March 28, 2018 By Zak Mehan
Since news that Cambridge Analytica obtained private data from 50 million Facebook users without their consent, Facebook has been working hard to course correct. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given interviews in The New York Times, CNN and Wired in addition to taking out several full-page apology ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post and a British newspaper published by the Guardian, The Observer.
Despite the outreach, we’ve seen a good deal of conversation surrounding #deletefacebook. Only time will tell if people actually follow through and begin deleting their accounts – business leaders like Elon Musk are helping to give the movement legs. But brands would be well advised to pay special attention to how consumers are responding over the coming weeks. Audiences are likely to become more and more aware of what data Facebook has on them, and users are likely to be much more suspicious of third-party content.
Brands will want to take it easy and avoid posting any content that looks like it’s attempting to get information out of users. While asking questions is a great way to garner engagement on social, steering clear of this approach and avoiding any content that looks like the quizzes that were used to harvest data is likely the way to go as we all wait to see exactly how this information affects engagement on the platform.
The next question is how widespread the fallout becomes. As we saw with YouTube’s brand safety issues last year, advertisers can be quick to cut ties with platforms to avoid guilt by association.
While Twitter and Facebook have been dealing with the fallout from the Russian troll scandal for months and months, one platform has managed to fly under the radar when it comes to the 2016 election: Tumblr. But after keeping quiet through congressional hearings and a flurry of negative media coverage, the company has finally broken its silence.
It turns out that Tumblr was also used by Russian-backed accounts to spread misinformation, largely in the form of divisive memes and GIFs. The company’s silence did not go completely unnoticed – BuzzFeed News sent Tumblr an email on the subject that was opened over 290 times but never responded to – but the company has yet to generate the same amount of criticism as the other large platforms have.
Whether this strategy of silence was effective or not remains to be seen – the news was (likely strategically) released during a week when people were more concerned about larger issues related to data and privacy on social media (see above). Crisis managers at the company are probably breathing a sigh of relief, but we reckon we’ll start seeing the scope of calls for regulation expand to include Tumblr and other companies that have avoided the spotlight so far.
We’ve had our fair share of discussions about the best time of day to post content, but new data may help provide actionable insights on when to post and what those posts should look like. A new study from Parse.ly recently found that web traffic from desktop computers takes a dive after workers leave the office on Friday.
While the ratio of users using mobile versus users using desktop stays around one-to-one on the weekdays, the ratio moves two-to-one on the weekends in favor of mobile. What’s more, the research shows that there’s another spike in mobile usage late at night (around 11:00 pm EST).
Along with offering some interesting inferences about where computing is headed, this means a few things for channel managers and advertisers as they think about when, and what, to post.
Content posted after standard working hours should likely take a slightly different tone, geared towards leisure readers (and from those of us who fall into the 11:00 pm “browsing before bed category,” a plea for nothing that will keep us up late). Graphs, facts, and figures are great for working hours, but also think about using a human-interest angle or softening content for when folks are more relaxed and browsing from home. The smart advertisers will make sure content going out over the weekend is targeted to mobile devices, rather than desktops.
Instagram Is Changing Its Algorithm. Here’s How. The New York Times
Snapchat’s Celebrity Exodus Keeps Getting Worse Fortune
Apple expands test to sell ads in Apple News Digiday
Survey: YouTube Is America’s Most Popular Social Media Platform Forbes
Worst food product of 2018. Debate me.
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