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TODD SMITH — LinkedIn boosts newsroom to 65 journalists

TODD SMITH

Dan Roth – editor-in-chief of LinkedIn – has a vision for making the social media powerhouse must read for news.

It is Roth’s dream for LinkedIn’s 645 million members and for workers who have yet to use the site to turn to the site for news with their morning coffee. He envisions LinkedIn as the perfect “utility” for professionals.

“LinkedIn should help you be better at what you do or what you want to do. When you come to LinkedIn, you’re coming with a purpose. It’s not just to waste time or to check in on family,” Roth told CNN Business in a recent interview. “They’re coming here to get something done and everything we do is geared around making sure people are more effective at getting whatever it is they want done, done.”

Roth has hired a team of journalists and empowered them with the tools they need to discover original stories and to distribute those stories to the right audience. Having these tools at their disposal is appealing to journalists who want to know who is reading their work.

While LinkedIn isn’t dominating the worldwide audience with its editorial strategy, it is getting close! LinkedIn has editors in the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, Japan, China and Singapore, according to CNN Business. Nearly 20 editors are based in America, including its San Francisco office and in New York, where Roth lives.

This new news focus has impacted LinkedIn’s traffic and ultimately its bottom line. A metric that tracks how often users are coming to LinkedIn in 30-minute intervals is up nearly 27% from the year prior, a LinkedIn spokesperson told CNN Business. And the company is monetizing that traffic. Satya Nadella, CEO of LinkedIn owner Microsoft (MSFT), said on a recent earnings call that it’s been “another record year for LinkedIn, driven by all-time high engagement across the platform.”

Roth landed at LinkedIn after of an idea he had for Fortune magazine, where he was managing editor of digital initiatives. In 2011, he had plans to create an app called the Fortune 500 Plus that would connect Fortune’s data with LinkedIn’s to help salespeople find leads.

Like a typical newsroom, LinkedIn’s team has a daily editorial meeting. On a recent morning, four people in the New York office joined a video conference call with three remote staffers and the team in London. An editor in London said a story about Instagram hiding likes had inspired “great conversation” from social media strategists on LinkedIn and that they had not covered the Nobel Prizes yet due to “lack of member sharing,” the editor told CNN Business.

LinkedIn is the latest tech site to bolster its news gathering value.

Apple News, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Flipboard have also hired journalists to oversee its news content, and even to create original content. Facebook, for its part, is hiring more journalists for its upcoming news tab. It’s the company’s second biggest effort to curate news after its previous news section faced conservative bias allegations. In tandem, more traditional newsrooms are investing in product. News Corp is reportedly building its own news aggregator, Knewz.com.

Facebook to Clearly Label Fake News

Speaking of Facebook, the social platform has launched numerous tools to combat fake news and spread of misinformation – just as the 2020 U.S. presidential elections heat up, 

The effort is to better “protect the democratic process” Facebook published in a recent post. Now, Facebook will clearly label false posts and state-controlled media and will invest $2 million in media literacy projects to help people understand the information posted online, according to The Next Web. 

Content published on Facebook and Instagram in the next month rated false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker will be more prominently labeled so readers can better decide what to read, trust, and share. A pop-up will also appear when users attempt to share posts on Instagram that include content that’s been debunked by its fact-checkers, according to TNW. 

Facebook says they have “made significant investments since 2016 to better identify new threats, close vulnerabilities, and reduce the spread of viral misinformation and fake accounts.”

This comes after a study by the Oxford Internet Institute found that since 2017, organized social media manipulation has more than doubled with at least 70 countries known to be using online propaganda to manipulate mass public opinion, and in some cases, on a global scale, according to TNW. Despite there being more social media platforms than ever, Facebook remains the most popular choice for online manipulation with propaganda campaigns found on the platform in 56 countries. 

Facebook revealed it has removed four networks found to be fake, state-backed misinformation-spreading accounts based in Iran and Russia — countries that have recently been found to cross borders to spread misinformation on not just their apps but also on a global scale. 

The tech giant also introduced a security tool for elected officials and candidates that monitors their accounts to detect hacking such as login attempts in unusual locations or on unverified devices to protect voters. 

Social Platform Opens Search Ad Placements to All Advertisers

Ads in Facebook Search Results are now open to all marketers for a select group of topics. The ad unit, which appears in Facebook News Feeds and across its marketplace, aims to provide a way for marketers to reach consumers in a new way.

The option is only available on mobile devices, according to MediaPost.

The new ad campaign using Automatic Placements will show up in the Facebook Search Results ad placement and in the general search results pages, unless the marketer specifies otherwise. Marketers can manually select the placement when setting up campaigns, so they appear in one place or the other, according to MediaPost.

eMarketer released data as early as February 2019 pointing to an increase in Facebook’s U.S. net digital ad revenue share to 22.1%, up from 21.8%, while Google declined from 38.2% in 2018 to 37.2% in 2019.

Amazon is forecast to take a bigger piece, growing from 6.8% in 2018 to 8.8% in 2019.

Google will take 33.0% of all U.S. mobile ad dollars this year, while Facebook will own 30.8%, according to eMarketer. 

Similar to initial tests, Facebook’s search ads will serve up for search terms when its technology detects a search for a product connected to a possible purchase in ecommerce, retail or automotive.

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.

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