Spodek & Co https://spodekandco.com Digital Communications Fri, 13 Sep 2019 13:35:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://spodekandco.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cropped-SpodekCoIcon-32x32.png Spodek & Co https://spodekandco.com 32 32 The Weekly Download – September 13, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/09/the-weekly-download-september-13-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/09/the-weekly-download-september-13-2019.html#respond Fri, 13 Sep 2019 13:33:40 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7828 It might be Friday the 13th, but you’re about to get lucky! It’s time once again for The Weekly Download. On the docket today: what’s new from Apple, how Facebook will pick the news you see in its app, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu’s amazing US Open win, how you can “date” Colonel Sanders (yes, really), the […]

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It might be Friday the 13th, but you’re about to get lucky! It’s time once again for The Weekly Download.

On the docket today: what’s new from Apple, how Facebook will pick the news you see in its app, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu’s amazing US Open win, how you can “date” Colonel Sanders (yes, really), the aftermath of an “insensitive” 9/11 Instagram caption, and more. 

Everything New from Apple

There are lots of new products rolling out from Apple in the coming weeks/months, as announced at the company’s biggest event of the year, held this past Tuesday.

The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max (phew, what a mouthful!) will be hitting shelves next Friday, September 20, and boast better cameras, improved battery life, and more.

Other new products added to the lineup: Apple Watch Series 5, a new iPad and the company’s much anticipated new streaming service, Apple TV Plus, which will launch November 1 and cost just $5 a month.

What product are you most excited about after watching Apple’s unveiling this week?

How Facebook Will Choose the News You See in its App

Facebook is close to introducing its ‘news tab’ to the platform, but people are curious as to how content will be curated for the new feature. Some of the guidelines that the company’s “news curators” will be following as they select news for the platform were released this week, and a few of them are surprising.

For starters, news curators won’t be allowed to censor or hide stories that are critical of Facebook – a very good thing, especially given some of the company’s ethical and technical failings as of late.

News stories with headlines that feature profanity won’t be allowed, nor will articles “constructed to provoke, divide, and polarize.” News curators will have to wait until two “whitelisted media outlets” have reported a breaking news story based on an “unsubstantiated report” before a story is included.

Lastly, local news outlets and stories with “on the record” sources will be prioritized by curators. 

You Can Now Date Colonel Sanders Thanks to KFC’s New App

It’s true — you can now “date” the Colonel himself.

Thanks to a new dating game developed by KFC in collaboration with Psyop, I Love You Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator, will allow users to “be the business partner of and win the heart of the most famous chicken salesman of all time…”

No, really.

It’s a bit of fun, and another in a line of somewhat ridiculous (but effective!) marketing moves by KFC (remember the KFC hot tub?). And it’s gaining lots of traction and attention online. We’re sure the Colonel is smiling.  

Bianca Andreescu Wins the US Open (and Our Hearts)

Nineteen year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu was the talk of the internet this past week with her history making win over Serena Williams at the US Open finals last Saturday. 

Since then, she’s become a national hero, snagging the keys to her hometown of Mississauga, making the rounds on daytime and late night television, owning the hashtag #SheTheNorth, and receiving shoutouts from fellow Canadians to congratulate her on her epic victory.

During an appearance on Jimmy Fallon, Andreescu smiled as she recounted all the fabulous Canadians who reached out to celebrate, including Shania Twain, Justin Trudeau, Steve Nash and Alessia Cara, but one famous Canuck was missing from the list.

 

We are happy to report that Drake finally made good, sending a congratulatory text to Andreescu that she happily read out loud during a press conference.

 

View this post on Instagram

#Drake finally messaged #BiancaAndreescu 😂

A post shared by TSN (@tsn_official) on

Kristin Cavallari Fires Social Media Staffer Following “Insensitive” 9/11 Caption

Reality star and fashion designer Kristin Cavallari has reportedly made some staffing changes after a social media manager posted a 9/11 caption on her Instagram account.

After Cavallari was labelled “insensitive” for the post, which featured her wearing a low-cut black dress posing in New York City with the caption “NYC for 24hrs. And what a time to be here… always remember”.

