Keep on scrollin'

The Week in Social: Breaking news, IG's algorithm, and chatbot support

The end of Facebook trends

Facebook’s trending topics section has had a tough beat. The boxed short list of newsworthy items was initially controlled by people, which introduced preferential bias. Following complaints, they added an algorithm to control the news feed, but that fell victim to group think and self propagation (the thing you put in front of people will trend more than the thing you don’t).

Fresh after Zuckerberg’s US and EU appearances, Facebook has announced that they are doing away with the “Trending” section, and replacing it with “Breaking News”. The new section will reportedly draw stories from more than 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia.

No doubt this is an interesting move, but the directive doesn’t yet answer how articles will be surfaced when they come from competing, or conflicting news outlets. We’ll be continuing to watch this as Facebook searches for the right balance between non-bias and the perfect personalized newspaper.

Read more at Facebook

News? or political advertising?

Jumping from the right column and into the main feed: is that one story you’re seeing a political advertisement? Is it political entertainment/infotainment? Or, is it a news article with political content?

This is not an easy determination for an algorithm, though Facebook is trying. This week, FB began requiring verification and disclosure from advertisers with political intent. Meanwhile, multiple news organizations posting about politics got caught in the mix. Thus, their content was rejected and their money returned. This first attempt is not perfect. However, we expect FB will white-list certain accounts over time.

Read more on The Verge

Pride on Instagram

Instagram is making it easy for you to show your support for Pride and the LBGTQ+ community. Leading into Pride Month, Instagram users on iOS can download updates that add a multitude of backgrounds, stickers, and rainbow gradients for certain hashtags. IG and Facebook consulted with GLAAD and the LBGTQ+ community to define the best content options, hence, “making your make your Pride Instagram Stories informed AF.”

Read more at Elite Daily

Instagram’s feed algorithm

Transparency is still trending in 2018. In a highly unusual meeting, Instagram invited journalists to discuss the ins and outs of their feed algorithm. No surprise, Machine Learning controls what you see on Instagram.

What you engage with, how recent the posts are, and how close you are to a person all determine the content you see. However, Instagram confirmed that they do not give preference between personal/business accounts, users who use Stories and Live more often, or hide posts from your feed.

Read more on TechCrunch

These kids on the internet

It’s been said before: the kids love that online video. Young people consume more than double the video content online as they do from TV. Advertisers have known this for years, though it’s good to reconfirm a conclusion every so often. Pew Research reports that young people favor YouTube and Snapchat for online video. Meanwhile, traditional video consumption on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are declining in popularity.

Read more at Pew

Content for Oculus

If you have ever attended an AR/VR project brainstorm, you have considered what VR means for live events. As such, Facebook is launching Oculus Venues. Want to watch the match from the best seats in the house? How about seeing a comedy act from the front row? Want a prime view from behind first base, but don’t want to deal with parking? Oculus Venues is partnering companies like Showtime, Lionsgate, NBA and MLB to begin play in the VR content arena.

Read more at VentureBeat

Vaulting the chatbot wall – context

Automated customer engagement is a minefield. Step one way, and you land in an expensive, convoluted data heap. Step another, and your customers leave with a worse impression of you than when they arrived. Inexpensive, and broadly available, the chatbot seemed like a great idea. But, bots are not a new platform for old software. Too many chatbots seem to be written by people working from the leftovers of phone support scripts. What the industry needs is context. Sweet, sweet context.

Read more at TNW

To the poll!

As they say, “If a little is good, then more must be better!” Following the success of polls in Instagram and Facebook, FB will provide polls in Messenger Stories. Messenger users have a brand new platform to ask their entire user base what tie they should wear, without the need to create a sub-group. Will brands get to do the same? We think: yes.

Read more at Engadget