won’t yet fall under Twitter’s new regulations, but having greater oversight – at least for content specifically naming candidates – is a move in the right direction.
Having said that, we also agree with this great piece from Jack Morse: these policies alone will not end the era of disinformation thriving on Twitter. Proposed US legislation dubbed the Honest Ads Bill would go further into standardising how we receive information leading to our most important national decisions.
Snap Out Of It
So it turns out Spectacles are a disaster. The wearable hardware from every American tween’s favourite social media platform that some (confession time, us) had touted as an exciting heir to Google Glass has apparently floundered saleswise.
With only 150,000 units sold, sales dipped significantly through Q2, even after a limited Q1. Uptake has been limited, and investors are possibly sceptical of the ability of a software platform to make the leap into physical production. Hardware is the current battleground for our household tech behemoths, with Google and Amazon looking to go toe to toe with Apple among others, and Snap’s investment in a 150-strong hardware team is an attempt to join in.
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FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.