How Social Platforms Are Responding To The Crisis In Ukraine

Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has caused global angst, putting the military super powers of the world at odds once again, and potentially forcing an intervention that could lead to one of the biggest conflicts in decades.

And unlike similar incidents in times past, this battle is playing out in the age of social media, with memes, misinformation campaigns and scams all adding to the growing maelstrom of information, which can confuse, contort and cloud what’s actually happening in the eastern European region.

Given this, and the role that social media now plays in the dissemination of information, the platforms need to work fast to limit any misuse of their networks for questionable purpose, and many have already enacted plans to mitigate certain elements of misuse and misinformation.

Here’s a look at what’s been announced thus far from the major social apps.

Meta

Facebook is at the center of the social media information flow within the conflict zone, with around 70 million users in Russia, and 24 million in Ukraine, approximately half of the total population of each respective nation.

Late last week, the Russian Government announced that it would restrict access to Facebook due to Meta’s refusal to remove misinformation warning labels on posts from state-affiliated media. Now, Meta has taken that action a step further, by also prohibiting ads from Russian state media, and demonetizing these accounts, severely limiting the capacity for Russian authorities to use Facebook as an information vector.

Russia, of course, does have its own social media platforms and messaging tools, so there are other ways for the Kremlin to communicate their activities and motivations to Russian citizens. But Meta has taken a strong stance, while it’s also restricted access to many accounts within Ukraine, including those belonging to Russian state media organizations.

In addition to this, Meta has also established a special operations center, staffed by native Russian and Ukrainian speakers, to monitor for harmful content trends, while it’s also added new warning labels when users go to share war-related images that its systems detect are over one year old.

Meta’s also outlined a range of safety features for users in Ukraine, “including the ability for people to lock their Facebook profile, removing the ability to view and search friends lists, and additional tools on Messenger”.

Thus far, Meta seems to be staying ahead of major misinformation trends in the conflict, though the amount of posts from spammers and scammers seeking to capitalize on the situation for engagement is significant.

UPDATE (2/28): Meta has also announced that it will restrict access to content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets RT and Sputnik in response to requests from EU officials.

YouTube

At the request of the Ukrainian Government, Google-owned YouTube has announced that it’s restricting access to Russian state-owned media outlets for users in Ukraine, while it’s also suspending monetization for several Russian channels.

YouTube’s also removing Russian state-owned channels from recommendations, and limiting the reach of their uploads across the platform.

As per YouTube (via The Wall Street Journal):

“As always, our teams are continuing to monitor closely for news developments, including evaluating what any new sanctions and export controls may mean for YouTube.”

In response, Russia’s state communications regulator has demanded that access to Russian media’s YouTube channels be restored on Ukrainian territory.

The situation is similar to Facebook, which could eventually see YouTube also face restrictions within Russia in response.

Twitter

As it looks to help ensure optimal flow of information for users within the impacted region, Twitter has announced a temporary ban on all ads in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it”.

Twitter banned political ads, including those from state-affiliated media, back in 2019, so it’s already ahead of the curve in this respect. The ban on all ads will help to clarify information flow via tweets, while Twitter additionally notes that it’s proactively reviewing Tweets to detect platform manipulation, and taking enforcement action against synthetic and manipulated media that presents a false or misleading depiction of what’s happening.

UPDATE (2/28): Twitter is also adding labels to Tweets that share links to Russian state-affiliated media websites, while it’s also reducing the circulation of this content by removing it from recommendations, downranking it in algorithm-defined timelines and more.

TikTok

A key platform to watch right now is TikTok, with reports that Russian-affiliated groups are using the app to spread ‘orchestrated disinformation’, while thousands of related videos are being uploaded to the platform, many fake, causing significant headaches for TikTok’s moderation teams.

The introduction of monetization incentives for popular clips has also added new motivation for bad actors to create fake streams and broadcasts in the app, in a bid to lure viewers, while on the other side, reports have also suggested that Ukrainian TikTok users are using the app to communicate Russian troop locations to Ukrainian fighters.

Thus far, TikTok has made no official comment on the conflict, nor how its platform is being used. And given that TikTok is owned by China-based Bytedance, and China has backed Russia’s action in the region (to some degree), it may not take a firm stance, officially.

But already, some are labeling this the ‘TikTok War’ given the way the platform is being used, which could force TikTok to take more definitive action, and it’ll be interesting to see if and how it does so in line with its links back to the CCP.

