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TODD SMITH — Twitter to begin labeling misinformation


Twitter is experimenting with adding brightly colored labels directly beneath lies and misinformation posted by politicians and other public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features shared with NBC News.

Twitter confirmed that the leaked demo, which was accessible on a publicly available site, is one possible iteration of a new policy to target misinformation. The social media platform doesn’t yet have a roll out date for the new misinformation functions.

In the demo version, disinformation or misleading information posted by public figures would be corrected directly beneath a tweet by fact-checkers and journalists who are verified on the platform and possibly by other users who would participate in a new “community reports” feature, which the demo claims is “like Wikipedia.”

The demo features bright red and orange badges for tweets that are deemed “harmfully misleading” in nearly the same size as the tweet itself displayed prominently directly below the tweet that contains the harmful misinformation.

Examples of misinformation included a false tweet about whistleblowers by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a tweet about gun background checks by Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a tweet by an unverified account posting a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The leaked demo also shows an example of medical misinformation, including an example about the new coronavirus by a verified Twitter account.

The impending policy rollout comes as the 2020 election season is ramping up, with Twitter playing a central role in some of the daily discourse among the candidates. Recently, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign posted an edited video that made it seem as if there had been a long pause when he asked during the Democratic presidential debate whether the other candidates had ever started a business.

Last month, Twitter announced a policy to ban tweets that “deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm,” such as deep fakes.

Twitter reiterated to NBC News that the community reporting feature is one of several possibilities that may be rolled out in the next several weeks.

Amazon advertisers to boost spending on platform

Eighty-one percent of current Amazon advertisers plan to increase their ad spend on the platform in the coming year, according to a Marketing Land survey of digital advertisers released recently.

Of those planning to increase their Amazon ad budgets, 41% said they plan to spend as much as 25% more than the previous six to 12 months; 22% plan increases of 25% to 50%; and 10% expect Amazon budgets to increase by 50% or more.

These growth expectations are in line with the trends forming in the last survey of Amazon advertisers in 2018. Amazon’s ad business grew 40% year-over-year in 2019, to roughly $14 billion, but it is still very early days for the platform. Google notched $135 billion in ad revenue last year, for example, although that growth has slowed.

Highlights from the survey, representing responses from the 155 marketers who said they’re currently running Amazon ad campaigns, were presented at a recent marketing conference.

Incremental budget increases

More than half of the advertisers planning to increase their Amazon advertising budgets said the increases will come from incremental sources, followed by 31% who said the additional funding will be pulled from non-digital advertising budgets. Paid social and search budgets are affected, but less so, with 21% expecting to pull from paid social budgets and 17% from paid search.

Potential for growth

The majority of the Amazon advertisers surveyed (66%) dedicate less than a quarter of their annual digital advertising budgets to Amazon, and 34% spend less than 10% of their digital ad budgets on Amazon.

Most popular ad products

Amazon’s search ad formats continue to be the most popular, which is no surprise. Nearly 90% of advertisers are running Sponsored Products (87%), while 68% are running Sponsored Brands.

Video is certainly an area for potential growth. Video has the lowest adoption among Amazon’s ad products, via either self-service (31%) or managed service (28%).

Who is managing Amazon advertising campaigns? 

Nearly 40% of those running Amazon campaigns — whether at an agency or in-house — said the campaigns are managed by a dedicated Amazon marketer or team. Twenty-eight percent said paid search marketers manage their Amazon campaigns, while 18% are managed by e-commerce marketers.  

Measuring ad effectiveness

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of Sponsored Products ads, 61% said they look at Amazon’s advertising cost of sale (ACoS) metric (ad spend/sales) and 58% look at sales. One-third evaluate the effectiveness of these ads based on overall profit lift.

However, when asked about challenges, a quarter of respondents said proving their campaigns are working was among their biggest obstacles.


Optimization tactics, inadequate reporting and getting support from Amazon client services ranked as the top three challenges advertisers said they have with running campaigns on the platform. And though Amazon has worked to streamline its ad offerings, 25% also said navigating the advertising options is a challenge.

Rocket Mic: NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson was out of this world!

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits for NASA’s early space missions and was later portrayed in the 2016 hit film “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering African American female aerospace workers, died earlier this week at age 101.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a media statement that Johnson “helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color.”

Johnson was one of the “computers” who solved equations by hand during NASA’s formative years and those of its precursor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

Johnson and other African American women initially worked in a racially segregated computing unit in Hampton, Va. that wasn’t officially dissolved until NACA became NASA in 1958.

Early in her career, Johnson focused on airplanes and other research. But her work at NASA’s Langley Research Center eventually shifted to Project Mercury, the nation’s first human space program.

In 1961, Johnson conducted trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 Mission, the first to carry an American into space. The following year, she manually verified the calculations of an early NASA computer, an IBM, which plotted John Glenn’s orbits around the earth.

She considered her work on the Apollo moon missions to be her greatest contribution to space exploration – and her insightful calculations helped land the lunar lander rendezvous with orbiting command service modules. Johnson also did enterprising work on the Space Shuttle program before retiring in 1986.

Johnson will always be remembered as a legend and hero – who shattered the race barrier while helping America rocket to the front in space exploration. Her brilliant expertise and pinpoint accuracy made our nation great!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» 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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