Buffer has just released its State of Social 2018 report. It is based on interviews with over 1,700 social media marketers.  The use of live video is growing year over year. The report features insights into why some social media managers reported success with live videos while others did not.

Live Video is a Growing Trend

Publishing the live video on social media platforms is not mainstream. However, the practice is growing. This is what Buffer says about it:

Live video hasn’t yet caught on (only 31 percent of marketers have broadcast live video)

In our last State of Social report, 26 percent of marketers said they had created live video content. In 2017, 31 percent of marketers said they had broadcast live content—just a 5 percent increase…

While a 5% increase may not sound like much of an increase, that’s still an upward trend. This is a new way of communicating with customers and potential customers, but the evidence is that it is becoming more and more mainstream.

How Effective is Live Video?

According to Facebook, live video is six times more effective at generating interactions than non-live videos. Buffer’s 2018 State of Social Report indicates that of those who used live videos 60% reported they found them effective, while only 10% found live videos ineffective. That’s a remarkable statistic.

That feedback doesn’t tell the whole story, however. If you dig down into the data and count up how effective live video was, you get a different picture.

As you can see, of those 60% that found live video effective, the majority, 36%, found it to be somewhat effective, while only 24% found it to be very effective. This may be a normal distribution of success as in any marketing activity. It could also be a reflection that live videos are more appropriate for certain industries than others.

Why is Live Video Ineffective for Some?

Of the 10% who reported who reported that live video was ineffective, fully 92% of them indicated that they only rarely used live video as part of their social media strategy. Social media managers who reported a lack of success were using live videos only once every few months. That might indicate that those who found it ineffective weren’t putting much effort into live videos.

How Often Should Live Videos be Published?

While 55% of those who found success published live videos on a regular basis, 45% of those who found success published live videos every few months. However, if we break down those numbers by daily, weekly, etc. we get a different picture entirely. It turns out that only 1% of successful live video creators published videos on a daily basis. Below is a graph showing that the biggest group of successful publishers are actually those who published live videos every few months.  Below is a graph showing the breakdown of how often live videos were published by those who reported that live videos were effective.

Quality not Quantity of Live Videos?

What separates those who found success posting live videos every few months versus those who posted at a similar frequency but found them ineffective? The survey doesn’t tell us. One can guess however that the relevance to users and effective promotion may have something to do with the success of those who posted live videos every few months.

The takeaway is that how often live videos are posted isn’t a guarantee of success.  Like anything else, the quality and relevance to the audience may play a role. It may be that success with live videos may be similar to pay per click advertising, where context, relevance and answering the question of “What’s in it for me?” works best.

The full State of Social 2018 report can be downloaded here as a Google Sheet.

Images by Shutterstock, modified by Author

Graphs and bar charts by Author

 Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti

Categorized in Social

Facebook’s fake news frenzy continued as the company came under scrutiny for its debated influence on the U.S. election, LinkedIn was blocked in Russia and a person was treated with CRISPR technology for the first time. Also, the human species has about 1,000 years left according to Stephen Hawking. But do we deserve survival? The existence of Coca-Cola’s selfie bottle points toward no.

1. Mark Zuckerberg published a response to accusations that fake news on Facebook influenced the outcome of the U.S. election. The Facebook CEO claims that at least 99 percent of news content on Facebook was “authentic.” However, many still argue that Facebook has locked users inside of an echo chamber. 

2. Apple and U.S. auto sales could suffer a setback if President-elect Donald Trump takes action on his pre-election comments about global trade. Back in September, Trump said he would impose a 45 percent tariff on imports from China. And now the country is threatening to squeeze iPhone sales if a trade war comes to be. 

MacBook Pro

3. A full four years after the last major upgrade, the new MacBook Pro is finally here. It’s slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, has a new Touch Bar feature and a larger TrackPad.

4. Chinese scientists injected a human being with cells genetically edited using CRISPR-Cas9technology. This is the first time CRISPR has been used on a fully formed adult human, and scientists are hoping that this will help their patient fend off a deadly type of lung cancer.

snapbot

5. Snap Inc. appears to be moving forward in its plans to go public early next year. The company reportedly filed confidentially for its massive IPO. Snap is already targeting as much as $1 billion in revenue for 2017. It has 150 million daily active users and has rapidly become one of the most enticing new advertising platforms for marketers. Snapchat also continued selling its Spectacles glasses to the public in the most millennial way possible — through pop-up vending machines across California and in Oklahoma. But they didn’t give them away to techies. 