UPDATE (2/28): TikTok has now geo-blocked content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets for users in the EU. Those outside the EU can still access this content.

The conflict is a significant concern for all of the world, but most obviously for the Ukrainian people, and our thoughts are with those directly impacted by the conflict, and their families.

Hopefully, a peaceful resolution is still a possibility.

By: Content and Social Media Manager

Source: How Social Platforms Are Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine | Social Media Today

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Big Tech Privacy Moves Spur Companies to Amass Customer Data

Marketers are staging sweepstakes, quizzes and events to gather people’s personal information and build detailed profiles. New privacy protections put in place by tech giants and governments are threatening the flow of user data that companies rely on to target consumers with online ads.

As a result, companies are taking matters into their own hands. Across nearly every sector, from brewers to fast-food chains to makers of consumer products, marketers are rushing to collect their own information on consumers, seeking to build millions of detailed customer profiles.

Gathering such data has long been a priority, but there is newfound urgency. Until now, most advertisers have depended heavily on data from business partners, including tech giants and ad-technology firms, to determine how to focus their ads. But all of the traditional tactics are under assault.

Apple Inc. rolled out a change on its devices this year that restricts how users can be tracked. Google is planning a similar push for its popular Chrome browser. New privacy laws in California and Europe are adding to the squeeze on data.

So brands are deploying an array of tactics to persuade users to surrender data to the brand itself—loyalty programs, sweepstakes, newsletters, quizzes, polls and QR codes, those pixelated black-and-white squares that have become ubiquitous during the pandemic.

Avocados From Mexico, a nonprofit marketing organization that represents avocado growers and packers, is encouraging people to submit grocery receipts to earn points exchangeable for avocado-themed sportswear. It is also conducting a contest for the chance to win a truck. To enter, consumers scan QR codes on in-store displays and enter their name, birthday, email and phone number.

“We have a limited window to figure this out, and everybody’s scrambling” to do so, said Ivonne Kinser, vice president of marketing for the avocado group. It has managed to capture roughly 50 million device IDs—the numbers associated with mobile devices—and is working to link them to names and email addresses. The group plans to use the customer information for ad targeting and to make its ads more relevant to its customers.

Building detailed profiles of customers can be costly, since it requires sophisticated software and data science expertise. “We can do a little bit at a time, but it will take years,” Ms. Kinser said. Consumer packaged-goods companies, in particular, will likely struggle to get meaningful quantities of data, since many don’t sell directly to their customers.

No matter how successful brands are in these efforts, they will have a minuscule amount of user data compared with giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon.com Inc. Marketers will still spend huge sums to advertise on those platforms for the foreseeable future. But by having their own robust databases, companies could make their online ad campaigns less costly and more effective.

Miller High Life ran an online contest this summer to give away a branded patio set. The lucky winner got a bar, stools and neon signs. The company’s prize was the personal details of almost 40,000 people who signed up, including emails, birthdays and phone numbers. The reason it asks for birthdays is to validate ages, since it’s an alcohol brand.

Molson Coors Beverage Co., Miller’s parent company, said as more people opt out of being tracked by apps, having more customer data can help keep its ad costs from rising when it buys digital ads across social media channels and from online publishers using automated ad-buying systems.

Molson has conducted more than 300 data-collection efforts this year, including sweepstakes and contests at bars around the country. Many customers signing up in the contests agree to let the brewer store their information and use it for marketing purposes.

“You could think it’s a bad thing, like, we’re trying to access people’s information, but people actually have no problem sharing that information because they’re getting a benefit out of it as well,” said Sofia Colucci, global vice president of marketing for the Miller family of brands.

The Milwaukee-based brewer currently has more than a million customer profiles and says it is hoping to increase that to at least 13 million by 2025. Apple’s new privacy policy, introduced in April, requires apps to ask users if they want to be tracked. According to Flurry, a mobile-app analytics provider, U.S. users opt into tracking only about 18% of the times they encounter the Apple privacy prompt.

The upshot is that major apps, including Facebook, will have less data over time to help brands target ads on their platforms. Apple declined to comment. Reaching desirable audiences on Facebook is already getting more expensive for e-commerce brands. The company, whose parent is now known as Meta Platforms Inc., said Apple’s change hurt its sales growth in the most recent quarter. Meta said it is working on technology to mitigate the issues.

