How To Make Your Organization More Inclusive

The wave of protesters marching for Black Lives Matter has accelerated major change at a variety of companies including executive resignations over racist behavior and discussions on how to bolster underrepresented voices in the workplace. In response, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has laid out seven steps organizations can take to promote diversity.

The first step is actively acknowledging the prevalence of systemic racism and remembering that you can do better—to rebuild a racially just world means taking one step each day toward that goal.

Organizations should also be transparent in their commitments to diversity and inclusion. This means using concrete language that expresses a clear understanding of why you’re using that language and how you’ll accomplish your goals.

The influence of these commitments largely depends on the level of diversity in your leadership team. To truly uproot systemic racism in the workplace, organizations must promote black and Latino employees to executive roles. Black people account for just 3.2 percent of senior leadership roles at corporations and hold only 0.8 percent of Fortune 500 positions. And Latinos hold fewer than two percent of these positions.

The WEF suggests companies capture anonymized data on who’s hired, who’s promoted and who leaves to reveal any hiring trends around gender identity, race and ethnicity; then make that information publicly accessible.

When promoting people of diverse backgrounds, avoid approaching the process with a scarcity mentality; promoting diverse employees doesn’t mean you can’t promote others.

Lastly, WEF encourages organizations to continue the dialogue at the internal leadership level, the internal management level and at the all-staff level to expose and break down unconscious biases.

Though companies have publicly expressed a commitment to increasing representation in the workplace and educating themselves and employees about systemic racism, many leaders reported feeling ill-equipped or afraid to address these issues. That’s what president and CEO of the nonprofit Living Cities, Ben Hecht, found in speaking to two dozen executives of Fortune 500 companies, an experience he shared in the Harvard Business Review.

Abandoning mainstream norms around organizational leadership provided Hecht with three valuable lessons for moving toward racial equity at Living Cities. Hecht says the first step was addressing the norms, values and practices that advantage white people and ways of working, to the oppression of underrepresented groups. That meant understanding history, exploring personal biases and building empathy. To do this, Hecht and his team underwent multi-day anti-racism trainings, facilitated by Living Cities’ permanent, in-house staff, Colleagues Operationalizing Racial Equity, or CORE. New staff members are required to take this training within 90 days of hire.

“For me, in my role as CEO, that meant relinquishing some of my formal authority to a group of more inclusive decision-makers so that our most mission-critical decisions reflected a diversity of perspectives, even if I would have made a different decision on my own,” says Hecht.

The second lesson Hecht learned is that organizations must understand and embrace conflict. To help staff and leadership become more comfortable with conflict, Living Cities uses a “comfort, stretch, panic” framework to discern boundaries and commit to staying engaged when faced with challenges.

Like the WEF, Hecht found that tracking staff engagement, satisfaction and tenure by race, role and level are helpful for identifying disparities. Additionally, Living Cities’ annual competency survey reveals how race impacts the company while holding each staff member accountable.

“Instead of trying to change some people to fit the organization, we must focus on transforming our organizations to fit all people,” says Hecht.

US Local Businesses Pivot Digital, Remain Optimistic About Post-Pandemic

This week, Magna announced the global ad market would shrink by seven percent, or $42 billion. Despite this, a new study from Viamedia shows marketers are quickly adapting: in response to the pandemic, 83 percent of local US businesses have overhauled their marketing strategies.

The survey, “How Can We Help Through the Pandemic,” found that, despite the economic downturn, there remains a strong need for advertising—45 percent of business owners from various industries say they’re seeking creative incentives for advertising. Forty percent of respondents also reported an annual marketing budget of at least $75,000, 39 percent of which they allotted to advertising.

In an attempt to pivot, 46 percent of respondents say they’re offering incentives and promotions to drive sales and continue operating during the downturn while 10 percent have shifted to digital during store closures and nine percent plan to expand.

Still, 28 percent are looking for guidance on how to change their marketing strategy to weather the pandemic.

Many respondents expressed optimism over their post-pandemic futures, with 36 percent saying they felt their business would be the same as it was pre-pandemic.

Viamedia’s findings are based on a survey among business owners (59 percent) and advertising agencies on behalf of businesses (29 percent), conducted between May 15 and May 27.

The CMO Survey’s COVID edition survey echoed similar sentiments, namely marketers are doing more with fewer employees. For example, despite nine percent of marketing jobs being lost due to the pandemic, 30.3 percent of marketers have experienced no change in their overall marketing budgets and 62.3 percent report that the marketing function has grown more important amid the pandemic. In fact, 41.3 percent have reported gains, whereas 28.4 percent have reported losses.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Campaign Picks: Week Of June 8

We took some time off to honor what’s happening out on the streets, not just in America but around the world. This week, I’ve selected three pieces that come from very talented and imaginative individuals, each using their toolsets to transport you to another place in a way that only animation can. It’s a quick journey this week and one that will hopefully put a smile on your face.

Infinite Bowls – Laurie Rowan

Let’s kick this off with a simple yet mesmerizing 24-second piece by UK animator Laurie Rowan aptly titled Infinite Bowls.

Why it matters: It’s such a pleasure to stumble upon a piece that instantly transports you to another dimension. Rowan’s creation is filled with playful little surprises and is unexpectedly impactful in its simplicity. I don’t personally do yoga or any type of meditation, but I can only imagine that this is where my brain might take me. There’s also something to Laurie’s style that captures the feeling of being at Coachella. It’s a feeling of having a place where artistic expression and letting one’s mind go is at the heart of the experience. So, thank you Laurie for helping fill the void of a Coachella-free year with something that scratches the itch in just the right way.

The details: Laurie Rowan is based in Brighton on the south shore of the UK. Apparently, he set a goal for himself to create and animate a quick short to post on Instagram every Saturday. Although this was meant as a personal exercise to break out of the daily studio grind, he soon found that people were responding to his work.  Laurie’s collection of eccentric CG character GIFs has generated over 700 million views.

Javier Arres –  GIF Artist

Traveling South from Brighton to Madrid, Spain is where we find my next pick, the incredibly talented Javier Arres. The link above takes you to a page where you can experience the body of his work. Most only take a few seconds to appreciate, but you could clearly stare at them for a lot longer.

Why it matters: Whether it’s a Bitcoin funhouse with a Cheshire cat or a psychedelic pizza truck, Javier brings his fantastical and highly detailed illustrative style into making what he calls “Visual Toys.”

It’s easy to get lost in Javier’s work and feel a sense that he’s incredibly attuned to cultural elements that instantly resonate, even if you’re not sure why at first glance. His work has been described as Monty Python meets Sim City meets Roller Coaster Tycoon with a dash of steampunk, neon, and hypnotic effects, all baked in a sci-fi oven of surrealism. Well said.

The details: According to the artist page on, “Javier’s process begins with pure imagination, evolving into mad sketching as he assembles the objects, icons, machines and characters that go into the final work. His media include felt tips, India ink on watercolor paper, Photoshop and After Effects, where he puts them in motion.”  In 2019 Javier won the London Art Biennale for his work on paper.

Refik Anadol – Melting Memories

Switching gears from the fun and playful to a more data-driven and experiential focused artist, I stumbled on Refik’s work late last year while we were trying to wrap our heads around how you can take data streams and turn them into something meaningful, tangible⁠—and most importantly⁠—beautiful. And Refik Anadol is the master.

Why it matters: For Melting Memories, Refik wanted to visibly demonstrate the neuroscience of recollection. He uses a combination of data paintings, light projections and augmented data sculptures to capture the human brain’s processes. This stunning work is one of many explorations in how data can be organized and transformed into a powerful visual statement.

The details: Anadol, a Turkish born artist, now resides in LA where he has had his hand in major works across the world. According to the artist’s site, Refik conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, where he “gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”

Advertising For Skeptics With Bob Hoffman

During this 212th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Bob Hoffman, returning guest and author of the new book, Advertising for Skeptics.

On the show today, we talk about the main ideas that inspired Hoffman to write Advertising for Skeptics and the delusions he believes the marketing and advertising industries are under. We laugh a lot, and maybe we’ll inspire you to get a cocktail after you’re done listening.

