Twitter’s Blue Checkmark Dilemma

Twitter’s recent overhaul, helmed by Elon Musk, has brought about several changes to the platform, but none as problematic as the updates to the verification system.

What’s The Deal With Checkmarks

The platform now essentially allows anyone to purchase a blue checkmark, giving the illusion of legitimacy, which has become a playground for scammers and spammers. Twitter’s solution is to suspend such accounts once detected, while also hinted at new measures for confirming user identities in the Twitter Blue sign-up process.

However, there is no real checking process in place, with the platform relying on “payment verification”. The idea is that bot accounts won’t be able to pay for the subscription, thus, won’t be able to sign up for Twitter Blue, or it’ll be increasingly expensive for them to do so.

Read More: Twitter Blue: A Blue Tick Or A Blue Flop?

Unfortunately, this hasn’t proven to be a real deterrent. In recent months, various Twitter Blue-subscribed profiles were identified as using AI-generated profile images, yet were approved for the program.

Some of these accounts push specific political agendas, while others spread false information. This has opened the door for potential manipulation and deception within the new Twitter checkmark process.

Boxes Aren’t Being Ticked

Despite Twitter’s pledge to add a manual checking process for all Twitter Blue applicants, this hasn’t happened. The blue checkmark adds a level of legitimacy to accounts in-stream, which is the whole lure of the offering.

For a monthly fee of $8, users can be viewed on the same level as celebrities and stars, solidifying their presence and status on the platform. However, without proper checks in place, it remains problematic. Twitter is trying to counter impersonation problems by adding new badges and variations, but it’s becoming increasingly cluttered and confusing.

Read More: Twitter Is Rolling Out Adjacency Controls

The company is also expanding these badges to all approved staff of approved companies within the app, which includes a new description panel to explain why the user has a blue checkmark.

They’re also working on a new indicator to show when a profile has confirmed its ID through their system.

This should be a requirement for approval for a blue tick, and it’s hard to see how this is a better system than the previous process, where there was a clearer understanding of what a blue tick meant.

Despite the controversies, around 300,000 Twitter users have signed up for the new Twitter Blue, generating $2.4 million per month for the company, or $7.2 million per quarter.

However, this only equates to 0.12% of Twitter’s user base, and Elon and his team still have a long way to go in convincing people to pay $8 a month to use the app.

So What’s To Come?

The updated Twitter verification system is still a mess, and it’s not likely to generate enough revenue to justify the extra work required to add proper checks and maintenance.

Read More: New Process For Twitter Community Notes

However, Twitter is pushing ahead, and it’s hard to see Elon backtracking on the system now.

Here’s what he tweeted recently:

With more incentives and actual human checking in the verification process, it could still become a relevant and important consideration.

But for now, it remains far from perfect.

Instagram Introduced Lead Forms!

Instagram is coming in hot with another game changer.

They just spiced things up with a new ‘Lead Form’ option for biz profiles! You can now access it through the action buttons and get creative with new ways to get direct responses from your profile.

Read More: Instagram Introduces New Tools 

It’s super easy to add – just select “Add Lead Form” from the list of four action buttons. You can either go with the standard data collection or get fancy with custom questions to steer the conversation.

Read More: Instagram’s New Update For Transparency

Lead Form is the way to go if you want to know more about your IG profile visitors.

You can pick between multiple choice or short answer responses, making it super easy to get to know your audience better. Use the answers to sort and prioritize your followers, show off your brand’s unique personality, or find out how people stumbled upon your biz. Win-win!

Read More: Instagram’s Professional Users’ New Scheduling Tools

Not sure if this is a trial run or not, it’s not officially listed on Instagram’s rundown of Action Buttons. But, more and more peeps are spotting the option, so why not take a look at your IG CTA options and see how you can use Lead Form? Could be worth checking out!

Decoding Meta’s Terminology Update

Meta unveils a subtle yet significant update in the language of performance metrics, with the word “people” being replaced by “Accounts Center accounts” in Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, Ads Help Center, Commerce Insights, and Instagram Insights. This update may have a notable effect on your ad reporting.

In the end, the question of connection is key when considering Meta’s back-end. One could suppose that most user profiles are linked, yet Meta is staying pretty tight-lipped on the precise number of connected accounts. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to decipher the true extent of these statistics.

Read More: You Can Make Money Faster On Facebook

Meta’s Take on Accounts Center

Here’s what Meta had to say about the new update:

“Our calculation methodology for these metrics is not changing. The numbers you see in your reporting are the same as before; the only difference is the name. For example, if a person has one Facebook account and one Instagram account that are linked, they will be counted as one Accounts Center account. However, if those same accounts are not linked, they will be counted as two separate Accounts Center accounts for ads planning and measurement purposes.”

And we’re not the only ones who think so. Social Media expert Andrew Hutchinson ponders the same question, here’s what he has to say.

Read More: Meta Introducing New Monetization Tools For Creators

“The difference here is significant. Ideally, of course, you want to ensure that you understand the unique reach of your ads, and how many people, exactly, are seeing your promotions. But if a lot of the listed profiles are the same person, across the two platforms, that muddies the waters”, reports Hutchinson.

While this update may not alter the method of data collection, and any confusion surrounding it has already been present for a while, it does bring about a new layer of complexity with the updated terminology.

Read More: Facebook Reels Are Getting New Ad Options

What About The Pages?

As you delve deeper into the Accounts Center, it’s worth taking a moment to consider if all of the Pages that you manage are included within your individual Accounts Center.

This update aligns with Meta’s broader effort to streamline the Accounts Center platform, granting users greater control over their preferences across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger all in one central location.

While the impacts of this update may be minimal, as the methodology behind data calculation remains unchanged, it does raise questions about the nuances of audience reach and the specifics of data counting. A detail worth keeping an eye on.

Read More: Meta: Facebook Reels Have Branded Content Tags

Instagram Introduces New Tools

Are you feeling like you’re drowning in a sea of Instagram notifications?

Fear not, my friends! Instagram is coming to the rescue with some awesome new tools to help you take control of your in-app experience. Say goodbye to feeling overwhelmed and hello to a more relaxed and personalized experience on the gram. With these new tools, you’ll be able to take a break when you need it and curate the content that shows up in your feed. So, take a deep breath and let’s dive into these new features!

First things first, have you heard about Instagram’s new ‘Quiet Mode’? It’s a game-changer, trust me! This feature allows you to turn off all notifications, add a ‘Quiet Mode’ notifier to your profile status, and even include an auto-responder on your DMs. You can manually set your Quiet Mode time in the app and let your contacts know that you’re taking a break.

This is super useful for teens who might want to take some time for themselves, or for those who want to focus at night while studying or during school. Once you turn off Quiet Mode, Instagram will show you a quick summary of notifications so you don’t miss anything important. It’s like hitting the “mute” button on the world and taking a break, without missing anything important.

Read More: Instagram’s New Update For Transparency

What Quiet Mode?

Here’s the thing, Instagram is smart. It’s not just a social media app, it’s a friend that looks out for you. That’s why Instagram is specifically prompting teens to use Quiet Mode if it detects that they’re spending a significant amount of time on the app late at night.

We all know how easy it can be for teens to get caught up in the FOMO trap and feel like they have to be online all the time, but it’s important for them to take breaks and give their brains some rest. The new prompts and notifications will help them think about this, and also make users feel more comfortable, knowing that their friends won’t feel like they’re being ignored when they take a break. It’s like having a friend that reminds you to take a break, and also let’s your friends know that you’re just taking a break, not ignoring them.

Good news, everyone! Quiet Mode is now available to all users in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with more regions coming soon. So, next time you feel like you need a break, just turn on Quiet Mode and take some time for yourself. No more feeling guilty for taking a break, just hit the “Quiet Mode” button and you’re all set.

