In social platforms we trust? That’s the hope as Facebook and LinkedIn take new steps to increase trustworthiness. Facebook is rolling out a “Clear History” tool and plans to hire journalists for a developing News tab, while LinkedIn is increasing fraud prevention measures.

Facebook has started rolling out a “Clear History” tool

  • Facebook announced that users everywhere will soon have the ability to clear off-Facebook activity. Users will be able to select “off-Facebook Activity” from “Settings” to view their website and app activity that other businesses and organizations have shared with Facebook. Users can choose to clear all off-Facebook activity and disconnect this information from their account or disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account or specific apps and websites. By clearing off-Facebook activity, users will be able to remove their identifying information from the data that apps and websites share with Facebook, including which websites a user visits, how long a user spends on a site, and any user activity on those sites. Facebook – and its advertisers – will not be permitted to use any of the data a user chooses to disconnect to target ads on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. Facebook has confirmed that, while clearing and disconnecting off-Facebook activity will decrease the specificity and relevance of the ads users are shown, the number of ads users see will not change. Off-Facebook activity is currently available to users in Ireland, South Korea and Spain and will be rolled out everywhere over the coming months.
  • What this means for brands: While this update represents an important step in Facebook’s continued privacy updates, this newest feature will likely have negative implications for brands. The potentially limited availability of off-Facebook data will decrease the specificity of targeting, with which brands can reach interest-targeted audiences. Brands using the Facebook pixel to re-target website visitors could experience a drop in the size of retargeted audiences, as disconnecting off-Facebook web traffic data from the user’s profile will prevent brands from reaching them. Healthcare brands utilizing re-targeting from an unbranded website to a branded Facebook page should expect retargeting audience sizes to shrink. Brands will need to consider using a retargeting audience from on-Facebook page activity as it will not be impacted by this update. Advertisers should also note that, since the number of ads a user is served will not be affected by this tool, as confirmed by Facebook, some users may choose not to clear their off-Facebook activity in favor of being served ads that are more relevant to them. While it is unclear at this time how many users will choose to opt into this tool and begin clearing/preventing the sharing of off-Facebook data, brands should monitor closely for any reported impact to key performance indicators in the countries and markets where this update already has been rolled out.

Additional Resources: The Verge, Social Media Today

(via Facebook Newsroom) 

Facebook to hire Journalists for Developing News tab

  • According to the New York Times, Facebook announced it will be hiring journalists to curate its forthcoming dedicated News section. In a video interview from earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new News section, which is reminiscent of the Trending News section Facebook did away with in 2018, will help users find “high quality and trustworthy information,” though the level of curation is still undetermined. Facebook has been in talks with some of the largest American publishers to license news content to be shared on the News tab, allowing the platform to display article titles and previews. Whereas previous News sections have been purely algorithm driven, this latest iteration will combine algorithms with the expertise of journalists that Facebook plans to add to its full-time staff. These journalists will curate credible content but will not develop original content. By including human judgement in the curation process, Facebook hopes to avoid excessive bias and the spread of misinformation, which have occurred in the past using algorithm-only news curation.
  • What this means for brands: This update could present the next step in a continually blurring line between traditional and social media. With 43% of Americans getting news on Facebook, the potential reach of the News section should not be underestimated. While Facebook will not be developing content of its own, the power of these live Facebook curators to determine what content is seen and prioritized could present a shift in the way brands pitch stories to news outlets. When it becomes clear which sources and topics Facebook will be prioritizing, brands should expect to factor the social media network into sponsored and earned media opportunities. For healthcare brands looking to pitch consumer-friendly stories such as disease awareness and patient experiences, the added reach provided by an article’s placement in the News tab could increase visibility of important brand narratives.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today, Axios

(via The New York Times) 

LinkedIn Takes Steps to Eliminate Fake Accounts and Spammers

  • LinkedIn is continuing work to detect and remove fake profiles. The platform introduced new features aimed at keeping LinkedIn safe earlier this year, including technology to detect fake profiles and updated online safety tips. As a result of these changes, the platform acted on 21.6 million fake accounts between January and June, including preventing 19.5 million fake accounts from being created at registration. LinkedIn claims these measures will help prevent theft or fraudulent use of user data and limit the impact of potentially harmful or dangerous content.
  • What this means for brands: The high volume of personal and business information on LinkedIn makes this professional platform a prime target for spammers as they seek to obtain user and business data. In its continued attempts to increase user security, LinkedIn is creating an environment where users and business can be more confident that their data is safe. For businesses for which fake employee profiles and users have been an issue, this push for security can help protect important information while tapping into LinkedIn’s 645 million members for both paid and organic content.

Additional Resources: Social Media Today

(via LinkedIn)

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