Hoffman tells us how Advertising for Skeptics came out of his musings on the industry. Hoffman says, “My idea is that we should be skeptical of the things that we accept as common wisdom in the advertising and marketing business, and we should question them.” Then he goes on to talk about the troubling lack of accumulated knowledge in advertising. He says, “If advertising is less effective now than it was fifty years ago, where’s the arrow of progress?” He then reluctantly offers advice to people in advertising and marketing cautioning, “The best advice I can give is to be careful.” We then explore various hot topics in marketing today. This discussion with Hoffman will invite you to consider what you think you know about advertising.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Bob describes Advertising for Skeptics. 02:47
  • Bob’s mission in writing his latest book. 04:19
  • The lack of accumulated knowledge in advertising. 05:54
  • What we measure today in advertising. 12:13
  • Bob’s advice to people in marketing and advertising. 13:21
  • Bob’s thoughts on GDPR and why enforcement seems impossible. 16:46
  • Comparing Byron Sharp and Mark Ritson. 20:20
  • COVID-19 advertising. 22:52
  • Launching a book during a global pandemic. 24:07
  • How Bob fills his time during social distancing. 25:28
  • The most impactful purchase he has made in the last 6-12 months of $100 or less. 28:42
  • Bob’s go-to cocktail during a pandemic. 30:29

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Listen In: The Science In Marketing Science

We’re back with another episode of’s new weekly series Listen In, hosted by Ayzenberg principal and ECD Matt Bretz. This week we’re featuring a conversation with’s associate director of marketing science, Piotr Urbanski.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Report: Global Ad Market To Decline 7 Percent This Year With Expected Recovery In 2021

This year, the global ad market will shrink by nearly seven percent, from $582 billion to $540 billion, according to Magna’s “Life After COVID” forecast. A rebound that is expected in the second half will expand into 2021 when ad spend is predicted to grow by 6.1 percent to $573 billion—still $9 billion less than its pre-COVID level.

Global digital ad sales, including search, video and social banners, will remain stagnant at a one percent increase to $302 billion. Search will see a one percent decline and banner ads an 11 percent decline. Whereas social media and digital ad formats will increase by eight percent.

Linear will fare worse as consumers increasingly shift to digital channels during lockdowns; revenues from global ad sales are expected to drop 16 percent in 2020. Linear television ad revenues will decline 12 percent; print ad sales 32 percent; and out-of-home (OOH) 22 percent.

Magna’s findings show the US market will contract by just four percent, due in part to $5 billion in political ad sales and a three percent growth in digital media offsetting a sharp decline in linear ad sales (a loss of 17 percent).

Also in the US, ad spend on digital formats will stabilize in the summer and recover in the second half, with a two percent increase to $130 billion.

Despite the economic downturn, US ad sales saw a 3.5 percent increase in Q1, fueled by a 19 percent increase in digital video, 17 percent increase in social media and 12 percent increase in search. However, ad sales are expected to see a 17 percent decline in Q2. US ad sales will rebound in 2021 with a four percent gain.

In Q1, the US economy shrank by five percent, and is expected to see a 32 percent decline in Q2 as retail sales, car sales and clothing sales plummeted in April: 16 percent, 50 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Given many parts of the country have reopened, Magna expects ad spend will begin to stabilize in Q3 and recover in Q4.

Zoom And American Heart Association Create Program To Address Lockdown Fatigue

Virtual work meetings, concerts, therapy sessions, birthday parties, happy hours—COVID has thrust people’s lives into video calls, resulting in what’s been termed Zoom fatigue. To help people combat burnout and address mental wellbeing during lockdowns, Zoom has partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) Bay Area to launch a monthly webinar series that calls on employees to #TakeABreak.

The first Zoom webinar of the series, “Happy Half-Hour Mental Wellness Webinar” will start on July 16 at 4 p.m. PST to offer employees of Bay Area companies “fun, relaxing activities” around mental health strategies and tactics to approach telework. Employees can register here.

Through September the AHA and Zoom partnership will also provide resources for companies to support their employees’ mental wellbeing.

Lastly, the program will include an unspecified “new kind of happy hour” that encourages employees to spend an hour outdoors or with loved ones.

The #TakeABreak campaign will be funded by a $500,000 grant from the Zoom Cares Foundation to AHA.

Experts say that video calls wear on the psyche because the experience is devoid of the non-verbal cues that, in a physical interaction, normally help paint a holistic picture of what another person is conveying. In addition, if held too long, prolonged eye contact can feel overly intimate or threatening. 

Gallery view only exacerbates the issue, forcing our brains to decode so many people at once that it creates a prolonged split in attention. The result is a feeling of being drained while having accomplished nothing.

Despite the dawn of virtual spaces and Zoom fatigue, 35 percent of people say they’d like to continue working from home full-time after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Additionally, 38 percent of Americans say their view of the tech industry has become more positive since the start of the pandemic, the Harris Poll found in a survey conducted in early May.