Now, let’s talk about the new self-moderation tools that Instagram is introducing. You know when you’re scrolling through your feed and you see a post that you’re just not feeling? Well, Instagram has got you covered. One of the most exciting features is the ability to hide recommended posts in the app based on keywords.

Read More: Instagram DMs: Facilitating In-App Interactions

You can add words, emojis or hashtags that you want to avoid and Instagram will no longer recommend content with those words in the caption or the hashtag. This way, you’ll be able to train the algorithm to your preferences and improve your Instagram experience. It’s like having a magic wand to make the content you see on your feed more relevant and enjoyable to you.

Instagram is always looking for ways to make your experience on the app better, and one of the newest features is the ability to hide multiple posts at once within Explore that you aren’t interested in. It’s super simple, all you have to do is tap the ‘Hide more’ prompt on the initial alert, and you’ll have the option to add a selection of posts that you don’t want to see. This way, Instagram will better understand your content preferences and show you more of what you like. It’s like having a personal butler for your feed, only showing you the content you want to see.

Leveling Up

It’s worth mentioning that Instagram plans to double the amount of recommended posts in user feeds by the end of 2023, with more than 15% of content displayed to Instagram users now coming from its AI recommendation tools. As this happens, it’s inevitable that the algorithm will make some mistakes, but with these new self-moderation tools, you’ll have more ways to train the algorithm to your preferences, and significantly improve your Instagram experience.

Read More: Instagram’s Professional Users’ New Scheduling Tools

Think of it like having a personal trainer for your feed, it’s going to get better and better with every “like” and “hide” you do.

Finally, Instagram is being a good digital parent, by adding a new element within its Family Center that will enable parents to better monitor their kids’ privacy and account settings. This way, parents will be able to see their teen’s Instagram settings, including privacy and account settings, and will receive a notification if their teen updates a setting.

This is a great way for parents to have more control over their kids’ online activity and ensure their safety. It’s like having a digital nanny that keeps an eye on your kid’s online activity and keeps you informed.

All in all, these new features are designed to give us more control over our Instagram experience and make it more enjoyable. It’s like having a personal assistant for your Instagram experience, making sure that you’re only seeing what you want to see, and that your friends know when you’re taking a break.

With these new tools, Instagram is taking a step forward to make our social media experience better and more enjoyable.

Twitter Blue: A Blue Tick or a Blue Flop?

Are you tired of not having that coveted blue checkmark on your Twitter profile? Well, now you can lock in your paid-for checkmark for a year at a time with Twitter’s new annual payment tiers for its verification scheme.

Looking for a way to add some extra pizazz to your Twitter profile? Look no further than Twitter Blue’s new annual payment scheme! Not only can you score that coveted blue tick, but you’ll also save around 13% per year.

Plus, with added perks like tweet editing, the ability to post longer videos, priority replies, and potentially even fewer ads, what’s not to love?

The Details

But hold on, before you get too excited, the prices for Twitter Blue may be exorbitant in certain areas.

Take Australia for instance, you’d be coughing up a whopping $19 per month for a mere graphic in the app. And to add insult to injury, the perceived value of the endorsement is being diminished by the very program you’re investing in. It’s worth mentioning that the Android pricing for the new program is just as steep as iOS, meaning Twitter is trying to offset Google Play store charges with its steep pricing.

Read More: Twitter Is Rolling Out Adjacency Controls

You might be wondering, why would anyone pay for a service that’s deteriorating day by day? With regular errors and outages that only worsen the user experience. But, some people may find value in buying a blue tick, though it’s worth noting that anyone can click on that checkmark and see that you’ve bought it.

So, is it truly worth it? Does it really give you more perceived importance or status in the app?

Here’s the thing, the value of the blue tick may change once Twitter decides to take away all the ‘legacy’ blue ticks. This will prompt users to re-evaluate whether they truly want the marker or not. After which all users will be either subscribed to Twitter Blue or not, which could make it more valuable.

