Trends, news, and analysis: catch up on the week's biggest headlines with the Julius Works Blog's weekly roundup, your cheatsheet for staying in the know with influencer marketing.
News and Analysis:
Instagram Debuts New Anti-Bullying Tools and a Kindness Camera
Harassment has always been endemic to the internet and social media by extension. Anonymous or semi-anonymous platforms enable the behavior, and without real or long-lasting consequences, very little inhibition exists. Instagram already had systems in place to automatically remove things like hate-speech and spam, but recently expanded their toolset to include comment filtering and blocking. The growth of live video and the rapid fire comments that follow meant additional services were necessary to curb abuse.
As Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said in his blog post, "This change will help us identify and remove significantly more bullying — and it’s a crucial next step since many people who experience or observe bullying don’t report it."
The Julius View
Harassment is an issue for celebrities and influencers of all sizes, and it disproportionately affects women. Whether the harassment takes on forms of bullying or sexual lewdness, Instagram and social media at large will always be prone to it. Influencers have spoken out before about their treatment online, a reason why many with large followings disable their DMs. Earlier this year, @sosueme_ie pledged to begin a campaign to shut down troll accounts that target influencers.
MMA Fighter and Instagram Darling Paige VanZant's Comments Section
While harassment might be part and parcel of being in the public eye, Instagram's ability to attract notoriety is distinct from other platforms. For one thing, fan pages (or hate pages) are easy to create and can curate communities with ease. Reporting harassing or abusive DMs can be an extremely tedious process with dubious outcomes. For influencers, one wrong comment or controversial opinion can rally the masses against them; it's difficult if not impossible to prevent the momentum from swallowing a public figure's comments section whole. Often times controversial figures, influencers or otherwise, disable comments altogether.
While the issue might never be fully resolved, it's commendable that Instagram is taking more steps to technologically reduce harassment without curbing the free speech necessary for the health of the platform. It may not be enough yet, but it's a step in the right direction.
Snapchat Is Still Popular — It Just Depends On Your Age
In 2017, over two-thirds of Americans got their news from a social media platform, and more than half of people 50 or older do so. A recent survey by Pew revealed that while only 5 percent of adults get their news from Snapchat, it is the second most popular source for news, especially among college students. In fact, 29 percent of them get their news from Snapchat first.
These findings fall in line with usage numbers, as nearly 80 percent of Americans from 18-24 use the platform. Usage takes a sharp decline in age groups thereafter. While it's too early to tell if users will maintain their usage as they age, that Snapchat is still popular with younger audiences for news gathering lends credence to its staying power.
The Julius View
Snapchat's not quite the trend setting force it once was, but despite its recent losses in user count, its persistent popularity is a good sign for the health of the platform. Generation Z prefers the forms ephemeral communication like snapchat and Instagram, and their average time spent on social media — including Snapchat — is reflective of this. Though Snapchat-only influencers aren't nearly as prominent as other platforms, given the limitations of discovery, that teenagers get their news from Snapchat presents solid advertising opportunities, both programmatically and with influencers.
Facebook, Twitter Are Once Again Purging The Bots
Facebook announced that it was removing several hundred accounts for "inauthentic activity," in the weeks leading up to the highly contested 2018 midterm elections. These accounts were found guilty of using fake accounts, bot accounts, and multiple pages to drive traffic by manipulating Facebook's algorithms. Whether it was for political purposes or for ad-farming, Facebook did not discriminate when laying down the ban hammer.
Meanwhile, Twitter recently announced new rules for curtailing bots on the platform, much to the chagrin of users who enjoy the fun and harmless ones like @netflix_bot. In the coming months, users expect thousands of bots to go offline as Twitter revamps their protocols.
Julian Assange's Attempt To Rewrite Hiding From Rape Charges In An Embassy As "Imprisonment": The Real Reason For Overly Serious Millennials?
— Thinkpiece Bot ? (@thinkpiecebot) October 16, 2018
The Julius View
In what seems like an endless fight against terms of service abuse, Twitter and Facebook's transparent banning of abusive accounts and bots is good for the overall health of social media. Extricating the politicization of social media is contingent on the platforms' willingness to take action and make the hard choices. Unfortunately, sometimes those choices come at the expense of some fun and creativity.
Interesting Reads For The Week: