This week in social media news, a study by North Carolina State University finds Facebook’s interest targeting is inaccurate about 30 percent of the time, Pinterest expands its creator fund to support underrepresented influencers and Twitter tests a feature that enables two accounts to co-author a single tweet.

Researchers Find 30% Of Interest Categories Facebook Creates For Users Are Inaccurate 

A study conducted by North Carolina State University revealed that the interest categories Facebook creates for users so advertisers can target consumers are accurate only about two-thirds of the time. The 34-page paper, “Analyzing the Impact and Accuracy of Facebook Activity on Facebook’s Ad-Interest Inference Process,” found that 33 percent of Facebook’s inferred interests were inaccurate or irrelevant.

Why it matters: If Facebook is unable to guarantee that 100 percent of the inferred interests of Facebook users aren’t actually of interest, advertisers are potentially wasting two-thirds of their advertising spend on users who aren’t even interested in the ads they’re serving them on Facebook.

The details: The researchers evaluated which activities resulted in interests and found that very naive activities, such as only viewing/scrolling through a page, led to an interest inference. They found 33.22 percent of the inferred interests were inaccurate or irrelevant.

To understand if their findings hold for a large and diverse sample, the university recruited 147 individuals globally to download a Google Chrome extension. 

The participants reported a similar range of inaccuracy—29 percent—as observed in the researchers’ controlled experiments.

The details of Facebook’s algorithms creating these inferences “remain a black box,” said the researchers, adding that Facebook doesn’t seem to factor in sentiment when collecting interests. For example, posting a negative comment on a Harry Potter page led to interests in Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe.

Pinterest Expands Creator Fund To Support International And Underrepresented Creators

Pinterest recently announced updates to its Creator Fund, including new opportunities for creators of color, creators with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to participate and receive hands-on support.

Pinterest will announce a new fund cycle every quarter, with each cycle focused on a different content area. For its first 2022 cycle—fashion and beauty—Pinterest invites US influencers in the space to apply. Future cycles will include topics like food, lifestyle and wellness.

Why it matters: The Pinterest Creator Fund has helped prominent creators increase their presence on the app and earn substantial followings—for some, as many as 75 percent more followers after completion of the platform’s program. 

According to Pinterest, dividing each cycle by content area will facilitate community building, personalized training and deeper insights.

For marketers, the expansion means more diverse storytelling and the ability to create impactful pins. 

The details: Pinterest, which just increased its creator fund to $1.2 million, has decided to expand the program with the following updates:

  • This year’s first cycle will be sponsored by L’Oréal USA, which will be directly reaching out to content creators about possible partnerships and gifting beauty products. 
  • The program has also been expanded to five weeks, affording creators more time and resources to develop their skills and execute strategies.
  • Some creators will receive $25,000 in the form of a cash grant, ad credits and an equipment stipend. Those individuals will also receive a first look at new Pinterest products.
  • The US-based fund will be expanding to include underrepresented creators in Brazil and the UK later this year.
  • The fashion and beauty cycle is open to US creators who fit the following criteria and apply through Pinterest’s online form: they specialize in fashion or beauty content; identify as one of the following underrepresented creator groups: people of color, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community; currently have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on Pinterest, or on other platforms; have not yet monetized your content, on Pinterest or on other platforms; and have made at least one Idea Pin.

Twitter Tests Feature Allowing Two Accounts To Co-Author Single Tweet

Twitter has recently begun exploring the ability for two users to co-author a single tweet, according to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Other than simply encouraging collaboration on the app, the feature will enable brands to engage with other brands—at the time of collab launches—and followers in a new way that will likely boost visibility of their messaging

The details: Twitter’s co-author feature, which is still in the development phase, would afford two accounts to author one tweet. According to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, who has been posting evidence of the feature’s development since at least December 2021, there seems to be a new dialog box from Twitter about how the tweet collaborations could work. 

The change may have come in response to Instagram’s Collabs feature launched late last year that enables two accounts to co-author a Reel or post. According to Paluzzi, Twitter users seeking to engage the feature will only be able to co-author with public users who follow already you and who accept the invite. The co-authored tweets will be shared with followers on both accounts as both avatars appear on the top left side of the post.