Tag: social media (page 1 of 12)

Brand-safe influencers and the blurring of reality

Earlier this week, in a soon-to-be released episode of the Tao of WAO podcast, we were talking about the benefits and pitfalls of NGOs like Greenpeace partnering with influencers. The upside? Engaging with communities that would otherwise be hard-to-reach. The downside? Influencers can be unpredictable.

It’s somewhat inevitable, therefore, that “brand-safe” fictional influencers would emerge. As detailed in this article, not only are teams of writers creating metaverses in which several characters exist, but they’re using machine learning to allow fans/followers to “interact”.

The boundary between the real and fictional is only going to get more blurred.

FourFront is part of a larger wave of tech startups devoted to, as aspiring Zuckerbergs like to say, building the metaverse, which can loosely be defined as “the internet” but is more specifically the interconnected, augmented reality virtual space that real people share. It’s an undoubtedly intriguing concept for people with a stake in the future of technology and entertainment, which is to say, the entirety of culture. It’s also a bit of an ethical minefield: Isn’t the internet already full of enough real-seeming content that is a) not real and b) ultimately an effort to make money? Are the characters exploiting the sympathies of well-meaning or media illiterate audiences? Maybe!

On the other hand, there’s something sort of darkly refreshing about an influencer “openly” being created by a room of professional writers whose job is to create the most likable and interesting social media users possible. Influencers already have to walk the delicate line between aspirational and inauthentic, to attract new followers without alienating existing fans, to use their voice for change while remaining “brand-safe.” The job has always been a performance; it’s just that now that performance can be convincingly replicated by a team of writers and a willing actor.

Source: What’s the deal with fictional influencers? | Vox

Twitter acknowledges right-wing bias in its algorithmic feed

I mentioned on Twitter last week how I noticed that I keep getting recommended stories about Nigel Farage and from outlets on the political right wing like The Telegraph.

Lo and behold, Twitter has published findings from its own investigation which found that its algorithms actively promote right wing accounts and news sources. Now I hope it does something about it.

Twitter logo

What did we find?

— Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline.

— Group effects did not translate to individual effects. In other words, since party affiliation or ideology is not a factor our systems consider when recommending content, two individuals in the same political party would not necessarily see the same amplification.

— In six out of seven countries — all but Germany — Tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group.

— Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organizations listed above, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets. However, as highlighted in the paper, these third-party ratings make their own, independent classifications and as such the results of analysis may vary depending on which source is used.

Source: Examining algorithmic amplification of political content on Twitter | Twitter blog

Facebook isn’t just anti-competitive, it’s anti-consumer

I can’t quite understand why people still use Facebook’s services, other than vendor lock-in?

The tool I created, a browser extension called Unfollow Everything, allowed users to delete their News Feed by unfollowing their friends, groups, and pages. The News Feed, as users of Facebook know, is that never-ending page that greets you when you log in. It’s the central hub of Facebook. It’s also a major source of revenue. As a Facebook whistleblower observed on 60 Minutes on Sunday, time spent on the platform translates to ads viewed and clicked on, which in turn translates to billions of dollars for Facebook. The News Feed is the thing that keeps people glued to the platform for hours on end, often on a daily basis; without it, time spent on the network would drop considerably.

[…]

Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.

Source: Facebook banned me for life because I created the tool Unfollow Everything | Slate