6. Microsoft and the Linux community often felt like they were at war with each other in the past. But this week, Microsoft, one of the biggest open-source contributors, joined the Linux Foundation as a high-paying Platinum member.

7. Shareholders approved Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in an important hurdle for the deal. Tesla expects the transaction to close in the coming days. Overall, the acquisition is pushed forward by Elon Musk’s vision of a unified sustainable energy track.

Jason Robins of DraftKings

8. It was confirmed that fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel are merging into one company in what will be a

dual-operating

structure. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins will become CEO of the newly combined company and FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles will become Chairman of the Board.

9. WhatsApp is on its way to becoming the global multi-platform FaceTime. The Facebook-owned communication app launched video calling for everyone.

10. A red-hot new startup called Hustle announced it’s raised $3 million led by Social Capital. The text-distribution tool’s goal is to let organizers quickly start individual, personalized conversations with huge groups of supporters. It has already been used by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

11. Samsung is gunning to increase its focus on connected cars as it announced plans to buy auto and audio product maker Harman in an $8 billion all-cash deal.

12. LinkedIn was officially blocked in Russia after the social network failed to transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country. This violates a law instituted in Russia requiring all online sites to store personal data on national servers.

Author : Anna Escher

Source : techcrunch.com

Categorized in News & Politics

While it would have been nice to tackle this issue before the election, Google and Facebook are finally taking a tiny step in order to fight back against fake news. According to multiple statements, both companies have updated their policies to ban fake news sites from using Facebook’s and Google’s advertising networks.

With the U.S. election, fake news became incredibly popular on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as news aggregating services, such as Google News and news articles in Google search results. We’re not talking about opinion articles — we’re talking about reports spreading blatantly inaccurate information.

Google first updated its policy saying that the company will try to ban sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information.” Websites who don’t comply with this rule will get banned from using Google AdSense.

When it comes to Facebook, the company has also updated its policy to rule out fake news sites from using Facebook Audience Network.

Google AdSense and Facebook Audience Network let content publishers display ads on their websites. Google and Facebook manage the ad inventories, content publishers get a cut for clicks or impressions.

Both companies already have strict policies for their ad networks. For instance, you can’t use Google AdSense on a porn website. Google uses a combination of algorithms and human moderation to decide whether a site is eligible to use its advertising service.

By removing a potential revenue stream, it makes the business of fake news a bit less lucrative. For instance, Buzzfeed discovered that more than 100 fake news sites were created in a tiny city in Macedonia. So it’s clear that it’s not just about influencing the election — people are taking advantage of social networks to make money using fake news.

But there will always be alternative revenue streams, so this move is not enough. Reducing the reach of these websites is the best way to prevent fake news sites from popping out. If Facebook, Twitter, Google News and other websites flagged fake news appropriately, then there would be no reason to create fake news sites in the first place.

Source:  techcrunch.com

Categorized in Social

Earlier this year, a security consultant from Telus Security Solutions, Milind Bhargava revealed that over 70,000 Canadian credit card numbers were listed for sale on a dark web market.

Bhargava released the findings as part of a presentation that was aimed at providing insight on just how much personal information from Canada was available on dark web markets.

He announced this at a SecTor conference held in Toronto.

Credit Cards Were All From One Province

Bhargava’s division, which is usually tasked with monitoring dark web sites that deal in the sale of credit cards for their corporate clients, said that like any other credit and debit cards, Canadian credit cards were easy to identify using the first six digits on the card.

These identify the type of card and also the bank it is affiliated with. As it stands, no organization has claimed credit card theft.

In his presentation, Bhargava said that more than 70,000 Canadian credit cards were suddenly put up for sale on the dark web following the data breach.

Despite the cards being from multiple banks, the security consultant noted that they all came from the same province.

Bhargava noted that it was rare to find such a large amount of stolen credit card information coming from such a localized area. He refused to disclose the identity of the province in question.

Data Breach was Some Form of Contest

70,000 credit cards for sale on the dark web shaken the belief that Canada is immune to cyber and malware attacks rarely make it to the public eye.

 

The stolen Canadian credit cards were on sale for as little as forty cents to as much as $3. The expiry dates on the cards ranged from this year to 2020.

According to Bhargava, there is no clear indication as to how or when exactly the data breach occurred.

The only assumption that could be derived from the situation was that the data collection may have happened for at least over a year.

He also speculated that due to the fact that the cards were sourced from all over Canada, it was possible that the credit card data collection was hosted by some sort of an organization as a contest.

Cyintelligence Inc. Emphasizes on Diligence in Protecting Organizational Data

The CEO of Cytelligence Inc., Daniel Tobok, was not impressed by the figures, saying that the discovery of 70,000 Canadian cards on the dark web market was not that astonishing.

The former managing director of the forensics and security consulting division at Telus, who is now the current head of the Toronto-based digital security consulting firm Cytelligence Inc., divulged in an interview that an upwards of 400,000 different credit and debit cards from Canadian banks are currently on the dark web.

He confirmed the speculation that Canadian cybercrime is largely underestimated, saying that Canada is just as targeted by cyber criminals and malware attacks as any other country.

What’s more, these dark web criminals seek more than just credit card information.

Human resource department databases are often raided for personal data such as social security numbers and T4 income tax information, among other sensitive information.

As Tobok divulged in the interview, his firm had recently been investigating year-long data breaches that resulted in the thefts of approximately 18,000 records containing credit card information and T4 income tax information from a Canadian organization, which he refused to name.

The organization’s security was breached using a carefully executed phishing scam which included email spoofing to install malware in order to breach the organization’s security.

The organization in question was negligent, in Tobok’s opinion, as they had last carried out a thorough security audit two and a half years ago.

Stolen Information Unverifiable

In Bhargava’s presentation alongside Telus consultant Peter Desfigies, he highlighted the fact that despite the alarming amount of Canadian data available for sale on the dark web, there was no way to verify the legitimacy of the stolen data on offer.

However, the availability of Canadian Interac accounts from almost all the major banks in Canada, which came with all the necessary information such as usernames, passwords, and PIN codes, and even security questions spoke volumes about the legitimacy of the stolen information.

Bhargava is, however, sure that little can deter criminals from piecing together bits of data even without the assurance of verification.

He himself had previously been a target of a crime under the pretense of a Canadian government official who tried to extort him in connection with an immigration violation.

The anonymous caller had every bit of Bhargava’s information down pat.

 Source:  darkwebnews.com

Categorized in Deep Web

Mark Zuckerberg’s drive to “put video first” is also putting money in Facebook’s pockets. The more organic videos Facebook users watch, the more high-priced video ads Facebook can slip into the feed. Now Facebook’s strategy around auto-play video, paying Live content producers and offering more creative tools is helping to propel its massive revenue growth.

Facebook revealed yesterday during its strong quarterly earnings call that in the last year, Facebook’s average revenue per user grew 49.1 percent in the U.S. and Canada — Facebook’s home market where advertiser concentration, buying power and fast mobile networks make video and video ads popular. That’s compared to 35 percent growth worldwide. The U.S. and Canada’s ARPU grew 9.1 percent this quarter, faster than any other market.

In terms of viewership, Facebook has declined to share a stat since it announced 8 billion daily 3-second-plus views a year ago. But viewership has likely been growing dramatically, because as Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings call:

“What is enabling video to become huge right now is that fundamentally the mobile networks are getting to a point where a large enough number of people around the world can have a good experience watching a video. If you go back a few years and you tried to load a video in News Feed it might have to buffer for 30 seconds before you watched it, which wasn’t a good enough experience for that to be the primary way that people shared. But now you can — it loads instantly. You can take a video and upload it without having to take five minutes to do that.”

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-1-46-57-pm

The rise in video viewership also comes thanks to sharper cameras, bigger screens to watch on, better video creation tools and professional and amateur creators getting the hang of the mobile format.

Facebook’s begun adding Live video filters and effects, augmented reality selfie masks, overlaid graphics and more, built off of its acquisition of AR lens startup MSQRD. These are closing the feature gap between Facebook and its competitor, Snapchat.

While many believed Snapchat would steal Facebook’s users, the percentage of Facebook’s monthly visitors who come back daily has actually increased slightly since the rise of Snapchat in 2014. Holding steady at two-thirds of its user base, this stickiness stat is impressive for a 12.5-year-old utility.

facebook-dau1

Continued user count growth, engagement and the ability to earn more per user via video ads has contributed to Facebook’s $7.01 billion in revenues this quarter, up 59 percent year-over-year, and its $2.35 billion in profit. Essentially, Facebook’s soft pivot to video worked.

Normalizing the video feed

Back in 2013, seeing video in the News Feed was rare. Uploading to Facebook was clumsy, and whether the clips were native or from YouTube, they took a click and some load time to start watching.

That’s why people were downright angry about the whole idea of Facebook planning auto-play video ads. The Wall Street Journal trumpeted “Facebook Moves Cautiously on Video Ads,” delaying their roll-out. And rightfully so. Without much organic video content, video ads would have stuck out like sore thumbs.


Woman holding domestic product emerging from television, portrait

Yet suddenly over the course of 2014, with the roll-out of auto-play and the rise of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video meme, organic videos became more and more prevalent in the feed. Meanwhile, advertisers started to get the hang of the format. They cut the intros and went straight to the action, adopting eye-catching visuals and subtitles to make up for the fact that they played silently unless tapped.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said yesterday that “P&G is creating mobile video ads designed to grab attention in the first few seconds. He shared the example of Tide. In a typical TV ad, they start with a clean dress or shirt, then show it getting stained, and then cleaned with Tide. On mobile, they need to communicate the product value quickly, so they start by showing Tide cleaning a stained garment.”

Masked by the surrounding organic content and designed for Facebook instead of TV, video ads became a normal part of the News Feed. That gave Facebook the freedom to show more of them, both in the feed and as suggested videos after you watched another, without people getting too pissed off.

FaceTV

Now Facebook is putting its connections with 4 million advertisers behind video. That includes big brands. As Sandberg said yesterday, “GM’s subsidiary Holden used Carousel Ads with video to maximize its sponsorship of Australia’s premier rugby tournament. Holden created a video series about their support of youth rugby. The ads generated an 8-point lift in brand favorability for the overall audience — and a 15-point lift amongst their target audience of women over 35.”

Facebook is also bringing small businesses to the video format. Sandberg explained that “For many small businesses, the shift to mobile means leveraging video for the very first time. Rather than needing a camera crew and production budget, anyone with a smartphone can shoot a video and share it on Facebook. In the past month alone over 3 million small businesses have posted a video on Facebook, including organic posts and ads.”

facebook-mtv

Compared to less vivid text and photo posts, Facebook can charge more for video ads without using up more space. CFO David Wehner said yesterday that “The average price per ad increased 6 percent in Q3.” Adtech firm AdRoll’s CMO Adam Berke agrees that video is pushing that increase. He tells TechCrunch, “Video ads garner a higher CPM than other ad formats, so that will certainly help drive revenue growth…We’re seeing interest in these types of video ad formats from our install base of over 25,000 businesses that never would’ve bought TV ads.”

Snapchat, Twitter and other services are also trying to cash in on video, where YouTube and Facebook have become dominant.

snapchat-video
 

Snapchat’s vertical layout allows for full-screen ads that can feel more impactful and convenient than Facebook’s typically landscape videos. People also typically watch Snapchat with the sound turned on so videos automatically play with audio, unlike on Facebook. People purposefully visit YouTube to watch a specific video, so they’re willing to sit through pre-roll ads. And Twitter is becoming a home for premium video streams like the NFL and presidential debates, which draw advertisers.

But Facebook has several advantages of its own. Its 1.79 billion user reach is appealing to TV advertisers seeking scale. Meanwhile, its success the last five years has financed a leading artificial intelligence research team that Facebook is applying to make sure videos and video ads reach the right people.

Zuckerberg noted yesterday that “There’s a whole thread of work that we’re doing on visual understanding. Right, so understanding photos, what’s in photos, what’s in videos, what people are doing. There’s some deeper AI research that we’re doing…that can apply to things like ranking for News Feed and Search and ads and all of our systems more broadly.”