View this post on Instagram

NYC for 24hrs.

A post shared by Kristin Cavallari (@kristincavallari) on

The post gained a lot of negative feedback from fans, like “Wrong picture for the sentiment in the post”, and “this is just disrespectful and undermining to the magnitude of the events that occurred on that horrific day”.

According to her team, Cavallari had approved a caption for the image, but it was not the one that ended up on her page. A statement was later released confirming “a staffer was fired”.

While the caption has since been edited, the comments still remain.

Friday Fun

The History of Music Video Dancing (with Jennifer Lopez & Jimmy Fallon)

If you haven’t seen this video that’s making the rounds online yet, do yourself a favour and watch ASAP!

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The Weekly Download – September 6, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/09/the-weekly-download-september-6-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/09/the-weekly-download-september-6-2019.html#respond Fri, 06 Sep 2019 13:36:31 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7822 Welcome back to The Weekly Download!  Here’s what you might’ve missed this week: lots of Facebook news – including new pop-up windows to stop the spread of misinformation, changes to the platform’s tagging feature, and another user data information leak. Plus, details about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account hack, and some mind-boggling Friday fun! Twitter […]

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Welcome back to The Weekly Download! 

Here’s what you might’ve missed this week: lots of Facebook news – including new pop-up windows to stop the spread of misinformation, changes to the platform’s tagging feature, and another user data information leak. Plus, details about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account hack, and some mind-boggling Friday fun!

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Account Was Compromised

Last Friday, a slew of inappropriate and racist tweets were sent out by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after his account was compromised.

We won’t repost the hateful content here, but the inflammatory tweets stayed visible on his profile for about half an hour — garnered thousands of likes and retweets during that time — before they were eventually deleted. Yikes.

According to Twitter, the phone number associated with Dorsey’s account had been compromised because of a “security oversight” by a mobile phone company. The company says there was “no indication that Twitter’s systems have been compromised.”

Dorsey has come under fire in recent years for Twitter’s response (or lack thereof) to hate speech, extremism and harassment on the platform.

Facebook Debuts Vaccine Pop-Up Windows

There’s a new feature on both Facebook and Instagram to help combat the spread of misinformation when it comes to vaccines.

An educational pop-up window will appear on the social media platform when a user searches for vaccine-related content, visits vaccine-related Facebook groups and pages, or taps a vaccine-related hashtag on Instagram. 

According to CNN, Users in the United States will be prompted to connect with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for credible information on vaccines. Users outside the US will be connected to the World Health Organization.

With many parents turning to social media to access health information and connect with other parents, the CDC says it can be difficult to determine what is accurate and who credible sources of information are.

The new feature will aim to combat “vaccine myths” and encourage consumption of accurate content.

Facebook Changes Tag Suggestions for Uploaded Photos

After an historic $5 billion FTC fine, Facebook is changing the way it suggests tags for the photos you upload.

Previously, when you uploaded a photo to Facebook, the app would suggest potential people it identified in the photo for you to tag. Well, that’s now flipped! Instead, if you opt-in to face-recognition functionality, Facebook will suggest photos you should be tagged in (rather than suggesting those tags to whoever uploaded the photo) – basically putting the power back in your hands (rather than relying on AI) – and ensuring you’re not tagged in pics without your permission.

This change is subtle, but important — especially amid Facebook’s ongoing privacy concerns. 

A Database of Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Found Online

Oh, and speaking of Facebook’s ongoing privacy concerns…! Hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts were found online this week.

A server containing more than 419 million personal records over several databases was accessed — quite easily — because it wasn’t protected with a password.

Each record contained a user’s unique Facebook ID and the phone number listed on the account, making it easy to then discover the account’s username. 

Some records also included the user’s name, gender, and location by country.

According to Facebook, the data set discovered online is “old” and appears to have information obtained before the company removed the ability to find others on the platform using their phone numbers. But the question remains as to who scraped this data and why.

