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Talk Social: 19 December 2017

Fighting engagement bait on Facebook

It comes as little surprise that people have fed back to Facebook saying they despise spammy posts that encourage them to interact with likes, shares, comments and other actions.

This tactic, known as ‘engagement bait,’ takes advantage of the News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. In retaliation, Facebook has started to demote individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.

To help foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in the News Feed.

Additionally, over the coming weeks, Facebook will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. Publishers will have the time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts.

Posts that ask people for help or advice, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause or asking for travel tips, will not be impacted by this update.

The posts that will be demoted include those that lack authenticity, incorporate clickbait headlines or use links to low quality web pages to reduce the spread of misleading content and encourage natural interactions.

Publishers and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics should expect their reach on these posts to decrease. Meanwhile, Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach. Page Admins should focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not employ engagement bait tactics.

Facebook adds 2,000 royalty free tracks for video creators

Facebook is set to launch a new listing of thousands of audio and music tracks, called Sound Collection, that creators can use in their videos without fear of infringing copyright.

This comes after The New York Times reported that the platform has been in negotiations to enable users to include Top 40 songs in their videos since 2015. They haven’t reached an agreement on that front yet because the songs listed in Sound Collection are not by artists featured on mainstream radio.

The tracks comprise of generic background music, coming in handy for publishers wishing to add an extra element to their creations. TechCrunch has since reported that the initial tracks could be the tip of the iceberg, especially if Facebook can find a way to include well-known musicians.

Facebook is also introducing a new community to encourage users to create 360 videos, heralded as being the future of the platform. The page includes a range of resources to assist in the process, as well as connection to other creators and information on 360 cameras.

Facebook says that more than one million 360 videos have already been published to the platform, the next crucial stage being VR. The addition of better video tools will also enable the Facebook to improve its Watch platform, making it more of a rival to YouTube.

Don’t like someone on FB? Snooze them

Facebook has launched a new feature that gives users increased control over what they see in their News Feed. A Snooze button, available in the top right dropdown menu on a post, will mute content from a person, Page or Group for 30 days without having to commit to unfollowing or unfriending someone.

This is perfect for those fed up of political rants, excessive baby photos, reminders of what an ex is up to and chatty friends whose updates can be prone to clogging up feeds. For Pages and Groups, the Snooze button may help them to hold onto less active users who might otherwise have left.

Snooze joins a series of other controls for News Feed that include Unfollow, Hide, Report and See First, which allow users to customise the content they see. Some argue that this personalisation by way of algorithms will mean that users exist in a virtual bubble in which everyone shares the same interests as they do. This could result in an increased intolerance of and subsequent distancing from those who think differently. The benefit of Snooze is that it’s forced cooldown period could stop people from straight up unfriending people with opposing viewpoints, whether political, cultural, religious or otherwise.

When the Snooze period is about to end, the user will receive a notification and its mute function can be reversed at any point.

AR for all at Snapchat

Snapchat is opening up so that outside developers can help it to offer AR experiences beyond those designed in-house. The Lens Studio tool for desktops means that anyone can create World Lenses that place interactive 3D objects in photos and videos.

Brands, publishers and developers will have to promote their own Community Lenses by marketing QR Snapcodes that users can use to unlock an AR effect for 24 hours. This is because Snapchat won’t display Lenses in its camera unless businesses pay a partner creative agency to build a special effect and then buy Sponsored Lens ads from Snap.

The launch will help Snapchat to compete with Facebook’s new Camera Effects AR platform. For now it may only offer Lenses and not selfie masks but more AR effects should boost sharing at a time when Snapchat user growth has slowed as Instagram has increased

Snap currently sees one-third of its 178 million daily users play with its 3,000 Lenses each day for an average of three minutes and hopes that the new function will allow people to come back everyday and discover a new experience.

In addition, by removing the in-house AR design team as a bottleneck fr agency partnerships, Snap could scale up AR advertising so it hits its quarterly revenue target next time round. The big question is whether developers see an audience scale that is worth investing in and whether Snap provides enough unpaid access to it.

As of now, anyone can download the Lens Studio desktop app for Mac or Windows and discover a stripped down version of what the in-house team uses. Its simple interface is aimed at novice users through to experienced animators to make image overlays or completely new characters.

Developers receive a Snapcode that’s valid for one year to share their creation on social media, websites and print materials as long as they’re moderated and don’t depict violence, weapons, nudity or profanity, to name a few. Problematic Lenses will be able to be reported to a moderation team.

Overall the first crop of AR experiences look to be on-brand and by opening the platform in this way, Snap can let developers trial and error them, while refreshing the platform in its entirety.

New trending skills feature on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is rolling out a new tool which will recommend skills that people should consider adding to their profile based on ‘trending skills’ among others with the same job title or history.

A monthly notification will provide insights into in-demand skills and suggest adding it to profiles to improve a person’s chances of recruiters finding them on the platform. In fact, those with five or more skills on their profile are discovered up to 27 times more in searches by recruiters.

In addition to the notification, it’s possible to click on the skill to learn more about it, including which companies are hiring based on that ability. There will also be links to LinkedIn Learning courses to improve knowledge on that particular element.

The move is all part of LinkedIn’s efforts to capitalise on its vast professional dataset, which is unmatched by any other organisation. LinkedIn, which now has 530 million members, has access to a wide range of career insights, including development and how long people stay in each job.

That data can be used to construct very detailed overviews of a person’s possible career path. In 2014, LinkedIn was already using data insights to build probable career progression maps for certain users.

Essentially, LinkedIn could take a listing of interests and passions, along with academic results, and provide a likely career pathway, which could project where a person will go to next and be most happy. This might be next level – the offering not quite there yet – but there’s little doubt that LinkedIn’s data resources could provide greater knowledge insights, enabling users to make better career decisions.

With Microsoft now behind it, LinkedIn’s personalised approach makes it an essential career platform for all job seekers and students.

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