Social Shorts: Facebook’s latest Portal devices, 3D Snaps, LinkedIn Skills Assessment tests
The social media marketing week in review: A round up of news and announcements you may have missed.
This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.
Portal: Now on TV screens. Facebook rolled out three new Portals on Wednesday, expanding its family of video-calling devices. The new models include an upgraded version of the 10” Portal device, an all-new 8” Portal Mini and a Portal TV device that can be placed below or on top of a user’s TV, offering in-screen video-calling from the TV screen. The three devices range from $129 for the mini to $179 for the upgraded 10” Portal. The Portal TV costs $149.
All three include the same video-calling capabilities with Messenger and WhatsApp integrations. What’s new among the devices is an option that allows users to turn off the “Hey Portal” voice storage setting.
“If you have the ‘Hey Portal’ enabled, Portal listens for the phrase ‘Hey Portal.’ If it’s detected, Portal sends a short audio recording and transcript of the ‘Hey Portal’ voice interaction to Facebook. A trained team may review a sample to make our voice services smarter and more accurate for everyone,” writes Facebook on its Newsroom blog.
Turning off the setting will stop Facebook from storing or reviewing any voice interactions on the device, but the setting is turned on by default. In other words, if users do not want any conversations that happen via a Portal to be recorded and stored by Facebook, they must go into the device settings and turn off the “Hey Portal” option.
About those “Hey Portal” recordings. Just in time for the release of the new Portal devices, Bloomberg reported that Facebook was not only recording and storing audio from Portal devices, but that some of the audio was transcribed by contractors.
“Those commands [“Hey Portal” voice interactions] were recorded and stored on Facebook servers, and some of them were transcribed by contractors working with the company to improve software algorithms used to understand the commands,” reports Bloomberg.
In light of Facebook’s user privacy issues, the company had paused “human review” of the Portal audio recording in August, according to an earlier Bloomberg report. But now that users have the option to turn off the setting, it is resuming its recording and reviewing process for voice interactions — a practice Facebook claims is important in terms of training the company’s software programs to accurately understand user requests.
3D Snaps. Snapchat has released a new 3D camera mode, making it possible for users to take 3D-like selfies via the app. “The 3D selfies captured in Snapchat can be shared on the app or saved to a user’s camera roll and shared elsewhere. Sharing outside the app will take away the ability for people to move their phone around to change the image’s perspective,” reports The Verge. The update is currently only available on iPhone X or newer iPhones, but a Snapchat spokesperson told The Verge the 3D feature will eventually be supported on more devices.
LinkedIn now offering Skills Assessment tests. LinkedIn has released a new skills assessment feature for users, offering various free multiple-choice tests that allow users to verify their capabilities in areas such as computer languages, software packages and more. According to TechCrunch, the company rolled out the Skills Assessments feature globally on Tuesday. Prior to the launch, LinkedIn reported that more than two-million tests had been taken during a beta period: “A sign of how the full service might well be a very popular, and needed, feature,” reports TechCrunch.
Facebook’s latest efforts to fight hate. Facebook released an update outlining recent actions it has taken to fight hate and extremist content on the platform. To date, the company has banned more than 200 white supremacist organizations on its site and removed content praising or supporting such organizations using a combination of AI and human expertise. “The process to expand the use of these techniques started in mid-2018 and we’ll continue to improve the technology and processes over time,” writes Facebook on its newsroom blog. The company has also updated how it defines terrorist organizations, clarifying that, “While our previous definition focused on acts of violence intended to achieve a political or ideological aim, our new definition more clearly delineates that attempts at violence, particularly when directed toward civilians with the intent to coerce and intimidate, also qualify.”
Snapchat launches archive of political ads. Snapchat has created an archive of the political ads that have appeared on the platform in 2018 and 2019. Similar to Facebook and Twitter’s efforts to offer more transparency around political ad campaigns on their platforms, Snapchat’s political ad archive includes various details on the campaigns, including the organization that paid for the ad, the total spend, impressions and targeting information. The big difference is that Snapchat’s archive is only available in an Excel spreadsheet that you must download to review.