Friday Fun

These Moving Illusions Will Leave You Scratching Your Head

For Friday Fun this week, we’re sharing something a little different. This series of optical illusion animations are truly mind-boggling, and might make you rethink how you “see” the world! Click through to give your brain a fun challenge!

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The Weekly Download – August 30, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-30-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-30-2019.html#respond Fri, 30 Aug 2019 14:00:00 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7816 Labour Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, but don’t worry! We’ve got another edition of The Weekly Download to brighten your day. On the agenda today: how an influencer is being blackmailed for her own content, people are stepping up to save the Amazon, the ups and downs of TikTok’s virality, and Google […]

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Labour Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, but don’t worry! We’ve got another edition of The Weekly Download to brighten your day.

On the agenda today: how an influencer is being blackmailed for her own content, people are stepping up to save the Amazon, the ups and downs of TikTok’s virality, and Google offers a bug bounty. And for Friday Fun, we’re sharing how Toronto fans made the best of an abrupt end to a Jonas Brothers concert this week.

Influencer’s Instagram Content Used Against Her in Blackmail Efforts

Influencer Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa has gone public with a story about an anonymous blackmailer targeting her through her Instagram content.

Amouranth, a Twitch star, had several Instagram posts and stories removed for being “inappropriate,” even though the posts complied with Instagram’s policies. Then, the demands for money started.

The blackmailer (claiming to work for Cognizant, an American tech firm that does content moderation for Facebook and Instagram), contacted Amouranth and demanded a monthly payment of 0.25 bitcoin (roughly $2,600) to keep her content and account – her main sources of income – online. 

Amouranth suspects this blackmailer actually works for Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) based on the inside knowledge they’ve shared within their emails and threats, but hasn’t been able to get confirmation from the social media giant. Instead, Facebook maintains that the posts were removed due to violation of Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

It’s a strange story, but sadly, one that might become more common as we see the increasing value of online content – especially for those that make it their livelihood.

Tech Companies, Celebs, and Government All Work to Help Preserve the Amazon

After a record number of fires ravaged the Amazon, a number of companies, philanthropists and governments have stepped up to donate and lend support in hopes of preserving the region.

Among the donors and volunteers: Apple, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Scientists have already recorded more than 74,000 fires in Brazil this year, almost doubling the number of fires recorded in 2018.

Is TikTok a Time Bomb?

TikTok is a highly addictive app that has captured the attention of teens everywhere. Users can record funny 15-second videos and use TikTok to incorporate music and effects. Teens are spending more time on TikTok than Facebook, and, fun fact – it’s where Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” got its extremely viral start.

It sounds harmless enough, but should we be worried about the app’s approach to leveraging user data and AI? An article published this week by Fast Company takes a deeper dive into the app, its parent company, and its quick rise to fame – mainly with the help of billions of ad dollars and hefty influencer deals.

According to Bloomberg, “Within a day, the app can get to know you so well it feels like it’s reading your mind.” While it makes for a customized browsing experience, it also comes with concerns; on one hand, TikTok’s algorithms highlight the potential of AI and machine learning, but it’s also worrisome in the age of user data misuse.

Have you used TikTok? Tell us in the comments below.

Google Will Pay Security Researchers to Discover User Data Misuse

And speaking of user data misuse, Google will be paying security researchers who find “verifiably and unambiguous evidence” of data abuse using its platforms.

It’s the company’s way of catching those who misuse user data collected through Android apps or Chrome extensions, and also avoid a major scandal (ahem, Facebook).

Google says anyone who identifies “situations where user data is being used or sold unexpectedly, or repurposed in an illegitimate way without user consent” is eligible for a “bug bounty” payout.

While Google hasn’t yet divulged just how much cash is in it for those who catch instances of user data misuse, it’s estimated that a single report could net $50,000.

Friday Fun

When Tech Issues Stopped a Jonas Brothers Concert, Fans Sang On

Oh Toronto, we just love you!

The Jonas Brothers played at the Scotiabank Centre this past week, and while the concerts were undoubtedly amazing, the trio ran into some technical difficulties.

When the band was forced to close the show early without an encore, fans rallied to sing Burnin’ Up and Sucker – two of their most popular hits.

Now if that doesn’t send you off toward the long weekend with a smile on your face, we don’t know what will! 

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The Weekly Download – August 23, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-23-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-23-2019.html#respond Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:23:30 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7809 Welcome back to The Weekly Download! The weekend is beckoning, so let’s get to it! We’re chatting about Amazon’s customer information leak, Shopify’s new web chat service, Facebook’s much anticipated “Off-Facebook Activity” tool, and Apple’s big push into TV. To finish it all off, we have some super cute Friday Fun that might be one […]

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Welcome back to The Weekly Download! The weekend is beckoning, so let’s get to it!

We’re chatting about Amazon’s customer information leak, Shopify’s new web chat service, Facebook’s much anticipated “Off-Facebook Activity” tool, and Apple’s big push into TV. To finish it all off, we have some super cute Friday Fun that might be one of our favourite video clips ever!

Ready, set, go!

Amazon Inadvertently Leaks Shopper Information

A big “oops!” for Amazon this week — according to an article shared by Business Insider, the online retailer accidentally sent customers emails containing other shoppers’ private information.

One customer received an order confirmation email for a girls pink backpack, that also contained another shopper’s first and last name, home address, and other key details pertaining to the order.

The company notified all impacted customers, some of whom were understandably upset. Said one affected customer, “I’m angry. To have any personal information shared is a huge rights violation.”

Amazon says the slip up was due to a “technical issue” that has since been fixed.

Shopify Launches Web Chat for Merchant and Customers

Do you run an ecommerce website on the Shopify platform? Then say hello to Shopify Chat — the company’s first native chat client, launched late last week. 

The new addition to the Shopify brand can host web conversations between merchants and customers using a web browser on Android or iOS devices or a laptop. 

Shopify Chat is free for business websites and is another step towards the company’s previously stated goal to help small businesses run their operations with conversational AI.

Shopify didn’t share any specific metrics, but said their research demonstrated businesses who engage customers in chat on average see higher conversion rates and larger cart sizes.

You Can Now See What Information Facebook Collected About You From Other Websites

“Off-Facebook Activity” is Facebook’s newest tool that will allow users to see the reach of the platform’s tracking outside of the social network. More than a year ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced this tool as “Clear History.”

Facebook collects information about its users in two ways: through the information you input into its websites and apps, and by tracking which websites you visit when you’re not on Facebook. Essentially, Facebook monitors your digital footprint to target you with ads. Users have never been able to see the external data Facebook collected about them, until now.

The new tool will display a summary of the third-party website that shared your visit with Facebook using a tracking pixel, and will allow you to disconnect that browsing history from your Facebook account. You can also opt out of future off-Facebook activity tracking, or choose which websites you don’t want to send your browsing activity to Facebook.

Select users in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain will gain access to the new tool first. 

Apple’s Dropping Billions on Big Push Into TV

Apple TV Plus is the company’s next major launch – a new streaming-TV service that’s scheduled to launch this November.

One of the first shows – a drama about a morning news show starring big Hollywood names like Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell – has reportedly cost Apple more per episode than HBO paid for Game of Thrones. 

And that’s without fire-breathing dragons! Wow.

Sources said Apple was considering charging somewhere in the $10-a-month range, though a free trial of some type may be in the works – and it’s clear that Apple isn’t cutting corners when it comes to their newest investment, committing $6 billion for original content.

Will you be tuning in to The Morning Show? Check out the teaser trailer below.

Friday Fun 

For Friday Fun, we’re bringing you the cutest video ever (do not try to fight us on this).

Cue the happy tears!

https://twitter.com/aylawinter_/status/1156906706468790274

Apparently we’re not the only ones tearing up at this sweet video. Since shared by Twitter user @aylawinter_, the video has gone viral with over 1 million likes, 208k retweets, and coverage by news outlets across Europe, including the BBC.