Buying and targeting online ads has long been helped by cookies, tiny files stored in a browser that carry information about a person’s online behavior. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., has said that by late 2023 it plans to pull the plug on third-party cookies within Chrome, in the interest of user privacy.

Google recently tested a new form of ad targeting that would let marketers direct their ads at large cohorts, such as people interested in travel. In some cases, Google will let marketers use their own customer data to target individuals on Google properties such as YouTube—another move that makes it important for companies to collect their own data.

Developing strong relationships with customers, always critical for marketers, “becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world,” David Temkin, Google’s director of product management for ads privacy and trust, said in a written statement.

California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation have both made it more difficult for ad-tech firms and data brokers to collect information that brands can use, helping put the onus on companies to gather data themselves.

Companies aren’t after just a few personal details. Many aim to log most of the interactions they have with customers, to flesh out what is called a “golden record.” Such a high-quality customer record might include dozens, even hundreds, of data points, including the store locations people visit, the items they typically buy, how much they spend and what they do on the company’s website.

This kind of information doesn’t just help with online-ad targeting but also lets brands personalize other parts of their marketing, from the offers they send people to which products are displayed to customers online.

PepsiCo Inc., which began to get more serious about data collection several years ago, already has roughly 75 million customer records and is looking to double that in two years. The data pile has helped the snack and beverage giant save tens of millions of dollars, said Shyam Venugopal, senior vice president of global media and commercial capabilities.

Buying ads on platforms such as Facebook and Snap Inc. is more expensive if marketers use those companies’ data, several marketing executives said. In North America, most of PepsiCo’s online ad targeting now uses its own customer data, so the costs are lower, according to Mr. Venugopal. Its campaigns are also more effective at reaching the right audiences, he said.

Partly to expand its cache of data, PepsiCo has launched an online store for its Mountain Dew Game Fuel brand aimed at gamers. About 35,000 people registered in the first six months and provided some personal information, Mr. Venugopal said.

Companies in retail, travel and hospitality are well positioned to harvest data because they deal directly with consumers. Many such companies have long invested in loyalty programs that offer perks such as fare discounts or hotel-room upgrades, and have already built customer databases for personalizing marketing.

Dining chain Chili’s Grill & Bar has about nine million active loyalty members, and its records contain about 50 different bits of information, including how many times a person ordered certain foods such as burgers, fajitas, ribs or a kids meal, the company said. Chili’s also has some emails, phone numbers and purchase history for 50 million customers who aren’t active loyalty members, which it can use for ad targeting.

In an example of how the data help to tailor messages, ads sent to someone who frequently orders appetizers might say, “Come in for a free app,” said Michael Breed, senior vice president of marketing at Chili’s, which is owned by Brinker International Inc. He credits the chain’s stash of customer data for helping avoid major fallout from the policy change Apple made.

Some retailers that saw a surge in online sales early in the pandemic supercharged their data collection. “It allowed companies in a very natural way to know a lot more about you,” said Chris Chapo, former vice president of advanced analytics for Amperity, a marketing technology firm.

In 2020, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. added 8.5 million new loyalty-program members, or athletes, as it calls them. The company has more than 20 million loyalty members.

Dick’s loyalty-member profiles can include up to 325 data points and customer traits. These include the purchases members make, whether they have children, what draws their attention on the website, how much they have spent with Dick’s over 12 months and what is their “lifetime value”—an estimate of how much they will eventually spend with the company.

Molson began ratcheting up its efforts in reaction to the European privacy laws. A pivotal moment came in 2019, when Brad Feinberg, vice president of media and consumer engagement for North America, paid a visit to a bar in Madison, Wis., where a field marketing manager was hosting a contest. Patrons put their names in a fish bowl for the chance to win two tickets to a football game.

Mr. Feinberg asked the marketing manager what he did with the bowl of names after the contest. “I throw them in the garbage,” the manager replied, according to Mr. Feinberg.

He realized how much data Molson was failing to capture, given hundreds of such events it held weekly. He eventually persuaded the company to invest in data collection and set data goals for each of its 80 brands. Molson said its customer-records collection has helped it save more than $300,000 this year on data fees when buying online ads.

