This week in social media news, TikTok hires a chief information officer to keep watch on data and rolls out new native analytics tools, Facebook pulls out of SXSW and more.

TikTok Taps Roland Cloutier As Chief Information Officer

Roland Cloutier joins TikTok to serve as chief information officer, a role which puts him in charge of the company’s efforts to protect user data.

Why it matters: As the lead cybersecurity executive, Cloutier will be in a position to address concerns over how data is used and stored, particularly after accusations surfaced purporting that the company was secretly gathering user data.

The details: The Wall Street Journal reports that Roland Cloutier has joined TikTok as CIO and is tasked with leading the company’s security efforts. He previously served as chief security officer for ADP.

Facebook Expands Authorization Requirements For Political Ads

If you plan on running political ads on Facebook, you’ll need to provide some identification. See the latest press release from Facebook here.

Why it matters: Facebook is approaching 2020 with caution after widespread abuse of the platform during the 2016 US election.

The details: If you’re planning to run ads about elections or politics in countries like Chile, Japan, Mexico or Indonesia, you’ll need to confirm your identity with an ID issued from the country you want to run ads in, as well as providing disclosure regarding who is responsible for the advertisement.

Twitter Safety Updates Rules Against Hateful Conduct

Twitter updated its hateful conduct rules to require tweets disparaging of age, disease, disability or religion to be deleted.

Why it matters: Twitter cites Dr. Susan Benesch as well as Nick Haslam and Michelle Stratemeyer in their work on the link between dehumanizing language and its offline harm.

The details
: “If reported, Tweets that break this rule pertaining to age, disease and/or disability, sent before today will need to be deleted, but will not directly result in any account suspensions because they were Tweeted before the rule was in place.”

Facebook Has Removed 6.6 Billion Fake Profiles In The Last Year

In response to the need for more aggressive monitoring of fake profiles, Facebook revamped its plan with an advanced machine learning system called Deep Entity Classification (DEC).

Why it matters: With over 2.5 billion active users worldwide, many advertisers are concerned about Facebook’s reach numbers given the abundance of fake Facebook accounts.

The details: In 2018, Facebook’s face account percentage neared four percent of its monthly active user (MAU) count, equating to 88 million fake profiles. That same year it removed 583 million fake accounts in one quarter. This year, Facebook has removed 6.6 billion fake profiles thanks to DEC, a detection tool that spots fake accounts based on a broader range of attributes and behaviors. DEC looks at the behavioral patterns of profiles including properties of the profiles, groups or pages that a user has made contact with. Still, Facebook’s fake profile percentage is five percent, which equates to 125 million fake accounts.

YouTube Demonetizes Videos That Mention Coronavirus 

YouTube has previously demonetized videos about sensitive subjects to protect advertisers. Now the coronavirus outbreak is being labeled as such, upsetting some influencers.

Why it matters: In 2019, YouTube made $15 billion in ad revenue alone. In keeping advertisers happy with less mention of the coronavirus, however, YouTube is ruffling influencers’ feathers, who, if they speak about coronavirus, won’t be able to make money from YouTube’s built-in ad service. 

The details: Tom Leung, product officer at YouTube said in a recent video, “As such, all videos focused on this topic will be demonetized until further notice.” Yet YouTube told The Verge that channels dedicated to covering sensitive subjects should be safe from demonetization. 

WeChat Has Been Censoring Coronavirus Content Since January 2020

A report from research group Citizen Lab found that WeChat started censoring key words about the virus outbreak before officials began acknowledging its severity.

Why it matters: China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat has over one billion monthly active users, making it one source for doctors to obtain professional knowledge from peers. Blocking references to the virus could risk the ability of the public to share information essential to their health.

The details: WeChat expanded the scope of censorship in February, blocking content that included rumors about the epidemic, criticism of the government and neutral references to the Chinese government’s efforts on managing the outbreak. Citizen Lab found that WeChat censored 132 keyboard combinations between January 1-31 and 384 keywords between February 1-15.

Facebook’s Fact-Checking Label System Has One Major Flaw

A new analysis from MIT shows Facebook’s fact-checking labels, which it launched in 2016, are helpful in detecting fake news, but have one major flaw: any story that Facebook doesn’t mark as fact-checked automatically looks more credible to users.

Why it matters: MIT’s findings show that Facebook’s fact-check labels reduce users’ tendency to share fake news by 13 percent but increase the credibility of untagged fake news by six percent.

The details: MIT says, “In Study, we find that while warnings do lead to a modest reduction in perceived accuracy of false headlines relative to a control condition (particularly for politically concordant headlines), we also observed the hypothesized implied truth effect: the presence of warnings caused untagged headlines to be seen as more accurate than in the control. In Study, we find the same effects in the context of decisions about which headlines to consider sharing on social media.”

Twitter Is Testing Tweets That Expire Called ‘Fleets’ In Brazil

Twitter said in a blog post that users have expressed interest in fleeting tweets to remove some of the pressure that comes with posting public tweets that are permanent.

Why it matters: Testing Snapchat-like tweets in Brazil follows Twitter’s efforts to give users more control over conversation. In November 2019, it made the option to hide tweet replies available to everyone around the world. 

The details: Twitter group product manager Mo Aladham said, “Twitter is for having conversations about what you care about. But, some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to tweet because tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts (retweets and likes).”  Ephemeral tweets would show up the same way that Instagram stories do at the top of users’ feeds. From there, users can type a tweet, which with this feature won’t have a like or retweet option. The tweet will disappear after 24 hours.

Byte Dedicates $250,000 To The First Pool Of Its Creator Program

Byte said in a blog post that come spring it’ll launch its Partner Program, a revenue-generating initiative for its creators.

Why it matters: The fall of Byte’s predecessor Vine was in large part due to the app’s lack of revenue generating options for influencers. Now Byte is taking steps to ensure influencers have an incentive to keep creating quality content.  

The details: Byte said it will establish a Partner Pool every 120 days that pays creators every 30 days over four months. Byte dedicated $250,000 to the first pool of 100 creators, which will hit the ground running on April 15. Creators must be based in the US as Byte works on expanding international efforts. Byte says it will reach out to influencers, but that anyone who regularly makes great Bytes and is a positive member of the community is eligible.

Facebook Redesigns Plans For New Digital Currency Libra

In an attempt to address regulatory concerns, Facebook is revamping its cryptocurrency project Libra to accommodate coins issued by central banks and backed by other currencies, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: If Libra is recast as a payment network that operates with multiple coins rather than as a single, global cryptocurrency, some consumers may not see the appeal and stick with existing systems run by PayPal, for example. 

The details: When Facebook first announced Libra, its goal was to create a digital currency that made sending money as easy as sending a text. Now Facebook is changing its tune to appease lawmakers and officials, some who said Libra could potentially undermine sovereignty of its own currencies.

YouTube, Facebook Stories See Strong Growth

According to Animoto’s Social Video Trends: Marketer Insights for 2020 report, Facebook stories and YouTube are where brands need to be in 2020.

Why it matters: Consumers are increasingly using social and digital videos to discover and research new products, making it a top channel for brands to invest in. Pew Research shows that 73 percent of adults in the US use YouTube.

The details: Animoto surveyed 1,000 US adult consumers that own smartphones, use social media and have watched social media videos as well as 500 US marketers that have created at least one video in the past year. The findings show that 73 percent of marketers uploaded two or more marketing videos to YouTube in the last month. Fifty-nine percent of marketers surveyed have run video ads on YouTube in the last 12 months. Facebook stories was rated one of the top three platforms to watch videos from brands and 72 percent of marketers post branded content to Facebook stories once a week or more.

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace Now Has Analytics Tools

TikTok is rolling out new analytics tools to Creator Marketplace, the burgeoning platform’s native influencer marketing solution.

Why it matters: By baking analytics tools into its platform, TikTok is able to control the data they share instead of leaving this up to a third-party analytics tool; since this data comes from the platform itself, it should also be more accurate.

The details: The new campaign analytics will include data on views, engagements, engagement rate and audience breakdown including top markets, gender, age range and device.

Facebook Pulls Out Of SXSW Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Facebook won’t be attending SXSW this year, instead erring to the side of caution due to growing concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.

Why it matters: Your schedule is likely a lot lighter this year due to widespread concerns over Coronavirus. Facebook is just the latest company to drop out of planned marketing activities around SXSW, while Mobile World Congress and GDC have been canceled altogether.

The details: Facebook has pulled out of SXSW amid concerns over Coronavirus, as well as nixing its F8 event. SXSW organizers are proceeding with the event as planned at this time.

Twitch To Surpass 40 Million US Users By 2021

eMarketer reports that, according to the first-ever forecast for the platform, Twitch is set to surpass 40 million US by the end of 2021.

Why it matters: Twitch is an impossible platform to ignore, reaching 15.5 percent of US digital video views this year. It’s also primed for growth around non-gaming content which drove significant traffic last year.

The details: Twitch will grow by 14.3 percent this year and is already the “largest platform for streaming game content, well ahead of YouTube, Mixer and Facebook Gaming,” according to eMarketer forecaster Peter Vahle.

Poshmark Finds 58% Of Consumers Would Buy Items On Social Media

Poshmark’s 2020 Social Commerce Report found that 58 percent of consumers are comfortable buying items through a social media platform instead of directly from a company’s website and 75 percent are okay buying something directly from a person online.

Why it matters: The findings mirror the growth of the resale market, which ThredUp estimates will reach $51 billion in five years. The findings also highlight the growth of peer-to-peer transactions, which Etsy is helping lead the way— its revenue increased 46.8 percent in Q4 2019, up from 41.3 percent in Q3 and 30.2 percent in Q2.  

The details: The report found that of all the sellers on Poshmark in 2019, 48 percent used a portion of their earnings to also make a purchase on the platform in the same year. Nearly 40 percent of the items in Poshmark users’ closets are secondhand. Generation-specific findings include: resale is trending among Gen Z and Gen X, millennials’ wardrobes straddle traditional mall brands and emerging brands and Boomers look to value chains more than any other generation. About 20 percent of Poshmark users are Gen Z and 35 percent of all US Poshmark sellers live in the South.

The findings are based on online surveys conducted by Zogby Analytics of 8,573 respondents, a majority of Poshmark users and some non-users, aged 18-75, in the US and Canada. 

New AI-Powered Facebook Feature Turns Any 2D Images Into 3D 

Facebook is upgrading its 3D Photos features, which launched in 2018, with a new option to transform static images into 3D photos, it announced in a blog post. It’s also working on enabling high-quality depth estimation for videos captured on mobile devices.

Why it matters: Up until now, Facebook’s 3D image option has been limited to higher-end devices. Now the new feature will apply to any image, captured on any device, be it Android, iOS, or a “decades-old images recently uploaded to a phone or laptop.”

The details: Facebook says it trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) on millions of pairs of public 3D images and their accompanying depth maps and used Facebook artificial intelligence-powered mobile-optimization techniques to create the feature. It’s available on iPhone 7 or higher or a recent midrange or better Android device. 

Facebook Rolls Out New Faster, Smaller Messenger App

Over the next few weeks, Facebook is rolling out a newer, faster version of messenger on iOS, which became its own app in 2011.

Why it matters: A more responsive messenger iOS app that doesn’t take up as much battery or storage will improve user experience for those using an older device and in areas with lower connectivity. Facebook writes in a blog post that the new messenger also, “lays the foundation to fulfill our vision for private messaging and interoperability across apps, allowing us to scale our messaging experience in the future.”

The details: The new messenger app will be one-quarter the size and load twice as fast. Facebook says it reduced messenger’s core code by 84 percent, rebuilding its features to fit the new lighter infrastructure. During the rebuild, some messenger features will be temporarily unavailable, but Facebook plans to bring them back soon.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, March 6. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at