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Need Help? Why an Add-On Virtual Marketing Team is a Great Investment https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/add-on-virtual-marketing-team.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/add-on-virtual-marketing-team.html#respond Wed, 21 Aug 2019 13:00:30 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7803 Virtual work is more popular than ever – it’s even gaining acceptance in buttoned-down industries like banking and government. But it’s really thriving in the world of marketing and communications. As an agency owner specializing in digital marketing and communications, I can attest first hand to the convenience that comes from having a virtual marketing […]

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virtual marketing teamVirtual work is more popular than ever – it’s even gaining acceptance in buttoned-down industries like banking and government. But it’s really thriving in the world of marketing and communications. As an agency owner specializing in digital marketing and communications, I can attest first hand to the convenience that comes from having a virtual marketing team.

So, if you’re an organization looking for extra help, consider widening the net when it comes to hiring and add a virtual marketing team as an extension of your team.

Are You Ready to Hire a Virtual Marketing Team?

In 2017, a Regus Canada study showed nearly half of Canadian employees “…work from outside one of their employer’s main offices for half the week or more.” It’s fair to assume that number is probably higher today.

If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual marketing team, before you do, it’s important to get the rest of your senior leaders on board. And a top virtual team will be dedicated to your company’s success at least as much, if not more than your employees. So management, HR, even junior team members should be prepared to work with your virtual marketing team as partners.

It’s a good idea to have a strategy in place for a successful relationship with virtual employees and teams. Consider developing guidelines about how people will work together, how you’ll communicate and who will be the primary contact(s) for the virtual team.

Also, be clear about your expectations — your vision, as it were —  because it pertains to teamwork overall. Determining what you want to achieve in advance ensures everyone is playing from the same playbook.

Why a Virtual Marketing Team is a Great Investment in Your Company

There many benefits to adding a virtual marketing team to your organization – let’s look at just a few:

First, think costs. While I don’t espouse creating a world where no one has employee protections and benefits, there are times when the right virtual team can fill a void more economically than hiring one full time would.

Perhaps you’re working on a fixed term project, like a product launch or a brand refresh? Maybe you need to have an in-depth social media strategy crafted and executed, and don’t have the bandwidth in-house?

Then, there’s the human resources part of the equation. Maybe you simply can’t find people with the right experience and expertise where you are located. Also, going through the hiring and on-boarding process is costly and time consuming, especially if the fit ends up not working out.

The Benefits of Working with Virtual Teams are Endless!

Speaking of talent, maybe the biggest bonus to working with an add-on virtual marketing team is the pool of talent you can access! Our team lives all across Canada with one freelancer based in the United States. We’ve even worked with subject matter experts outside of North America. This accessibility has allowed me to build a unique team of people with varying skill-sets and experience levels. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do quite so easily if we were working in the same physical space.

And study after study has proven that, generally speaking, remote workers are more productive and invested in their work than their in-office brothers and sisters. The reasons for this increased productivity are varied, but include the flexibility remote work offers, reduced stress in the absence of long commutes and/or childcare concerns, and fewer distractions than one would find in a traditional office setting.

 Virtual Marketing Teams Are a Win-Win for Everyone

The bottom line is this—virtual work, works. It helps employees be more productive and feel trusted, resulting in increased corporate loyalty. And it saves companies money in the end, due to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and employee turnover, as well a reduction in office space overhead.

Don’t be afraid of hiring a virtual digital marketing team to work on your behalf. It really is a win-win for everyone.

Have you worked (or do you work?) with a virtual marketing team? Are you a larger organization considering an add on virtual team to complement your current “on staff” teams? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

 

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The Weekly Download – August 16, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-16-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-16-2019.html#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 14:17:41 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7798   Another Friday, another edition of The Weekly Download!  On the docket today: a ketchup theft leading to a cool brand move, Tumblr’s changing hands, Twitter users will soon be able to follow topics, and two teens go viral for two very different reasons. Plus, we’re wrapping it up with Friday Fun — we’ve got […]

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Another Friday, another edition of The Weekly Download! 

On the docket today: a ketchup theft leading to a cool brand move, Tumblr’s changing hands, Twitter users will soon be able to follow topics, and two teens go viral for two very different reasons.

Plus, we’re wrapping it up with Friday Fun — we’ve got a deepfake video for you that’ll leave you laughing (or possibly scratching your head).