By: Suzanne Vranica

Source: Big Tech Privacy Moves Spur Companies to Amass Customer Data – WSJ

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4 Budgeting Tips Every Real Estate Agent Should Follow

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Whether you’re just starting out in real estate (congratulations!) or making the switch from another career, there’s a lot of excitement in store for you. You’re in a field with absolutely no financial ceiling and unlimited earning potential—but there are also many expenses that you’ll have to prepare for. I get asked a lot about how to set a budget, so I’ve put together a plan to guide you. Here are the four important expense categories to prepare for, and exactly how to prioritize them.

1. Taxes

From your very first commission check, start saving for taxes. This isn’t like your last job when you had a W-2 and taxes were already taken out of your paychecks—you are solely responsible for saving for and calculating what you owe the government each quarter. If you don’t have enough money for your taxes, the IRS won’t care that you spent it on shoes. Talk to your accountant and figure out an amount to use from every paycheck for your taxes. Transfer that money from your checking to savings account each month—and keep it there.

2. Living Expenses

With the money left over after you transfer over your tax budget, calculate what you need for your monthly living expenses. Figure out what you need for food, rent, transportation, and other essentials. For those just starting out, times might be a bit lean—my debit card was once declined when I tried to buy a yogurt—but it will get better. Get a roommate, cancel cable, cook at home, and do what you must to keep expenses low while you’re getting started.

3. Business Expenses

After your taxes and living expenses are accounted for, you’ll have to pay some business fees. Typically, that includes professional dues, state license fees, and required courses. It’s also very important to stay on top of news, stocks, and market trends, so I recommend adding a subscription to The Real Deal, The New York Times, or another news outlet to your budget. You never know what questions your clients will have, and chances are they’re reading up on the market and current events—so you need to be prepared with answers.

4. Marketing

Next, it’s time to spend money on marketing in order to grow your business. That includes things like social media ads, print and digital ads, signage, and events—as a real estate agent, you front the money for all of it. Down the road, when you start getting really busy, you’ll add someone else to your team; At that point, budget for a small base salary for that assistant, plus a percentage of commissions that you’ll give to him or her.

5. Investing

If you have anything left over after all of that (and if you’re just starting out in a high-cost city, you may not!) invest it. Aim to put 10 percent of your income away in a retirement fund. You can also use it to invest in cryptocurrency or stocks, or to buy some real estate of your own.

These budget tips will help you prioritize your expenses, prepare for the future, and ensure nothing catches you off-guard. Have more questions? Tweet them to me @RyanSerhant.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Ryan is an American real estate mogul, entrepreneur, CEO, best-selling author, and reality star. He is best known as the star of Bravo’s two-time

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More Contents:

“Fundrise Adds Big Name Investors Including Ratner, Elghanayan & Guggenheim: Funding Now at $38 Million”. 26 September 2014.

 “Renren-Backed Fundrise Bulks up in Real Estate Crowdfunding Sector”

 “Investing in Foreclosures For Beginners”. Distressed Real Estate Institute. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2012-12-31.

“Foreclosure causes heartache for renters”. Inman News. Retrieved 2008-02-24.

 “Housing Slowdown Unnerves the Fix-and-Flip Crowd

“Rados Sumrada: Modeling methodology for real estate transactions, 2005”. Retrieved 3 January 2012.

“Hess and Vaskovich: Ontology Engineering for Comparing Property Transactions, pp. 183 – 201, and Hess and Schlieder: Ontology-Based Development of Reference Processes, pp. 203- 219, both in: Real Property Transactions. Procedures, Transaction Costs and Models. Edited by: J. Zevenbergen, A. Frank and E. Stubkjær”. Iospress.nl. Retrieved 3 January 2012.

“Vitikainen: Transaction Costs Concerning Real Property – The Case of Finland, pp. 101 – 118 in: Real Property Transactions. Procedures, Transaction Costs and Models. Edited by: J. Zevenbergen, A. Frank and E. Stubkjær”. Iospress.nl. Retrieved 3 January 2012.

“Stubkjær: Accounting Costs of Transactions in Real Estate – The Case of Denmark. Nordic Journal of Surveying and Real Estate Research, 2:1 (2005) 11–36”. mts.fgi.fi. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009.

“Stubkjær, Lavrac and Gysting: Towards national real estate accounts: The case of Denmark and other European jurisdictions, pp. 119- 139 in: Real Property Transactions. Procedures, Transaction Costs and Models. Edited by: J. Zevenbergen, A. Frank and E. Stubkjær”. Iospress.nl. Retrieved 3 January 2012.