The same report found that even when things return to normal, 67 percent of Americans are now more likely to have a virtual happy hour with friends vs. going to a bar (33 percent). At the same time, 73 percent are more likely to live stream sports at home vs. attending an in-person sports event (27 percent) and 79 percent are more likely to watch a movie at home vs. going to the movies (21 percent).

What We’re Reading–Week Of June 8th

We’re searching for the most pressing marketing insights this week.

Will COVID-19 Push Contactless Payments Into The Mainstream?

Retail Dive

As consumers get more comfortable shopping online in lockdown, they may be more inclined to use contactless payments after the pandemic ends though the data suggests mixed consumer habits. An early April report found that Apple Pay consumer usage peaked in late 2017 but has declined to about 5.1 percent of eligible transactions. Whereas a MasterCard survey found that 51 percent of US consumers are using some type of contactless payments.

Why it matters: As some stores remain closed, it’s difficult to determine where contactless payment adoption is growing. For brands, barriers to adoption include cost, training and reliable internet connectivity. The bottom line: Merchants should move at the same speed as consumers.

Programmatic Ad Spend Increasing: Three Strategies For Marketers During COVID-19 Recovery

Chief Marketer

As some parts of the country reopen, Peer39 CEO Mario Diez suggests the post-pandemic playbook will require marketers to pay attention to contingency planning, creative messaging and regional sentiment.

Why it matters: Given the suddenness of the pandemic, every media buy must now be executed with a clear backup plan in place, creative must be respectful of the different attitudes around COVID-19 and brands must layer in geographic data to their ad buys to ensure they understand varying regional sentiments while different parts of the country reopen. 

How Diverse Is Your Board, Really?

Harvard Business Review

In a study of the effects of cognitive diversity on board performance among eight underperforming companies, Harvard Business Review found that cognitively diverse directors helped expand the board’s understanding of the company’s strategic and operating issues and were more likely to ask tough questions and challenge management’s proposals. Identifying directors who can introduce new views and perspectives can also improve board decision-making. But for a board to benefit from this diversity, it must possess a culture that values diverse perspectives.

Why it matters: Companies interested in diversifying their boards should recruit demographically diverse director candidates who have strong business backgrounds and have experience in areas that meet the company’s current and anticipated needs; have in-depth discussions with the candidate about their background and life experiences; and involve multiple directors in the interview process, in a variety of settings, to get an accurate read of the candidate.

Apple Commits $100 Million To Racial Equity Initiative, Boosting Black Partners

Venture Beat

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple would dedicate $100 million toward supporting black developers with a new developer entrepreneurial camp, boost spending with black-owned partner companies, form a partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative and diversify its supply chain and workforce. Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, will lead the racial justice program.

Why it matters: Apple has a ways to go in achieving diversity, as just 24 percent of its workforce is made up of underrepresented minorities.

Sephora Commits To Stocking More Black-Owned Brands


Sephora currently carries just seven black-owned beauty brands, however, the beauty giant says it will offer a concrete plan for bringing the number up to 15 percent, as well as connect black entrepreneurs with venture capital and launch support. Additionally, it will refocus its small incubator program to highlight women entrepreneurs of color.

Why it matters: Sephora’s move is in response to a campaign fashion designer Aurora James launched this month called 15 Percent Pledge, which calls on major lifestyle retailers to make their supply chains comprise 15 percent black-owned businesses.

51% Of Marketing Professionals Expect Virtual Events To Stick Around, Survey Finds

Marketing Dive

A little over half (51 percent) of marketers believe live gatherings will feature some kind of virtual element after the pandemic, according to a new survey from The 614 Group, conducted from April 16 to May 13. Sixty-four percent of respondents see virtual events as a “way to meet new business prospects and generate leads” whereas 56 percent view live events as an opportunity to “spend quality time with current clients.”

Why it matters: Teleworking could either stymie the marketing business that’s reliant on in-person meetings or produce novel ways to forge connections.

Mini’s Marketing Chief On The Dive Into TikTok Advertising


Mini launched a TikTok campaign in May to promote its inaugural Mini Electric Hatch First Edition in Australia after having to dial down other channels like cinema and out-of-home amid the pandemic. The 15-second video enables viewers to experience the Mini website, configure a car and make a refundable deposit.

Why it matters: As per Mini’s head of marketing Alex McLean: “We really didn’t have much to base decisions on with regards to performance. Our position was to build our brand learnings so we can make greater decisions for campaigns down the track. We have another model arriving later this year, for example, and we can evaluate TikTok’s role in that mix based on insights from how we’ve performed with this electric product test.” 

There Are No Easy Answers For Our Biggest Global Problems

Harvard Business Review

Asking brands to be part of the solution to solve major global problems like poverty and climate change will not achieve social stability or environmental balance.

Why it matters: The pandemic is a reminder that the desire for easy solutions can be harmful if it preempts the implementation of dull but proven ones.

Refinery29 Founder Christene Barberich Steps Down As Editor-In-Chief In Response To Accusations Of Racism And Toxic Company Culture


Co-founder and global editor-in-chief of Refinery29 Christene Barberich has resigned after Refinery29 blacked out its homepage on June 2 for Blackout Tuesday, spurring some of its former black employees to speak out about pay disparities and a toxic company culture.

Why it matters: Barberich wrote: ”I will be stepping aside in my role at R29 to help diversify our leadership in editorial and ensure this brand and the people it touches can spark a new defining chapter. It’s time for a new generation of leadership that’s truly reflective of the diversity of our audience with divergent points of view.”

Virtually Perfect: Will Lockdown Lead To An Explosion In Agencies Without An Office?

The Drum

Pre-COVID, full-service virtual ad agencies were on the rise though they never really got any traction. Teleworking has forced the ad industry to adapt to virtually serving clients, making now an opportune moment to champion a new way of working.

Why it matters: While some see the office as a hotbed for agency culture to thrive, others believe that working remotely could give the industry a chance to retune its cultural norms.

Reddit Names Michael Seibel As New Board Member

This week in leadership updates, Reddit names Michael Seibel as Alexis Ohanian’s replacement as board member, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario steps down, McDonald’s promotes Alistair Macrow to global CMO, Instagram hires Melissa Waters as global head of marketing, Ford brings on Cheil UK CEO Peter Zillig as head of European marketing and Universal Music Group Nashville promotes Lori Christian to senior vice president of marketing.

Reddit Replaces Alexis Ohanian With Michael Seibel As New Board Member

Following Alexis Ohanian’s resignation from Reddit’s board, Reddit has named Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel as his replacement.

In announcing he would be stepping down, Ohanian asked to be replaced by a black candidate.

Seibel co-founded before it became Twitch, as well as Socialcam before selling it to Autodesk in 2012.

Patagonia Chief Executive Officer Rose Marcario Steps Down

After 12 years with Patagonia and the last six as its CEO, Rose Marcario is leaving the company, noting that the team has been planning her succession since late 2019.

Patagonia COO Doug Freeman will lead the transition until Patagonia finds a replacement.

McDonald’s Names Alistair Macrow As Global Chief Marketing Officer

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski has announced the promotion of Alistair Macrow, former CMO of McDonald’s international business, to the role of global CMO. The news comes after the position sat empty for 11 months.

Macrow replaces Colin Mitchell, who led McDonald’s marketing team since July 2019.

Instagram Appoints Melissa Waters As Global Head Of Marketing

According to Variety, Instagram has hired Melissa Waters as global head of marketing.

Waters comes from Hims & Hers, where she served as CMO. Prior to that, she was VP of marketing at Lyft for two years and before that, VP of brand and product marketing at Pandora.

Ford Names Peter Zillig As Director, Brand And Marketing Communications For Europe

Ford has hired Peter Zillig as director, brand and marketing communications for Europe, according to Campaign. Effective July 1, Zillig will report to Roelant de Waard and be responsible for strengthening Ford’s “Bring on tomorrow” brand positioning.

Zillig joins from Samsung-owned agency Cheil UK, where he served as CEO for three and a half years.

Universal Music Group Nashville Appoints Lori Christian As Senior Vice President Of Marketing

Universal Music Group Nashville has promoted Lori Christian to SVP of marketing after she led the company’s publicity department since 2012. In her new role Christian will manage media marketing, brands and sponsorship, international marketing and creative services departments for the label group’s 36 artists as well as the media site Sounds Like Nashville.

Prior to Universal Music Group Nashville, Christian oversaw the publicity department at Capitol Records Nashville and managed publicity for Sony Music’s RCA Records label.

Kids Spend Nearly As Much Time On TikTok As On YouTube

This week in social media news, kids spend almost as much time on TikTok as they do on YouTube during lockdowns, Twitter tests a new prompt to prevent users from retweeting articles they haven’t read, the EU calls on tech giants to produce monthly reports detailing their COVID misinformation practices, Twitter confirms it’s testing a new verification system and more.

TikTok Viewership Among Kids Equals Nearly That Of YouTube

Kids spend an average of 85 minutes per day watching YouTube videos compared with 80 minutes per day spent on TikTok, according to Qustodio’s first study on children’s digital habits, which surveyed 60,000 families with kids aged 4 to 15 years old in the US, the UK and Spain, from February 2019 to April 2020. 

Why it matters: The data shows how quickly TikTok has risen to the top among young viewers, indicating a threat to YouTube’s reign. The trend will likely continue as Qustodio found that TikTok drove growth of social app use by 100 percent in 2019 and 200 percent in 2020.

The details: Children are now watching twice as many YouTube videos per day as they did four years ago, with kids in the US spending an average of 100 minute a day on YouTube as a result of COVID lockdowns.

Between May 2019 and February 2020, kids’ average viewership on TikTok grew 116 percent in the US to 82 minutes; 97 percent in the UK to 69 minutes; and 150 percent in Spain to 60 minutes.

During lockdowns, kids are spending an average of 95 minutes a day on TikTok, just two minutes less than time spent on YouTube, 97 minutes.

Among kids, Roblox is the most popular video game app, played by 54 percent of kids in the US and 51 percent of kids in the UK. 

Educational apps have become household names too, with 65 percent of kids in Spain using Google Classroom.

Qustodio will publish these insights on an annual basis.

Twitter Tests New Prompt Asking Users If They Want To Read An Article Before Retweeting It

Twitter, citing the powerful but sometimes dangerous effect of retweeting articles, is testing a prompt on Android that would ask users if they want to open an article first before retweeting it in hopes that they’ll read it before retweeting it.

Why it matters: The prompt in testing comes as Twitter attempts to slow the spread of misinformation, which first started by labeling Trump’s inaccurate and/or violent tweets.

The details: As per Twitter product chief officer Kayvon Beykpour: “It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter. This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading. This feature (on Android for now) encourages people to read a linked article prior to Retweeting it.”

If a user tries retweeting an article they haven’t opened, a prompt would appear that notes “Headlines don’t tell the full story. Want to read this before Retweeting?” Then users can choose from three options: read, retweet or retweet with comment.

EU Requests Tech Giants Publish Monthly Reports On How They Combat Fake COVID News

The EU, worried that misinformation about COVID-19 on social media platforms could prolong the effects of the crisis, has launched a program calling on Google, Facebook and Twitter to produce reports on how they’re preventing the spread of misinformation about COVID.

Why it matters: The fight against misinformation is especially important now as scientists rush to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, which could be met with resistance from the anti-vaccine community.

The details: Google, Facebook and Twitter all told The Verge they support the EU’s efforts and have accelerated efforts to slow the spread of misinformation; Google and Facebook said they’ll release new monthly reports and Twitter, though unsure how it’ll present this information, will for now regularly update its COVID-19 blog.

Twitter Testing New, Transparent Verification System

Twitter is reviving its public submission form for verifications with the addition of a new “Request Verification” option, which reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong first spotted before Twitter confirmed the feature.

Why it matters: Twitter’s verification system came under fire in 2017 when users learned the platform gave a blue checkmark to Jason Kessler, the creator of a fatal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twitter thereafter removed the public submission form for verifications, though in 2018 it announced shifted efforts to verify political candidates. Most recently, Twitter verified the accounts of health experts who were tweeting factual COVID-19 information.

The details: Twitter told TechCrunch that its improved in-app verification system will include public documents showing what qualifies a Twitter user to be verified. This marks the first time the app will provide transparency on its rules around verification.

Facebook Adds An Insights Update To Comments

Facebook is working on a new feature that provides users with comment engagement stats, as noticed by social media expert Matt Navarra.

Why it matters: Revealing a user’s comment performance could incentivize people to comment more, which would result in an increase in activity for Facebook.

The details: Navarra’s screenshots show Facebook’s comment insights would be viewable as an update under “See more insights.” There Facebook would show a percentage figure related to how many more reactions and impressions your posts received when you’ve added a comment. Comments that generate more engagement would yield this note from Facebook: “When you comment on posts, people tend to connect with you more deeply.”

TikTok To Open Transparency Center In Washington D.C.

In a company post, TikTok chief information security officer Roland Cloutier laid out the app’s plan to strengthen its data privacy practices including the opening of a transparency center in Washington D.C. and a bi-yearly transparency report.

Why it matters: TikTok’s move to enhance its security infrastructure follows the opening of its first transparency center in Los Angeles in March.

The details: TikTok says it’s also working on a centralized global security function outside of the US which it will deploy across all the markets it serves. In Washington D.C., TikTok plans to hire 100 security, data and privacy protection experts by the end of 2020.

TikTok’s goal with the transparency centers is to “give lawmakers and experts the opportunity to look under the hood of TikTok.” 

Cloutier also notes that TikTok has been working with firms to ensure its compliance with globally recognized security standards.

Zoom Reports A 169 Percent Surge In Q1 Revenue

According to its first-quarter results, Zoom’s revenue surged 169 percent year-over-year to $328.2 million in Q1.

Why it matters: Zoom has become the go-to video calling service to stay connected during coronavirus, leading the company to raise its revenue forecast for 2020 to nearly $1.8 billion, or a doubling of prior projections of nearly $915 million.

The details: Zoom’s strong Q1 performance includes a 354 percent increase year-over-year to 265,400 businesses with over 10 employees that use Zoom and a 90 percent increase year-over-year to 769 customers contributing over $100,000 in trailing 12 months revenue.

On a call with analysts, CFO Kelly Steckelberg said Zoom plans to increase its internal capacity and rely less on outside services in order to cut costs.

Instagram Tests Content Recommendation Listings, Suggested And Older

Instagram is testing a new format in the main feed that would split post recommendations into two sections, one marked as “Suggested” and the other as “Older.”

Why it matters: Splitting the feed into two sections could help brands who use Instagram’s selling capabilities reach more people via suggested posts.

The details: The split content recommendation listings would appear after a user has scrolled through all the new posts in their feed and gotten the “You’re All Caught Up” notice. Then they’d have a chance to scroll suggested posts or scroll older posts they’ve already viewed.

Twitter Reaches Record-Breaking Weekly Installs Amid Black Lives Matter Protests

Twitter exceeded its record for weekly installs, according to data from Apptopia and Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: In the past week Black Lives Matter protesters heavily used Twitter to share footage from demonstrations and share messages in support of racial justice, likely leading to Twitter’s milestone.

The details: Apptopia reports that on June 3, Twitter saw 677,000 worldwide downloads and 140,000 installs in the US alone. Sensor Tower, on the other hand, says Twitter experienced over a million installs on June 1—the most single-day installs since the firm started analyzing app store data—and around 1 million installs on June 2.  

Alexis Ohanian Leaves Reddit Board In Support Of Racial Justice

In a post on his website, founder and former CEO of Reddit Alexis Ohanian announced his resignation from Reddit’s board, calling on the company to fill his position with a black board member.

Why it matters: Reddit is not without its own history of inaction against racism. Not only did it once continue hosting subcommunities like The_Donald and blackpeoplehate before banning them or removing them from search, it also faced backlash when over a dozen employees quit after interim CEO Ellen Pao stepped down in 2015 due to issues over race.

The details: As per Ohanian: “I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”

Current Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said the company would honor Ohanian’s request to replace him with a black board member.

In addition to leaving the board, Ohanian says he will be using future gains from his Reddit stock to donate $1 million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

Facebook Publishes Group Admin Tips On Navigating Conversations Around Race

Facebook has published a comprehensive list of starting tips for group admins who may be unsure of how to manage important discussions around racial justice.

Why it matters: Facebook’s guidance comes at a time when the company’s CEO faces backlash for taking a hands-off approach to President Trump’s controversial posts about the current Black Lives Matter movement and protesters.

The details: Facebook recommends that group admins educate themselves and their team on issues before engaging with conversations with members. Other ways that admins can approach conversations on race include: diversifying their team by enlisting advocates to host live training with your group; acknowledging current events via an announcement to your community and outlining how your community will engage moving forward; deciding whether or not to institute post approval to review incoming posts, setting up keyword alerts and turning off comments; and listening to member feedback to address burnout.