Heinz Offers to Help “Reformed Ketchup Thief” With a Playful Tweet

This next story is sure to hit you right in the feels.

Earlier this week, a bottle of ketchup was swiped from Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in New Jersey. The thief, a young girl wracked with guilt, purchased two 32 oz. bottles of ketchup from a local Walmart and dropped them off behind the building after hours with a note, which along with a heartfelt apology, included this:

“A few hours [after] I did it, someone crashed into my car, and since then karma, luck, and life have been sh** … I hope returning two new bottles will restore some for me, and I can stop carrying around this guilt.”

The restaurant manager took a picture of the note and shared the story on her town’s public Facebook page and it has since gone viral, even capturing the attention of Heinz Ketchup.

 

In a cool brand move, Heinz playfully responded on Twitter offering to help pay for damages associated with the car accident. She reached out privately, and apparently karma has been restored. Well done, Heinz.

Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Owner

Verizon Communications Inc. is selling blogging website Tumblr to Automattic Inc., the owner of the online-publishing tool WordPress.com.

Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr, a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, has been overshadowed by competitors like Facebook and Reddit in recent years.

It’s been reported that the Automattic Inc. paid $3 million in the acquisition, a stunning drop in value from the $1.1 billion that Yahoo paid for Tumblr in 2013.

Verizon became Tumblr’s owner through the carrier’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo as part of a bid to build a digital media and advertising business. The wireless carrier began seeking a buyer for Tumblr earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Twitter Will Allow Users to Follow Topics Like They Follow Accounts

Twitter is now allowing users to follow interests, letting them see tweets about topics of their choice inside their timelines. The features, currently in test mode on Android only, will allow users to see the latest on their favourite subjects, whether sports teams, celebs, or TV, with a selection of tweets about them inserted alongside tweets in the home feed.

The topics, curated by Twitter, will feature individual tweets selected through machine learning rather than editorial curation. For now, during the test phase, only sports-related interests can be followed.

The test is Twitter’s latest effort to help users find the best content on the platform, even if they don’t know what accounts they should follow. Twitter realizes that for newcomers, getting started on the platform can be a little daunting. The company previously introduced Twitter Moments to help users easily follow along with big events like the Oscars or sports games. 

Tesla Model 3 Owner Gets Her Key Implanted in Her Arm

Amie DD, a software engineer in Texas, spent almost a year working to have her Tesla’s valet key card implanted in her arm. She documented the entire process on her YouTube channel and blog, and it reportedly went off without a hitch. 

There were lots of steps involved, including removing her key card’s antenna, encasing the wire in polymer, and enlisting the help of a piercing shop to have the device installed in her arm.

Though she hasn’t posted any footage yet, Amie says she will be able to unlock her car with just a wave of her hand.

Tell us what you think — would you use an implantable device for convenience sake?

Teen’s Awesome Library Receipt Goes Viral

A sixteen year-old has gone viral after sharing a public library receipt detailing just how much money he’s saved by using their services over the years — a whopping $7,078 USD.

Just noticed that my library keeps track of how much you save by not buying books and borrowing instead from mildlyinteresting

 

Keegan Adreon posted a picture of the receipt on Reddit, writing “just noticed that my library keeps track of how much you save by not buying books and borrowing instead.”

Adreon says with six family members, weekly visits to the library certainly add up. Does your library share how much you’ve saved by using their services?

Teen Hilariously Tweets From Her Fridge… But is it All a Hoax?

And in other viral news this week, it turns out that a story about a teen who made headlines for tweeting from her fridge might have been a hoax afterall.

Twitter user @thankunext327, an alleged teen girl named Dorothy, went viral this week for a series of tweets. On August 8, Dorothy claimed that her mom had confiscated her phone, posting a “goodbye” message to followers from a Nintendo 3DS.

 

Over the next few days, Dorothy tweeted several more times and claimed she discovered access to Twitter through several other devices, including her Nintendo Wii.

Each time Dorothy would find a new device to tweet from, her mother supposedly foiled her plans. Finally, she got desperate enough to try tweeting from her “LG Smart Refrigerator.”

People went crazy:

Twitter and LG even showed their support, tweeting with the hashtag #FreeDorothy.

 

Although her tweets show what devices they were posted from, it turns out that it’s surprisingly easy to pretend to tweet from basically anywhere by creating your own Twitter source

LG since confirmed that none of its smart refrigerators have a Twitter app installed. There is a web browser on some models, from which a user could hypothetically tweet — but since you’re using a web browser, any tweets would state you posted from the web. The lesson here? Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. 😉 

It was fun while it lasted, Dorothy!

Friday Fun

This Creepy Deepfake Video is a Real Mind Bender

A deepfake video (created by YouTuber Ctrl Shift Face) of SNL alum Bill Hader transforming into Tom Cruise and Seth Rogen while impersonating the two actors is making the rounds online this week.

 

While hilarious, the video also sparks concern about just how insanely realistic deepfake videos can be. The creator of the video agrees that while the general public understands images can be photoshopped, many don’t realize that similar tweaks can also be made to video.

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The Weekly Download – August 9, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-9-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-9-2019.html#respond Fri, 09 Aug 2019 13:56:34 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7780 Looking for the TL;DR on the top news this week? Look no further… Welcome to The Weekly Download! On the hot sheet today: a lot of Facebook and Instagram news, including a name change,  a “click injection” fraud lawsuit, more struggles to protect user data and a content marketer’s dream come true. We’re finishing off […]

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Looking for the TL;DR on the top news this week? Look no further… Welcome to The Weekly Download!

On the hot sheet today: a lot of Facebook and Instagram news, including a name change,  a “click injection” fraud lawsuit, more struggles to protect user data and a content marketer’s dream come true. We’re finishing off with a perfect mix of Friday Fun that’s both hilarious and cute. 

Let’s go! 

Instagram & WhatsApp to Add “From Facebook” to Their Names

Facebook really wants people to know that it’s in charge of some of your favourite apps. Soon Instagram will become “Instagram from Facebook” and WhatsApp will turn into “WhatsApp from Facebook.” 

You’ll see the new titles when you’re searching in your device’s app store. While your app names on your home screen will stay the same (for now), it’s likely that you’ll see “from Facebook” on splash screens.

So why the change? According to Mark Zuckerberg, it’s “to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.” 

Facebook is Suing Developers for Fraudulent Ad Practices

And more Facebook news this week — the company is accusing two app developers of using malware to hijack people’s phones to fraudulently click on ads to make money.

In a blog post released on Tuesday, Facebook announced it has filed suit against LionMobi and Jedimobi, app developers based in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively, with claims of “click injection” fraud. 

The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users’ phones with malware. The malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads.

According to the post, the companies “generated unearned payouts from Facebook for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads. The ads were part of Facebook’s Audience Network.”

Facebook says that this lawsuit is the first of its kind against this practice. Although Facebook did not report how many users were impacted or how much money developers made from the purported scheme, it confirms that all impacted advertisers were refunded by Facebook in March 2019.

Instagram Scheduling is Now Available on Facebook’s Creator Studio

Content planners and social media marketers rejoice! Instagram and IGTV publishing is now available via Facebook’s Creator Studio app

This is BIG NEWS for users who have had to find workarounds to help schedule content on Instagram. Previously, social media managers have had to rely on a range of alternative posting options — many of which are limited due to Instagram’s API restrictions.

The new functionality means you’ll be able to pre-plan content and see how it fits with the rest of your feed’s overall aesthetic before hitting “share.”

Instagram Partner Under Fire for Secretly Tracking User Location and Stories

Hyp3r, an apparently trusted marketing partner of Facebook and Instagram, came under fire this week for secretly collecting and storing location data on millions of users, against social network policy. 

The company has been scraping huge quantities of data from Instagram and using it to build detailed profiles of user movements and interests. Yikes. 

Since Business Insider broke the news, Instagram confirmed that Hyp3r had violated its policies and has now been removed from the platform to protect user data.

