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Facebook to admit ownership of Instagram, WhatsApp in barely visible small-print

Facebook to admit ownership of Instagram, WhatsApp in barely visible small-print

August 3, 2019

For the first time in more than half a decade, Facebook wants to inform you that it owns Instagram, the hyper-popular rival social networking app it acquired for a $1BN steal back in 2012.

Ditto messaging platform WhatsApp — which Mark Zuckerberg splurged $19BN on a couple of years later to keep feeding eyeballs into his growth engine.

Facebook is adding its own brand name alongside the other two — in the following format: ‘Instagram from Facebook’; ‘WhatsApp from Facebook.’

The cheap perfume style rebranding was first reported by The Information which cites three people familiar with the matter who told it employees for the two apps were recently notified internally of the plan to rebrand.

“The move to add Facebook’s name to the apps has been met with surprise and confusion internally, reflecting the autonomy that the units have operated under,” it said. Although it also reported that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been frustrated that Facebook doesn’t get more credit for the growth of Instagram and WhatsApp.

So it sounds like Facebook may be hoping for a little reverse osmosis brand-washing — aka leveraging the popularity of its cleaner social apps to detoxify the scandal-hit mothership.

Not that Facebook is saying anything like that publicly, of course.

In a statement to The Information confirming the rebranding it explained it thus: “We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.”

The rebranding also comes at a time when Facebook is facing at least two antitrust investigations on its home turf — where calls for Facebook and other big tech giants to be broken up are now a regular feature of the campaign trail…

We can only surmise the legal advice Facebook …

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Don’t miss this epic Twitter fight between the IAB’s CEO and actual publishers

Don’t miss this epic Twitter fight between the IAB’s CEO and actual publishers

August 2, 2019

Grab popcorn. As internet fights go, this one deserves your full attention — because the fight is over your attention. Your eyeballs and the creepy ads that trade data on you to try to swivel ’em.

In the blue corner, the Internet Advertising Association’s CEO, Randall Rothenberg, who has been taking to Twitter increasingly loudly in recent days to savage Europe’s privacy framework, the GDPR, and bleat dire warnings about California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) — including amplifying studies he claims show “the negative impact” on publishers.

Exhibit A, tweeted August 1:

NB: The IAB is a mixed membership industry organization which combines advertisers, brands, publishers, data brokers* and adtech platform tech giants — including the dominant adtech duopoly, Google and Facebook, who take home ~60% of digital ad spend. The only entity capable of putting a dent in the duopoly, Amazon, is also in the club. Its membership reflects the sprawling interests attached to the online ad industry, and, well, the personal data that currently feeds it (your eyeballs again!), although some members clearly have pots more money to spend on lobbying against digital privacy regs than others.

In a what now looks to have been a deleted tweet last month, Rothenberg publicly professed himself proud to have Facebook as a member of his “publisher defence” club. Though, admittedly, per the above tweet, he’s also worried about brands and retailers getting “killed.” He doesn’t need to worry about Google and Facebook’s demise because that would just be ridiculous.

Now, in the — I wish I could call it “red top” corner, except these newspaper …

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How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Generate Business Leads

August 2, 2019


Social media can be a powerhouse tool for making valuable business connections, if it’s leveraged correctly. But it can be difficult to know how and where to make these connections.

Carrie Dunham, owner of the Carrie Dunham handbag and accessories line, asked the businesscompany.us community how to generate leads through LinkedIn Groups: “I am curious how others use social media and social networks to generate leads. I used to like LinkedIn Answers and Groups, but they got rid of Answers … they just released their new navigation, and groups are being buried. Seems like they are moving to being just your online resume and helping people find jobs. Social media is important, but I am just getting my feet wet.”

We spoke with social media and marketing experts and outlined the steps to generating leads on LinkedIn Groups. [Interested in social media management? Check out our best picks.]

1. Join the right LinkedIn Groups.

The first step to creating leads from LinkedIn Groups is finding and joining a group full of potential customers. To do that, decide who your ideal client or audience is. Once you know who you want to market and sell your product to, find a group the caters to that community. [See related article: How to Reach Your Target Audience.]

“Using that profile, go to the groups that have a large number of individuals as members,” said Bill Corbett Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations. “For example, if you want to market to accountant groups, you go to accountant groups. To effectively convert sales, you have to be in a target-rich environment.”

Popular LinkedIn groups for small business owners and entrepreneurs include Executive Suite, Band of Entrepreneurs, and Social Media Marketing. [For more great LinkedIn groups

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Small Business Marketing on a Budget

July 31, 2019


However, even though you do not need an unlimited budget to market digitally, you do need a solid strategy so that you are targeting the right audience and creating the right message about your small business. Among some of the cost-effective: strategies you an employer are

  • Use free social media wisely.
  • Use free social media to give away “free” offers.
  • Publish high-quality content, or recycle old content.
  • Build and maintain your email subscriber list.

Digital marketing does not have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, digital marketing will take some time and effort, so you will need a plan to efficiently run your social media platforms, keep your website up-to-date and consistently communicate with your customers.

