Links I Liked: Analysis, Advocacy, Hatespeech and Connectivity

Links I Liked. Photo: DepositphotosA short collection of interesting and useful articles with a focus on Facebook:

Buffer and BuzzSumo recently analysed 43 million Facebook posts from 20,000 Facebook pages. Their research makes for interesting reading, even though it primarily confirms the trends of the last few years, i.e.:

  1. Facebook reach and engagement are declining,
  2. high-quality content is essential and
  3. you need a Facebook ads budget if you want to be successful on the platform.

It is worth keeping in mind that Buffer and BuzzSumo primarily looked at commercial Facebook pages, but I believe the research also comes in handy for non-profit organizations. After all, you compete with commercial brands for space in the newsfeed and this study can help you identify things that work.

I just finished reading this very interesting article in the New York Times which is based on a study that claims to have found a clear correlation between attacks against immigrants in Germany and Facebook usage. If accurate, the findings are stunning. Among other things, the researchers found that sustained internet outages resulted in significant drops in attacks on refugees. My thoughts on this: This would seem to suggest that attacks on refugees (or other groups of people) are not the result of a slowly escalating echo chamber, but are triggered by specific social media posts (while the two are obviously connected, I find identifying trigger points useful). However, two decades ago, when I studied communications sciences, we were urged to be wary of simple action-reaction correlations when it comes to communications, so I’m still somewhat sceptical. Alternatively, this could indicate that Facebook is the critical piece of infrastructure to organize the logistics of violence. Lastly, as always, it makes me wonder how we could use these mechanisms for positive change.

I very rarely post links that are not in English but decided to make an exception for this article. In it, Natascha Kampusch talks about how it feels like to be hated online. Natascha Kampusch (Wikipedia) was abducted at the age of 10 and held in a cellar for eight years before managing to escape. How you can hate someone who has gone through this kind of ordeal is beyond me, but apparently, some people do. In the interview, she talks about how this hate effects her on a daily basis. Even though she has long since given up googling herself or looking for mentions of herself on social media, she says she can tell from reactions on the street, whether conspiracy theories about her have recently gained traction again in the tabloid media or social media.

As a result of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential elections in the US, Facebook has changed the requirements for political or issue-based advertising in the United States. These rules apply whenever you target US users with your Facebooks ads and in many cases will mean that you can no longer do so unless your organization has a physical presence in the US. John Haydon explains what you need to know here.

Facebook’s efforts to bring more people online (and to make them Facebook users) have not been resounding successes. In India “Free Basics” took a massive beating and this year the company announced that it would no longer work on drones to deliver internet to remote areas. Recently, Facebook restructured its remaining efforts to connect more people. You can find a list of their projects here.

Have you found interesting articles or blog posts? Please post them in the comments!