Connect with us

FACEBOOK

How Facebook And Big Tech Wage Publicity Wars Through Close Ties With Small Businesses

Published

on

Getty Images

When Facebook wanted to turn up the heat on Apple earlier this year in a dispute about ads and data privacy, Facebook brought some ringers to the fight. In a prominent online ad campaign, it featured several small businesses discussing how Apple’s decision to allow users to turn off data collection would not only eat away at Facebook’s trillion-dollar market cap, it would hurt the little guys, too, limiting the effectiveness of Facebook’s targeted ads. 

The marketing tugged at the heartstrings, highlighting the imperilment of what seemed like ordinary mom-and-pop-type companies. But at least two of the featured small businesses, Morgan Miller Plumbing in Grandview, Missouri and Enlightened Marketing in Windsor, Colorado, actually have deep connections to Facebook, part of a familiar Big Tech strategy to use relationships with small businesses and pro-small business lobbyist groups in public-policy PR campaigns, according to new research from the non-partisan Tech Transparency Project.

“They’re portraying these as sort of an upswelling of grassroots, small business support for Big Tech rather than what they really are, which is this very highly cultivated group of mouthpieces,” says Katie Paul, the Tech Transparency Project’s director.

Advertisement

In the recent example of Facebook’s campaign, Morgan Miller’s founder, Jeff Morgan, says in his official bio on his company website that he has had the “privilege of visiting Facebook headquarters to share ideas.” Meanwhile, Enlightened Marketing founder Jeremy Howie belongs to Facebook’s Small Business Council, an advisory group set up by the social network to help it better understand its small business customers. Moreover, Howie on his company’s website says he’s also visited Facebook HQ several times, met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and has “taken part in several internal Facebook beta tests.”

Moreover, the researchers point out, both Morgan Miller’s CEO, Stella Crewse, and Enlightened Marketing’s founder, Howie, sit on the board of the Connected Commerce Council. The pro-small business lobbying group, known as 3C, counts Amazon, Google and Square as official partners; Facebook was also one until recently, a 3C spokesman says. (“3C appreciates the investment of our partner companies in our education programs and general support of 3C member companies,” the lobbying group’s website reads.) 

To be clear, there’s nothing illegal about creating ad campaigns that could strike some viewers as less than wholly authentic. “Facebook makes no apologies for working directly with some of the 200 million businesses on our platform to showcase how they are able to reach new customers and create jobs in their communities,” a Facebook spokesperson says. “We are public about our efforts, including creating opportunities for small businesses to give feedback and advice to us and to each other. We will continue to offer free services and affordable advertising that used to only be available to the biggest advertisers.” 

But it is illustrative of the tightly coordinated inner-workings of Big Tech’s fights in these public policy battles. Back when the antitrust movement against Big Tech started up in 2019, 3C produced pro-Big Tech marketing aimed to sway Congress that featured Myles Hagan, the owner of Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, and several other small businesses, according to an earlier Tech Transparency Project report. “Without companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, I would not have been able to find a customer base beyond the borders of my beloved Palmetto state,” Myles Hagan said in one press release. “Small businesses like mine tend to get hurt when Congress goes after the big guys.” And sometimes these small businesses even get recycled: While Morgan Miller appeared most recently in a Facebook campaign, it also appeared in a 2020 and 2021 Google marketing campaign heralding the benefit of its tools for small businesses. 

Advertisement

3C was founded in 2018 by Jake Ward, a former public relations executive and, briefly, a press secretary for Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican. In the past, 3C has submitted comments from small businesses to the FTC that supported digital tools from Big Tech like digital payments and video conferecing; flown other small businesses into Washington to meet with regulators and legislative staff; and assembled press statements like this one, in which argued against the government’s new antitrust cases against Big Tech and included quotes from small businesses praising those large companies. 

3C, which wouldn’t comment for this story, isn’t the only firm devoted to helping Big Tech defend itself in this manner. Another active lobbying group identified by the Tech Transparency Project is the Small Business Roundtable, a Washington, D.C.-based organization founded by two Democratic political operatives, Rhett Buttle and John Stanford. Last May, the Small Business Roundtable and Facebook partnered on a report, “State of Small Business.” The document cited findings drawn from a survey of 68,000 small businesses already active on Facebook. Given this background, their main conclusion isn’t too surprising, that Facebook’s online ad marketplace and other digital tools had been crucial in shoring up their failing companies. Nonetheless, Sandberg publicly promoted the report in a press release and through op-eds, and the company also used in paid advertising campaigns online. 

“Big Tech has got this group of small businesses that they can tap, and they’re pre-vetted: They know they’re going to be on message,” says Paul, the Tech Transparency Project director. “It’s just very easy for them to keep going back to that well because these guys are part of the team.”

Read More

Advertisement
See also  WEHOville Facebook page hijacked by former publisher

FACEBOOK

Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Published

on

By

Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

See also  Facebook, Reuters Partner To Train Journalists

Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Advertisement

Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

Continue Reading

FACEBOOK

Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

Published

on

By

Meta Image

Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

Advertisement

StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

See also  Masters of Cuban Rum have a new Facebook profile - Prensa Latina

In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

Advertisement

Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

See also  Nottingham fast-food company hit by fake Facebook reviews after alleged incident with cyclist

Advertisement
Continue Reading

FACEBOOK

Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

Published

on

By

facebook-adds-new-trend-insights-in-creator-studio,-which-could-help-shape-your-posting-strategy
en flag
sv flag

Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

Advertisement

The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

See also  WEHOville Facebook page hijacked by former publisher

Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending