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New Transparency Measures for TikTok Algorithms Under Discussion with US Government Officials

author image Written by: Julia Cashion           Categories - Digital Marketing, In The News, Social Media

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.

Julia Cashion

Decoding Meta’s Terminology Update

01/23/2023

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
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Instagram Introduces New Tools

01/20/2023

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.

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