“UN System of National Accounts 1993”. mts.fgi.fi. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010.

“Ejendomsregistrering i de nordiske lande” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2018.

“Property formation in the Nordic countries – Denmark. National Survey and Cadastre (2008)

Facebook, Apple and The War Over Social Media Influencers

In this photo illustration the Apple and Facebook logos are...

Facebook, good. Apple, bad. Facebook, good. Everyone else, bad.

That’s a little reductive but essentially the message put out today by Mark Zuckerberg. Writing on his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook won’t take a cut of any earnings that influencers earn on its platform through a growing number of Facebook products until 2023—and when it does start, its fees will be “less than the 30% that Apple and others take.” In addition, Zuckerberg said Facebook would shortly release a helpful little dashboard for influencers to (ostensibly) better manage their earnings and see which companies take a portion of their income.

There’s a lot at stake here. To start, Zuckerberg has increasingly pinned a portion of Facebook’s hopes for future growth on creators and has announced a slew of new initiatives over the past year to encourage influencers to build audiences on Facebook products. Among other things, Facebook plans to roll out audio features with subscription plans, introduce a marketplace where brands and influencers can link up and launch a subscription newsletter service, Bulletin.

Complicating matters is the fact that many other rival companies—TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube, to name only a few—are working on similar things. As well as the fact that Facbeook and Instagram spent many years largely ignoring the influencers on its platforms, while those rivals did a better job at cultivating them and introducing opportunities to earn money off their newfound fame, making those sites a more diserable destination.

To help Facebook stand out, Zuckerberg is willing to do something the others probably aren’t: Let creators earn money on the site without taking a portion of those dollars. Those smaller companies are likely going to be more eager to show investors that these new creator-focused products generate money.

Facebook, by contrast, has the enviable position of . . . not really needing the money. It earned a $9.5 billion profit alone last year and has over $60 billion just in cash. Keeping creators happy and earning money on Facebook keeps them from running off to other sites, taking Facebook users with them. Users have been—and will continue to be—the real moneymakers for Facebook, the people who look at the ads that do make up the majority of the company’s revenue.

The second factor in all this is the burgeoning grudge match between Facebook and Apple—and between Apple and other parts of Big Tech. Apple recently introduced changes to its operating system that will make it harder for Facebook to earn money off ads, part of a larger disagreement between Facebook and Apple over data privacy on the internet.

For its part in the war, Facebook will be doing things like Monday’s announcement: finding ways to paint Apple’s policies as stifling to small businesses on the Web. (Facebook’s timing was blantantly conspicuous, Zuckerberg’s post coming a few hours before Apple begins its much-watched annual developers’ conference.)

Of course, other companies are taking the opportunity to do the same thing to Apple. Less than a month ago, a trial concluded between Apple and Fornite-maker Epic Games over Apple’s allegedly monopolistic grip on large swaths of the internet, a fight also first sparked over fees and a disagreement over who should earn what.

I’m a senior editor at Forbes, where I cover social media, creators and internet culture. In the past, I’ve edited across Forbes magazine and Forbes.com.

Source: Facebook, Apple—And The War Over Social Media Influencers

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Critics:

It’s a bit simplistic, but it’s the message Mark Zuckerberg is conveying today. Writing on his non-public Facebook page, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will not take any reduction in the profits influencers make on its platform through a number in Facebook product development until 2023, and when it starts, its fees will be “less than the 30% that Apple and others take. In addition, Zuckerberg said Facebook would soon launch a useful little panel so influencers can (apparently) better manage their profits and see which corporations take part in their profits.

The stakes are high here. For starters, Zuckerberg has placed some of Facebook’s hopes for long-term expansion on creators and announced a series of new projects over the next year to inspire influencers to create audiences on Facebook products. Among other things, Facebook. plans to implement audio features with subscription plans, introduce a marketplace where brands and influencers can connect, and launch a subscription newsletter service, Newsletter.

To complicate matters, many other rival corporations (TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube, to name a few) are running similar things, as well as the fact that Facbeook and Instagram have spent many years largely ignoring influencers on their platforms, while rivals have done more of a job cultivating them and introducing opportunities to make money through their newfound fame. , making those sites a more disadvantageous destination.

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