Facebook gets paid when its video ads work, and AI will help them target the people they’re most likely to work on.

facebook-video-ads

When Facebook popularized the feed-based social network people browse to discover content, it became a home to colorful brand ads. As users first shifted to mobile, it attracted app install ads from developers desperate to rise out of the crowded app stores. Now as mobile data networks strengthen to support high-bandwidth content, Facebook has built a powerful distribution network that video advertisers want to join.

As Sandberg concluded yesterday, “When we think about video ads and what platform they run on, we really believe that over time the dollars will shift with eyeballs and our goal is to be the best dollar and the best minute people spend measured across channels.” The numbers say those dollars have arrived.

Source: techcrunch.com

Categorized in Market Research

According to a new study published today from the American Civil Liberties Union, major social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have recently provided user data access to Geofeedia, the location-based, social media surveillance system used by government offices, private security firms, marketers and others.

As TechCrunch previously reported, Geofeedia is one of a bevy of technologies used, secretly, by police to monitor activists and the contents of their discussions online.

The ACLU said in a blog post that both Twitter and Facebook (which owns Instagram) made some immediate changes in response to their study’s findings.

“Instagram cut off Geofeedia’s access to public user posts, and Facebook cut its access to a topic-based feed of public user posts,” the ACLU said.

The ACLU also noted in their post:

“Neither Facebook nor Instagram has a public policy specifically prohibiting developers from exploiting user data for surveillance purposes. Twitter does have a ‘longstanding rule’ prohibiting the sale of user data for surveillance as well as a Developer Policy that bans the use of Twitter data ‘to investigate, track or surveil Twitter users.’”

On Tuesday, following the publication of the ACLU findings, Twitter announced that it would “immediately suspend Geofeedia’s commercial access to Twitter data"

A Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch:

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“[Geofeedia] only had access to data that people chose to make public. Its access was subject to the limitations in our Platform Policy, which outlines what we expect from developers that receive data using the Facebook Platform. If a developer uses our APIs in a way that has not been authorized, we will take swift action to stop them and we will end our relationship altogether if necessary.”

It’s worth noting that Facebook’s platform policy generically limits developers.

For example, it says developers are not permitted to “sell, license, or purchase any data obtained” from Facebook or its services. And they can’t transfer data they get from Facebook, including “anonymous, aggregate, or derived data,” to any data brokers. Finally, developers are not permitted to put Facebook data into any search engines or directories without the social network’s explicit permission.

We have reached out to Geofeedia for comment but executives were not immediately available for an interview.

A public relations consultant for Geofeedia sent a lengthy statement, attributed to Geofeedia CEO Phil Harris, defending the company’s practices in general. An excerpt follows:

“Geofeedia is committed to the principles of personal privacy, transparency and both the letter and the spirit of the law when it comes to individual rights. Our platform provides some clients, including law enforcement officials across the country, with a critical tool in helping to ensure public safety…

Geofeedia has in place clear policies and guidelines to prevent the inappropriate use of our software; these include protections related to free speech and ensuring that end-users do not seek to inappropriately identify individuals based on race, ethnicity, religious, sexual orientation or political beliefs, among other factors.

That said, we understand, given the ever-changing nature of digital technology, that we must continue to work to build on these critical protections of civil rights.”

Update: A company statement from Geofeedia was added to this post after it was originally published. 

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Facebook wants you to lean back and watch its News Feed videos on your television with a new feature that lets you stream clips via Apple TV, AirPlay devices, Google Chromecast, and Google Cast devices. The move could help Facebook generate more video ad revenue, and increase usage time by giving people the richest possible viewing experience while at home.

The feature is now available on iOS and will come to Android soon. To use it, just find a video in the feed on your phone or desktop, tap the TV button in the top right, and then select the device you want to stream through.

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You can keep scrolling through the feed and using Facebook while the video continues to stream. That allows Facebook to become both the first and second screen, a strategy Periscope is pursuing differently by allowing professional content broadcasts to be piped into Periscope and Twitter via its new Producer feature.

 

Facebook started testing streaming to televisions from Android back in May and iOS in August. The company actually added a way to cast via AirPlay from its iPad app back in 2011, so it’s strange that it’s taken this long to come to web and mobile.

 

Competitors like YouTube and Periscope already have ways to stream onto televisions, and today’s launch could make sure Facebook doesn’t fall behind. YouTube lets you create a queue of videos on the fly to watch sequentially, which seems like a sensible next feature for Facebook to add.

The goal for Facebook is always ubiquity, so it’s embracing as many viewing platforms as possible. While its most popular surface and core money maker might remain mobile for a long time, VR and TVs could give Facebook an even bigger presence in our lives.

Source : techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

In 2015, feminist writer Clementine Ford was subjected to a surge of online abuse, dubbed a "whore" and a "bitch who should kill herself." Trolls said she needed to die, to be "shot in the face" and gang-raped. What was her crime? She had reported a comment from an employee of Meriton Apartments calling her a "slut" on Facebook, and as a consequence he was fired.

 

That same year, Germany took a stand on anti-refugee Facebook hate speech, and top publications began to silence the haters by removing the comments sections beneath their articles. The BBC concluded that 2015 was "the year angry won the internet." As online hate speech spirals out of control, in contrast, 2016 could well be the year the internet fought back.

The biggest names in tech — Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft — have vowed to clean up community hate speech in less than 24 hours of it appearing in accordance with a new EU code of conduct. Some say this is censorship, but there is real danger attached to the facilitation of online trolling, and recent terrorist activities have shone a spotlight on this. So, what exactly does Facebook have on its hands, and how can it begin the mammoth task of cleaning this up?

The supposed demise of the comments section
A 2014 survey conducted by the Associated Press revealed that 70 percent of online publishers valued the comments sections that follow articles online. These tools ignite conversion; they allow for an exchange of ideas and deeper engagement, and they drive increased traffic to media sites.

Continued abuse of this privilege from those acting under the guise of anonymity has been seen in the torrent of racist or xenophobic language and personal attacks. This hate speech may be directed at writers, subjects or other members of the community.

 

U.K. news publication The Guardian analyzed more than 70 million comments from the last decade. It highlighted the positives online comments can provide: Providing instant feedback, "asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads," a tool that serves to "enrich the Guardian’s journalism." However, the "dark side of comments" revealed a huge amount of abuse, with 1.4 million comments blocked. Further exploration of this hate speech revealed that eight of the 10 most-abused writers were women, and the other two were black, despite these writers forming a minority of the editorial staff.

Chicago Sun Times managing editor Craig Newman described the issue as "a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content," explaining his decision to temporarily remove the comments section from the publication.

Many others have followed suit, choosing to kill the comments in order to avoid moderating the growing mass of hate speech. Top publications that have rejected comments include Reuters, Recode, The Week, Bloomberg, The Verge, The Daily Dot, The Daily Beast and Vice’s Motherboard, to name just a few.

Reuters’ executive editor told readers that the news company was moving the discussion to social media: "Those communities offer vibrant conversation and, importantly, are self-policed by participants to keep on the fringes those who would abuse the privilege of commenting."

Social media giants battle hate speech
Unfortunately, any dreams of a self-moderated social media community free of online trolls, were not to be. On the contrary, these forums have become a breeding ground for racial slurs, misogynistic language and personal attacks.

Twitter sees an average of 480,000 racist tweets a month (compared to 10,000 only three years ago). "We suck at dealing with abuse," said Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo. Once again, however, Facebook leads the race, with a whopping 1 million user violation reports every day. So what type of threatening behavior are we seeing, and how is this connected to the news?

 

My company, BrandBastion, conducted a study measuring the amount and type of social media threats in 40,000 comments, from 10 of the most engaged news publishers on Facebook: ABC News, CBS News, Sky News, NBC News, CNN, Time, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

We found that one in 14 comments contained a social media threat. Some 31 percent of these threats were identified as extremely aggressive "defamatory language, profanity and online bullying." A further 20 percent were classified as "hate speech," attacking a person or group based on specific attributes.

When exploring the topics that generated the largest proportion of hate speech, we found articles around the elections incited the most anger. Highly offensive attacks on Melania Trump, calling her "ugly," "fake" and "nasty" rapidly escalated to graphically lewd comments and racial battles between commenters. Overall, the hate speech we discovered focused on nationality (33 percent), religion (31 percent), race (18 percent), sexual orientation (9 percent), gender (6 percent) and political views (4 percent).

As the elections heat up, sites like Facebook are going to have their hands full monitoring and controlling this spread of offensive commenting. With his latest pledge to quash the hatred, all eyes are on Mark Zuckerberg to manage this torrent of abusive behavior.

Community solutions to counter the offensive
Where status updates and selfies once dominated, Facebook today has become a portal for the news. According to traffic-analytics service Parse.ly, social media drives 43 percent of traffic to media sites. Facebook is unquestionably the largest source and has overtaken Google referral traffic, which accounts for just 38 percent.

What’s more, with advanced tools such as Facebook’s Instant Articles — now officially rolled out to all publishers — article consumption is likely to stay within the Facebook domain. This means Facebook has a huge power over how we consume the news and its connected comments, making its next steps all the more crucial.

Gigaom writer Mathew Ingram claims the move of news discussion onto sites like Facebook knowingly hands off the responsibility of moderating content to social media platforms. But it also means digital publications pass up on the "value of engagement" that comments bring.

 

So how does the social networking Goliath intend to remove all hate speech within 24 hours, in line with the latest EU code of conduct? The IT companies have all agreed to put in place notification processes, reviewing these against community guidelines removing or disabling content within 24 hours. They have pledged to educate users, training staff and sharing procedural information with authorities and intensifying cooperation between the giants of tech.

This year Facebook has been involved with a number of initiatives, backing a campaign against misogyny and launching the Online Civil Courage Initiative in January to empower users to fight extremist abuse.

Some media platforms rely wholly on user moderation, self-censorship or a members-only commenting model. After feminist site Jezebel suffered an epidemic of rape GIFs filling the comments section, it brought back the "pending comment system," meaning only comments from approved commenters are visible; all others go into a pending queue, which only shows up if readers choose to allow it.

Former Reddit product executive Dan McComas cofounded Imzy, a social platform set on eliminating hate speech by only allowing registered members to comment in the forums. SolidOpinion.com has another strategy, limiting commenting ability only to paying members. This approach has attracted customers such as Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, controversially putting a price on freedom of speech. Another startup, Civil Comments, works on the basis that users rate randomly chosen comments to classify acceptable material and flag offensive content.

Artificial intelligence to aid moderation
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has called on the tech community to create "spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment," to counter online terrorism. Applying this intelligence to article comments would be a natural progression of this. The Guardian recently reported tactics to "weed out the trolls," concluding that moderation is necessary, through human decisions backed by "smart tools." However, this all requires an internationally agreed-upon definition of hate speech and a system that is able to decipher context and also links to external sites.

 

Facebook has already turned to the use of AI to report offensive visual content. Currently this technology reports more offensive photos than humans on the network pick-up. Last year, Twitter followed this example, investing in visual intelligence startup MadBits to identify and flag harmful images.

The Huffington Post uses a machine learning algorithm called JuLiA — "Just a Linguistic Algorithm" — to sort through comments, identifying abusive language to aid moderators in providing a healthy interaction. Others have turned to third-party technologies that can customize tools based on media sites’ preferences and needs, their target audiences and geographical locations and laws. These steps are an alternative to censorship by removing comments entirely, instead protecting the facilities that enable others to speak more freely.

Will more news sites bring back the comments? This all depends on how successfully Facebook and co. rid them of hatred. As the trolls become the internet norm, the media world is pulling out the big guns to overthrow them, arming AI with contextual understanding and advanced intelligence and empowering communities to fight back.

Sources:  http://www.recode.net/2016/7/11/12123318/facebook-media-trolls-hate-speech-online-abuse-comments

 

 

 

 

 

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Two years ago, Messenger, a photo and text messaging service, appeared to be almost an afterthought at Facebook, the social networking giant.

Messenger often took a back seat to the limelight enjoyed by WhatsApp, the messaging app that Facebook had bought for $US19 billion. And Messenger's capabilities were so limited that you could not send friends an animated GIF, as you could with many other messaging services.

But since mid-2014, Facebook has been playing a furious game of catch-up with Messenger. That June, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, hired a PayPal executive, David Marcus, to take over Messenger and build it into a world-class competitor. The company has added a string of features to the service, including letting people send money to friends through the app, pull up a voice or video call, or order a private car from inside the app.