However, the secret is out that you can just buy the tick, so it’s not the endorsement it once was.

And with even representatives from the Taliban buying up blue ticks to fake legitimacy, it all seems a bit flawed and not worth the money.

It seems that not many people are on board with Twitter Blue, at least according to the current take-up stats.

Research conducted by Travis Brown shows that only around 225,000 people have signed up for the new program. While that may seem like a lot, it’s nowhere near the level of interest that Twitter needs to make this a relevant consideration for revenue or bot-battling.

Read More: New Process For Twitter Community Notes

For example, Elon Musk’s stated goal for subscription revenue is half of Twitter’s intake. If we go by Twitter’s Q2 earnings this year, that’s around $1.18 billion for the three-month period, or just over $393 million per month.

Half of that is $196.66m, so Elon’s aiming to make close to $200 per month from subscriptions to reduce the app’s reliance on advertisers and operate with fewer brand safety restrictions and moderation rules.

Based on $8 intake per subscription, that would require around 24.6 million paying subscribers, or 100x the current Twitter Blue take-up.

And if Twitter wanted to use this program as a means to weed out bots, they would need around 70% of their user base, or 167 million paying users, to sign up. But, neither of these is likely to happen.

And when you factor in the ongoing problems with the program, like verifying the wrong people because there’s no actual verification process in place, it’s just a broken, messy and disjointed exercise that has done little more than add a whole range of random badges to accounts in the app.

Read More: Introducing Twitter’s New Swipeable Feed

New Transparency Measures for TikTok

Everyone loves a good story. And we’ve got one on TikTok!

It’s been all over the news lately, and it looks like the stakes are getting higher by the day. Basically, more and more US states are moving to ban the app on government-owned devices, and politicians are accusing the app of being used to spy on US journalists.

So, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is reportedly willing to make some big concessions in order to avoid a ban in the US.

Who Is TikTok Working With?

ByteDance has been working with the Committee for Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) for a while now, trying to establish a deal that would allow TikTok to keep operating in the US. The talks have primarily been focused on data storage and limiting access to US user data by China-based ByteDance employees.

The plan was for TikTok to partner with Oracle on a local storage center for US users.

But, recently, more concerns have come up about how TikTok’s algorithm functions, and how it could be used to manipulate users in the app.

In an effort to avoid a ban in the US, ByteDance is now proposing a new aspect of the deal that includes a restructuring of their US operations and the implementation of new transparency measures for their algorithms. This would allow for increased oversight and even control from American authorities, reports Social Media Today.

Read More: TikTok’s New Option For More Brand Deals

This isn’t the first time that TikTok has proposed more algorithmic transparency. Back in 2020, they announced plans to open a new transparency center in LA as part of their ongoing effort to distance themselves from concerns around potential Chinese Government interference.

This is now part of the negotiations underway, with the idea being that by providing more insight into their operations, they can reassure US officials as to what’s happening in the app, what’s being amplified and/or demoted, and whether external voices have influenced such.

Is Everything A Go?

Hold up, there’s a catch. In the new proposed arrangement, according to some insiders, third-party monitors would check the code for the video-recommendation algorithms to detect whether it has been manipulated or if the Chinese government or other foreign actors have had access.

Read More: TikTok’s Data Security Problems In The US

Provisions in the proposal stipulate that if the US government or the third-party monitors see anything that concerns them, there would be a process to flag the issues to TikTok, and ultimately to the US government if necessary.

This could be a concerning development, as it would effectively enable US officials to also have some input into TikTok’s algorithmic process, and to potentially influence what the app shows, or doesn’t show users, based on their assessment.

What Does This Mean For Users?

Well, it’s hard to say for sure.

But, it looks like ByteDance is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the app running in the US, even if it means making some big changes and concessions.

Whether or not that will be enough to appease US officials and avoid a ban, only time will tell.

TikTok’s New Option For More Brand Deals

Have you heard the news about TikTok’s latest development? They’re making it even easier for creators to get paid by introducing a new feature to their Creator Marketplace – the Talent Manager portal.

