Facebook’s new robot overlords, Turnbull’s phony friends, and Imgur’s new ads
It’s time for another edition of Social Snapshots, a monthly look at some of the most interesting and important news from the social media world.
This month, we’re focussing on Facebook’s announcement about its Trending section, a political “scandal” on Twitter, and a new development in a platform you probably aren’t using.
Let’s get started.
Facebook fires humans, hires computers
If you use Facebook (who doesn’t?), then you’re probably quite familiar with the Trending section in the upper left of your timeline. It’s where Facebook highlights the most popular stories currently bouncing around the Zuckersphere.
But in the last few days, there’s been a bit of a shift – these Trend pieces no longer have summaries, instead only showing the trending topic and the number of people reading about it.
The change comes following accusations (launched by Gizmodo) accusing Facebook’s Trending curators of having a bias against conservative news. This seems to have had an impact, as Facebook’s change does away with most human curators and instead relies more heavily on an algorithm.
The takeaway: Keep an eye on your Trending feed and see if it feels more authentic. This can be a useful tool when trying to hold “in the now” conversations on Facebook or capturing relevant topics in your content strategy.
Malcolm Turnbull’s fake friends
Today more than ever, politicians need to be social-media savvy to reach their full potential. The American election has shown just how much sway a candidate’s tweets can have—and how much damage they can do.
When it comes to Aussie politicians, it’s no surprise that our Prime Minister has the most fans on Twitter, with 658k followers at time this article was written. The only problem?
It looks like a whole heap of those followers are, well, fake.
According to the Sydney Herald, TwitterAudit finds that a full 298k of Turnbull’s followers are fake accounts. That means only about 46% of his followers are genuine – which puts his authentic following lower than any other senior federal politician.
It’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily the Prime Minister’s fault—anyone on Twitter will receive follow requests from spambots. But it does seem like Turnbull could benefit from a bit of a “follower purge”.
The takeaway: If you haven’t already, pay a visit to TwitterAudit and run your own business accounts through their free tool. If your score isn’t great, it may be time to do a clean-up.
Imgur wants to advertise to nerdy millennials
Not sure what Imgur is? Then you’re probably not a male born after 1985. At least, that’s what the common wisdom says about the audience that uses the extremely popular image-sharing social platform (which is heavily tied to Reddit).
Even if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a force to be reckoned with—according to TechCrunch, there are approximately 150 million users every month, and 82 percent of them spend over 3 hours per week on the site or app.
And, until now, that audience has been very difficult for advertisers to reach. One of the things that makes Imgur so popular is the lack of ads, and its notoriously cynical audience is highly averse to traditional advertising.
That may change, however, now that Imgur has announced it will be releasing promoted posts. Much like Tumblr and Instagram’s paid advertising options, Imgur’s promoted posts let advertisers blend more easily with the platform. What remains to be seen, however, is if Imgur’s fan base will tolerate them.
The takeaway: Watch this space. If your target audience includes men in their 20s and 30s, this could be a new opportunity for you.
Want more useful insights on social media? Get in touch with Croud.