When it comes to digital marketing, it is imperative that small business owners have a solid mixture of videos, blogs and online promotions through various social media platforms. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, global consumer Internet video traffic currently accounts for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic and will account for 82 percent of traffic by 2022.

Not only that, but Facebook currently has more than 2 billion active monthly users and generates 8 billion video views daily. Then there’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Quora…the list is endless. But, using these forms of digital communication to market your services is a bit more complicated than simply signing up your small business and hoping customers will come. Here is more on the different low-cost stratgies you can employ.

Use free social media wisely

Social media is an effective, and free, way for small businesses to engage and interact with customers and potential customers. In fact, 77 percent of small businesses in the United States now use social media for marketing, sales, and customer service, according to data aggregated by SCORE, …

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How Video Can Make Your Blogs More Reader Friendly

July 30, 2019


While the rise in video consumption, which makes up nearly three-quarters of all online traffic, may make it seem like blogs will quickly be falling to the wayside, that isn’t the case. People still turn to blogs as a trusted source of information. In fact, research shows that blogs have been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information. 

But, if you want to drive more traffic to your blog and get even more loyal fans, you should consider combining your blogging strategy with online videos and other forms of visual media. By providing both content formats to users, you’ll be able to introduce your blog to people who might not have given you a chance before as well as improve engagement from the readers you already have. 

There are four key ways you can transform your blog with visual media, including:

  • Adding screencasts for tutorials

  • Including GIFs for entertainment

  • Showing “behind-the-scenes” with vlogs

  • Turning your full blog post into a video

Here’s more on each strategy.

Add screencasts for tutorials. 

If you’re teaching your readers how to do something in your blog posts, instead of only providing written step-by-step instructions with screenshots, include a video tutorial. A video tutorial can show your readers exactly how to complete a task, making it much easier for them to follow your instructions. After all, your readers are likely heading to your blog to learn something, so make sure they get what they’re looking for by providing detailed video lessons, along with helpful text. 

Creating a video tutorial is especially easy if you’re teaching your readers a computer-based lesson, like how to create featured blog post images or how to create a budgeting spreadsheet with Google Sheets, because all you have to do is record your screen. There’s a …

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Facebook and YouTube’s moderation failure is an opportunity to deplatform the platforms

Facebook and YouTube’s moderation failure is an opportunity to deplatform the platforms

July 29, 2019

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have failed their task of monitoring and moderating the content that appears on their sites; what’s more, they failed to do so well before they knew it was a problem. But their incidental cultivation of fringe views is an opportunity to recast their role as the services they should be rather than the platforms they have tried so hard to become.

The struggles of these juggernauts should be a spur to innovation elsewhere: While the major platforms reap the bitter harvest of years of ignoring the issue, startups can pick up where they left off. There’s no better time to pass someone up as when they’re standing still.

Asymmetrical warfare: Is there a way forward?

At the heart of the content moderation issue is a simple cost imbalance that rewards aggression by bad actors while punishing the platforms themselves.

To begin with, there is the problem of defining bad actors in the first place. This is a cost that must be borne from the outset by the platform: With the exception of certain situations where they can punt (definitions of hate speech or groups for instance), they are responsible for setting the rules on their own turf.

That’s a reasonable enough expectation. But carrying it out is far from trivial; you can’t just say “here’s the line; don’t cross it or you’re out.” It is becoming increasingly clear that these platforms have put themselves in an uncomfortable lose-lose situation.

If they have simple rules, they spend all their time adjudicating borderline cases, exceptions, and misplaced outrage. If they have more granular ones, there is no upper limit on the complexity and they spend all their time defining it to fractal levels of detail.

Both solutions require constant attention and an enormous, highly-organized and informed moderation corps, …

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Europe’s top court sharpens guidance for sites using leaky social plug-ins

Europe’s top court sharpens guidance for sites using leaky social plug-ins

July 29, 2019

Europe’s top court has made a ruling that could affect scores of websites that embed the Facebook ‘Like’ button and receive visitors from the region.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU states such sites are jointly responsible for the initial data processing — and must either obtain informed consent from site visitors prior to data being transferred to Facebook, or be able to demonstrate a legitimate interest legal basis for processing this data.

The ruling is significant because, as currently seems to be the case, Facebook’s Like buttons transfer personal data automatically, when a webpage loads — without the user even needing to interact with the plug-in — which means if websites are relying on visitors’ ‘consenting’ to their data being shared with Facebook they will likely need to change how the plug-in functions to ensure no data is sent to Facebook prior to visitors being asked if they want their browsing to be tracked by the adtech giant.

The background to the case is a complaint against online clothes retailer, Fashion ID, by a German consumer protection association, Verbraucherzentrale NRW — which took legal action in 2015 seeking an injunction against Fashion ID’s use of the plug-in which it claimed breached European data protection law.

Like ’em or loath ’em, Facebook’s ‘Like’ buttons are an impossible-to-miss component of the mainstream web. Though most Internet users are likely unaware that the social plug-ins are used by Facebook to track what other websites they’re visiting for ad targeting purposes.

Last year the company told the UK parliament that between April 9 and April 16 the button had appeared on 8.4M websites, while its Share button social plug-in appeared on 931K sites. (Facebook also admitted to 2.2M instances of another tracking tool it uses to harvest non-Facebook browsing …

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The Great Hack tells us data corrupts 

The Great Hack tells us data corrupts 

July 27, 2019

This week professor David Carroll, whose dogged search for answers to how his personal data was misused plays a focal role in The Great Hack: Netflix’s documentary tackling the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, quipped that perhaps a follow up would be more punitive for the company than the $5BN FTC fine released the same day.

The documentary — which we previewed ahead of its general release Wednesday — does an impressive job of articulating for a mainstream audience the risks for individuals and society of unregulated surveillance capitalism, despite the complexities involved in the invisible data ‘supply chain’ that feeds the beast. Most obviously by trying to make these digital social emissions visible to the viewer — as mushrooming pop-ups overlaid on shots of smartphone users going about their everyday business, largely unaware of the pervasive tracking it enables.

Facebook is unlikely to be a fan of the treatment. In its own crisis PR around the Cambridge Analytica scandal it has sought to achieve the opposite effect; making it harder to join the data-dots embedded in its ad platform by seeking to deflect blame, bury key details and bore reporters and policymakers to death with reams of irrelevant detail — in the hope they might shift their attention elsewhere.

Data protection itself isn’t a topic that naturally lends itself to glamorous thriller treatment, of course. No amount of slick editing can transform the close and careful scrutiny of political committees into seat-of-the-pants viewing for anyone not already intimately familiar with the intricacies being picked over. And yet it’s exactly such thoughtful attention to detail that democracy demands. Without it we are all, to put it proverbially, screwed.

The Great Hack shows what happens when vital detail and context are cheaply ripped away at scale, via socially …

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Using the same tactics as ‘Big Tobacco,’ Juul may have intentionally targeted teens

Using the same tactics as ‘Big Tobacco,’ Juul may have intentionally targeted teens

July 26, 2019

After a hearing this week, members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform said that Juul, the ultra-popular e-cigarette brand, may have intentionally targeted teens in schools and online.

Based on 55,000 non-public documents out of Juul Labs, the subcommittee said that Juul’s Youth Prevention Plan recruited schools into a program that put Juul representatives and students in the same room. Schools received payment for participating in the program.

According to the release, one testimony put before the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy described a Juul representative telling students that vaping was “totally safe,” and recommended that one already nicotine-addicted student use Juul.

The subcommittee also reported that Juul spent $134,000 to set up a five-week summer camp for 80 children through a charter school, according to documents obtained for the hearing. The camp was meant to be a “holistic health education program.”

Dr. Robert Jackler, Stanford University School of Medicine, testified about his conversations with Juul co-founder James Monsees, who said the use of Stanford’s tobacco advertising database was “very helpful as they designed JUUL’s advertising,” according to information provided by the subcommittee.

“The Subcommittee found that: JUUL deployed a sophisticated program to enter schools and convey its messaging directly to teenage children; JUUL also targeted teenagers and children, as young as eight years old, in summer camps and public out-of-school programs; and JUUL recruited thousands of online ‘influencers’ to market to teens,” the memo states.

The company also turned to more modern methods. Using an influencer marketing program to “curate and identify 280 influencers in LA/NY to seed JUUL product” and find social media “buzzmakers” with “a minimum of 30,000 followers” to attend launch events for the company’s products.

Juul shut down its social media marketing program in November of last year. While …

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Technology Should Enhance Communication Skills

July 22, 2019


Did you have your first exchange with a coworker over Slack – before ever entering the office? The world is in the midst of a digital transformation that stands to impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Today, we can direct commands to an empty room knowing that Alexa will add notes to our to-do lists and sync reminders to our smartphones, or collaborate on a project with a coworker tens of thousands of miles away. Only 20 years ago, these capabilities might have been laughed off as the improbabilities of science fiction – and yet, we all but take them for granted today.

I know digital transformation is a buzzword-rich phrase, but it’s true. Even to be able to read this article right now requires access to technology. When you unravel the complexities of technology, you see its purpose is twofold: to effect change worldwide and to simplify and enhance our everyday working lives. On the surface, the capabilities technology brings to our offices is overwhelmingly positive; it offers convenience, collaborative power and connectivity. But in allowing us ready communication in the digital world, is the technology we rely on at work eroding our face-to-face collaboration skills? Is our blind reliance on Slack, Skype and smart tech hurting us, even as we applaud it for helping us?

Technology is not always a time-saver

Technology fosters efficiency – or at least, it seems to. Chat platforms and email empower us to start a conversation in a matter of keystrokes, all from the comfort of our desks. We don’t have to walk across the office or take a multi-hour train ride to meet a colleague in person. 

Given the apparent time savings, it’s tempting to interchangeably use email and other messaging platforms in place of in-person communication, but if …

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