Over the weekend, Facebook said it will also begin testing "secret conversations" inside Messenger, a feature that offers end-to-end encryption on some messages to be read only on the two mobile devices that users are communicating with. While it stops short of the full encryption that other messaging services like WhatsApp have adopted, it gives Messenger a heightened mode of security that Facebook hopes will attract global audiences to download the app.

 

"The fact that we have 1.65 billion people on Facebook already makes Messenger the best live, self-updating address book in the world," Marcus said in an interview. "Because of the scale of our network, I feel like we really have a shot at this."

The new security feature highlights Facebook's ambitions for Messenger, which now sees more than 900 million regular monthly users, up from 200 million in early 2014. Roughly half of all American smartphone owners use the Messenger app, according to industry estimates, and Facebook is aiming to capture greater numbers in international markets. Most of Messenger's success has been in English-speaking areas like North America and much of Europe, the company said, as well as Australia and large parts of Southeast Asia.

The moves put Facebook Messenger increasingly into competition with messaging apps that have risen to prominence in their particular regions or countries. WeChat, the mobile messaging app owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent, dominates China. Kakao, another app, is widely used throughout South Korea, while the Line smartphone app is popular in Japan.

"Just look at how successful WeChat has become for Tencent," said Debra Aho Williamson, an internet analyst with eMarketer. "That's the kind of ubiquity Facebook wants to achieve with Messenger."

And when combined with WhatsApp, which has more than 1 billion users, Facebook has now become a juggernaut in messaging worldwide. While WhatsApp and Messenger are run separately, both provide a window into how people communicate and their habits in payments, digital entertainment and more.

Facebook started Messenger in 2011. The app emulated some of the capabilities that could be done within Facebook's social network, where people could press a message button to exchange communications with one another. That message feature within the main social networking app was disabled in April 2014, pushing people to turn to Messenger. Two months later, Zuckerberg hired Marcus to run Messenger.

Marcus soon quickened the pace of product releases at Messenger, adding peer-to-peer money transfers, the ability to hire an Uber car through the app and support for GIFs. By late 2015, Messenger had more than 700 million monthly regular users.

Adding more encryption with secret conversations, which Facebook plans to roll out widely by the end of the summer, is aimed at coaxing people to use the service for more communication. Someone could set a message to disappear after a period of time, which may make them more willing to exchange personal information with a company's customer service representative on Messenger. People have to opt in to use secret conversations, the company said.

To keep Messenger's momentum going, Marcus said he expected the fast pace of product releases for the app to continue.

"To make Messenger your preferred and primary communication platform, we have to build capabilities different from anyone else," he said.

Source:  http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/facebook-to-add-encrypted-secret-conversations-to-messenger-app-20160711-gq2ybk.html

 

 

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Facebook Messenger is launching new security features to better protect user messages from prying eyes (like those of, say, the FBI).

The company announced Friday that it built a new feature inside Messenger called “secret” messages, or private conversations that are end-to-end encrypted. These messages will be stored only on the sender’s and recipient’s devices, not on Facebook’s servers like regular Messenger messages.

Facebook is also rolling out what amounts to a self-destruct timer for these messages, which means you can set them to disappear automatically after a set period of time (from five seconds to 24 hours).

Messenger is the latest in a string of private messaging services to bust out some kind of end-to-end encryption in the last six months. Others include Viber, which launched end-to-end encryption in April, and Facebook’s other messaging app, WhatsApp.

The timing of all this doesn’t feel coincidental. The move comes just a few months after government agencies and tech companies battled over user privacy. Government agencies like the FBI don’t like end-to-end encryption because it provides a security risk when it’s used by criminals. Users (and tech companies), on the other hand, seem to love the idea, as they like to know their private messages are actually private.

Facebook says that you’ll have to turn on a secret chat manually for it to work, because Messenger is cross-device (meaning people can carry their conversations from their phones to their laptops to their tablets). Since messages that are end-to-end encrypted only live on the devices they are delivered to, a secret chat on your smartphone won’t be accessible via Messenger on your tablet, for example.

Secret messages will roll out to a limited test group to start, but Facebook “fully expects this to be available to everyone by end of the summer,” a spokesperson said.

Source:  http://www.recode.net/2016/7/8/12126764/facebook-messenger-encryption-disappearing-messages-security-update

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