This new portal is going to be a game-changer for agents and representatives, as it will give them the ability to oversee brand deals for their clients. Imagine having all aspects of your clients’ listings in one place, including brand deals being offered through the marketplace app.

Read More: TikTok’s Data Security Problems In The US  

It’s like having a one-stop-shop for all your client’s needs!

But wait, there’s more! Agents won’t have access to their clients’ actual TikTok account, but the platform will enable them to manage how their talent is being displayed to brands.

This could help to refine and improve their sponsored content pitch, which means more money in the pockets of the creators we all love to follow.

We all know that monetizing short-form video can be challenging, as you can’t add pre- and mid-roll ads for direct monetization. TikTok is aware of this and is working hard to make sure their top stars get paid.

They’re doing this by facilitating brand deals, and by providing partial funding via their Creator Fund.

TikTok is also trying to add more monetization options, like eCommerce and in-stream shopping, but these haven’t become a key earner for the app yet. So for now, facilitating brand deals with their biggest stars is a key consideration.

Read More: TikTok’s New Audience Feature  

And with so many TikTok stars becoming major celebrities, it makes sense to provide more ways to help manage these creators.

The new Talent Manager Portal element is currently in testing with selected agencies, but soon it’ll be available for everyone to use.

Read More: TikTok Is Cracking Down On Political Campaigns  

So, agents, get ready to take your clients’ brand deals to the next level!

Link Spam & Helpful Content Update Now Complete

Hey, there Google enthusiasts!

It’s been a wild ride, but the December 2022 updates from Google are finally here. That’s right, both the helpful content update and the link spam update have officially completed their rollouts. But, before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s talk about why these updates took a little longer than expected.

What Took So Long?

Google initially planned for both updates to be completed within two weeks, but as we all know, the holidays can throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans.

Read More: Links Spam & Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out  

Due to security issues surrounding the holiday season, Google decided to take a pause on the updates. But, as the saying goes, “better late than never,” and the updates finally went live on January 12, 2023.

What To Do If Your Site Is Impacted?

So, what exactly do these updates mean for your website? Well, let’s start with the “helpful content update.” This update focuses on content that is created to rank well in search, but doesn’t necessarily help humans.

Helpful Content Update

In other words, if your content is more focused on keywords than user experience, you may be in for a rough ride. But don’t worry, if your website was hit by this update, there’s still hope for recovery. Google advises taking a look at your content and seeing if you can improve it to better align with their guidelines.

Read More: Google: Helpful Content Update All Around The World  

It’s worth noting that this update only impacts Google Search, and not Google Discover or other Google surfaces. However, Google may expand it to Discover and more in the future. Also, unlike a core update, this is a sitewide algorithm, meaning the whole site will be impacted.

Link Spam Update

As for the “link spam update,” this one is aimed at both sites buying links and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.

The goal of this update is to “neutralize” links that Google detects as being spam. So, if your website has been buying links or participating in link schemes, you may see a decline in rankings. But, unlike manual actions, you won’t be notified in Search Console if you are hit by this update.

This update also marks the first time that Google is using its AI-based spam detection, “SpamBrain,” for link spam purposes. It’s a global launch, affecting all languages.

Read More: Impacts From The Link Spam Update  

All in all, these updates may have caused some inconvenience and delay, but they’re here now and it’s important to stay informed and adapt to the changes.

Keep an eye out for fluctuations in your website’s rankings and take the necessary steps to ensure that your content is high-quality and aligns with Google’s guidelines. Happy optimizing!

Introducing Twitter’s New Swipeable Feed

Have you heard the news?

Twitter has just made it even easier for users to switch between the algorithm-defined main feed and a chronological feed of just users that you follow in the app. This is all thanks to the new swipeable timeline option that was rolled out on iOS today.

The idea behind this new feature is to give users more control over the tweets they see in their feed. By swiping between tabs, you can now choose to see tweets recommended “For You” or tweets from the accounts you’re “Following.”

This is similar to what TikTok does, by showing you a constant stream of things that you might like, as opposed to making you follow any specific profiles necessarily.

Read More: New Process For Twitter Community Notes

But wait, this isn’t the first time Twitter has introduced this feature. In fact, it was already launched in March last year, with an option to pin a swipeable feed of ‘Latest tweets’ after you tapped on the star icon in the top right of the app.

This time around, Twitter has just renamed the feeds for ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ instead of ‘Home’ and ‘Latest Tweets’.

H2: Why Now?

Now, you might be wondering why Twitter is doing this. Well, it’s all part of their effort to get people to explore more of what the app has to offer and keep them engaged for longer sessions. By showing you more recommended updates, Twitter hopes that you’ll find more content that you like and stick around for longer.

But, here’s the thing. Twitter’s algorithm is not always spot on. Sometimes, you might get vague and tangentially related tweets based on what people you follow have liked or followed, which is not a particularly engaging experience. And that’s where the new swipeable timeline option comes in handy.

If you’re not feeling the algorithm-defined timeline, you can just swipe across to get rid of it.

Plus, by making it available by default, more people might use the option, as opposed to having to tap the stars icon and pin the timeline in the previous iteration.

Read More: Twitter Is Rolling Out Adjacency Controls

However, from Twitter’s perspective, it’s worth considering that as they work to improve their algorithm and lean into the expanded discovery, if people get used to swiping across, it could render those efforts less effective, as people won’t even spend time in the algorithm-defined timeline.

Additionally, users might push Twitter to make the ‘Following’ feed the default, which is why Twitter rolled it back last time, because people were annoyed that they couldn’t set the non-algo feed as their main choice.

All in all, the new swipeable timeline option is a great addition to the Twitter app, giving users more control over the tweets they see in their feed. It’s now available on iOS, and we’re yet to hear about its availability on Android. So, go ahead and give it a try and let us know what you think!

Read More: ‘Ad Free’ Twitter Coming Soon?

YouTube’s Latest Process For Monetizing Shorts

Hey there, YouTube is changing the way creators get paid for their Shorts.

Starting February 1st, 2023, creators will be able to earn money from ads that show up between Shorts clips in the Shorts Feed. This new system is replacing the YouTube Shorts Fund. They announced this change back in September last year, and it has the potential to change the way all platforms pay creators for short-form videos.

Read More: YouTube Is Adding New Features For Shorts

It’s tricky to make money from short videos using regular ads like pre- or mid-roll ads, so this is a new solution for monetizing short-form content. Other apps like TikTok in China generate income through in-stream commerce, but that hasn’t become popular in western markets yet. So, YouTube is trying out a new way to make sure creators get paid for their work.

The Specs

The new payment model will see funds from Shorts ads added to a bigger pool, and YouTube will split 45% of that total among Shorts creators based on their views. This way, payouts will grow as Shorts does, and the funding isn’t capped like the Creator Fund process is.

YouTube says they expect the payouts to be higher than creators are currently receiving from the Creator Fund.

Read More: YouTube Shorts Might Replace TikTok According To MrBeast

To be eligible for a cut of the revenue, creators need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and have received 10 million views on their Shorts over the past 90 days. Once you hit those benchmarks, you can sign up for the program and get paid based on your performance.

YouTube may also make changes to the program in the future to make it better. It will be interesting to see how creators feel about this new way of getting paid for their Shorts.

It sounds like YouTube might be onto something with this new system for paying creators.

If they can provide more money and a fairer process for creators to get paid for their short videos, that could be a huge plus for them. It might even attract more talented creators to use YouTube instead of TikTok.

Read More: YouTube’s New Community Post Options

Another thing to consider is that TikTok is currently facing a lot of scrutiny because of its connection to the Chinese government. There’s a chance it might get banned in the US.

So, if YouTube can provide a stable and attractive platform for short-form videos, it could become the go-to choice for creators.