YouTube tries out new features and updates analytics for creators. YouTube is testing two new features for creators: commenter profile cards and a personalized message on the watch page. The profile cards will display more information about a commenter so that creators can get a sense of what a commenter is writing and to help creators recognize some of their best commenters. If you’re scrolling through the comments for a video, the profile cards will display recent comments left by the commenter on the same channel during the last 12 months.
YouTube is also allowing a small group of creators the ability to post a personalized message to see if it impacts the likelihood of a potential fan subscribing to the creator’s channel. The message will appear on the watch page near the subscriber button.
The company is also updating its impressions and click through rate (CTR) analytics within the YouTube Studio beta analytics section to offer creators fresher data that is closer to the time of upload. The site is rolling out up-to-the-minute reports so that creators will be able to see impressions and CTRs within three hours of the video being made public. Three hours after a video is posted, the analytics will reflect up-to-the-minute data.
New rules for articles shared in Reddit’s technology group. According to a post in the Reddit technology subreddit, /r/technology, a group that has more than 8.1 million subscribers, the group moderators are considering banning any links to websites that have a paywall or capped number of visits by viewers. “Yes, we know that there are work-arounds, but that also works around the purpose of this move,” writes the moderators, “We, the mods of /r/technology, hope that we can encourage websites to allow access to their content for others to enjoy without cost to visitors.” While some protested, the majority of commenters said they were in favor of banning such links — or possibly creating a tag that would let readers know if there’s a paywall attached to an article shared in the group.
YouTube stops counting ad views to rank music videos. YouTube announced last Friday it would no longer count video views generated from paid advertising to calculate its music chart rankings. It will only use organic views to rank artists’ videos.
Previously, YouTube Music Charts, a listing of the most popular new releases from bands and musicians on the platform, counted all views to rank the most popular music videos. Artists and production companies with ad budgets could potentially get their music video debuts further up the list by running the videos as paid ads — a tactic some would consider unfair since not all artists debuting new music have the same advertising budgets as major music labels.
By removing views generated from paid advertisements, YouTube aims to level the playing field for its music charts, adding more transparency to its ranking system and putting in place the same policies used by official charting companies like Billboard and Nielsen.
“Our goal is to ensure YouTube remains a place where all artists are accurately recognized and celebrated for achieving success and milestones,” writes YouTube, “Videos eligible for YouTube’s 24-hour record debuts are those with the highest views from organic sources within the first 24 hours of the video’s public release.”
YouTube defines “organic sources” as direct links to the video, search results, external sites that embed the video and YouTube features such as the platform’s homepage, watch next and trending sections. The company said the changes will not impact its existing 24-hour record debut holders.
On the Move
Former iProspect Global CEO Rob Murray has been named president of 3Q Digital. He will report to the agency’s CEO David Rodnitzky, and is succeeding Maury Domengeaux, who is moving into an advisory role. “Rob’s proven leadership, deep agency experience, and understanding of growth marketing will be of tremendous benefit to our clients, as well as our business,” said Rodnitzky. Murray will oversee 3Q Digital’s operations in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to his previous role at iProspect, Murray served as the president of Skyword and most recently as a senior advisor with the Boston Consulting Group.
Impact XM, a brand engagement agency that specializes in live marketing, has appointed Heather Griffin as its new vice president of marketing. In her new role, Griffin will be charged with helping grow the agency’s brand. “Heather is joining our team with a wealth of experience in strategy and execution for both digital and live marketing. She is a proven leader in her field that will bring new and refreshing insight to our marketing team,” said Impact XM Senior VP of Client Development John Capano. Before joining Impact XM, Griffin served as the VP of marketing and e-commerce at Duggal Visual Solutions.
Marisa Kollias has been named senior director of communications for C-Strategies, a Chicago-based communications and public affairs firm that specializes in public policy and political campaigns. Kollias comes to the firm with 18 years experience as a communications strategist and former television journalism experience. “I am looking forward to being part of a firm known for elevating important public policy issues facing our city and state, while empowering and lifting up women in the business and civic spaces,” said Kollias about her new role. Previously, Kollias was the VP of corporate communications at Tribune Publishing and consulted on Chicago Mayor Lori Lighfoot’s transition team.