As noted by TechCrunch, it’s hard to see how Hyp3r could do this for years without intervention by the platforms except if the latter were either ignorant or complicit. The situation highlights how Facebook is still struggling to protect user data and monitor developer access following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Friday Fun

Ever wondered if other people might be able to pull off Nick Offerman’s impressive ‘stache? 

Wonder no more:

And now, please standby for some unreal cuteness…

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The Weekly Download – August 2, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-2-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/08/the-weekly-download-august-2-2019.html#respond Fri, 02 Aug 2019 13:57:40 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7765 What’s better than a Friday before a long weekend? A Friday before a long weekend with a side of The Weekly Download!  Here’s what you might have missed this week: Capital One’s massive data breach, YouTubers fight back against demonetization, PM Justin Trudeau makes Pride history and Facebook wants to read your mind. Plus, did […]

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What’s better than a Friday before a long weekend? A Friday before a long weekend with a side of The Weekly Download! 

Here’s what you might have missed this week: Capital One’s massive data breach, YouTubers fight back against demonetization, PM Justin Trudeau makes Pride history and Facebook wants to read your mind.

Plus, did you think your conversations with Siri were just between the two of you? Learn who else might be listening in. 

As always, we’re wrapping things up with some Friday Fun and trust us, you don’t want to miss out on our team’s selections this week!

Capital One Suffers a Massive Data Breach

Sadly, this kind of headline is becoming all too common. 

This week Capital One revealed a massive data breach in which 100 million people in the U.S. and 6 million in Canada were affected. A hacker accessed sensitive information from credit card applications as well as the bank’s existing customers.

After an arrest by the FBI, Capital One says it’s unlikely the information accessed was used for fraud, but will continue to investigate. The company is offering free credit monitoring services to those affected.

Demonetization on YouTube Leads to Collaboration with Europe’s Largest Trade Union

The YouTubers Union, a community-based movement that fights for the rights of YouTube users and creators, has teamed up with Europe’s largest trade union in a new campaign known as FairTube.

The union is demanding that Google bring back the “old YouTube” after platform changes have affected how independent creators can profit from the app.

The FairTube movement calls for more transparency when it comes to procedures and processes used to promote or hide a video, and asks YouTube to provide clear explanations as to why a video has been demonetized.

Justin Trudeau Makes History by Kicking off Vancouver Pride Week at a Gay Bar

The Canadian Prime Minister walks into a bar during happy hour… 

But no, really — what started out as a quick drink became a history-making moment when Justin Trudeau kicked off Vancouver Pride Week at the Fountainhead Pub earlier this week. 

Not surprisingly, a number of patrons took to social media to share their excitement and appreciation for Trudeau’s visit: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0hqGFNgUyP/?utm_source=ig_embed

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0haySOhQXl/?utm_source=ig_embed

Facebook Funds Brain Experiments to Create a Device That Reads Minds

File this under “Super Creepy” — Facebook is reportedly helping fund a device to read your brain.

As shared in a scientific research paper from the University of California, researchers have been developing “speech decoders” able to determine what people are trying to say by analyzing their brain signals. In 2017, the social media giant announced it wanted to create a headband that would let people type at a speed of 100 words per minute, just by thinking.

While it could be an amazing innovation, especially for those who lack the ability to speak or type, it also raises some ethical questions about how brain data is collected, used and stored.

Are we truly ready for the consequences of wearable brain-control devices? Especially in the hands of big tech? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Your Siri Queries Might Not be Private

Yup, that’s right — just like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, Apple hires contractors to listen to Siri recordings in order to improve the accuracy and quality of the tool. 

According to The Guardian, these contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and, ahem, intimate recordings, and are responsible for ‘grading’ what they listen to. The news comes from an anonymous whistleblower who voiced concerns that undisclosed Siri data could potentially be misused.

Apple doesn’t disclose that real people review Siri recordings, which comes as a shock to many as the company prides itself on taking consumer privacy more seriously than competitors.

While only a small percentage of Siri recordings are actually reviewed by Apple contractors, experts warn that recorded conversations could include important information like addresses or phone numbers. 

Is the convenience of a voice assistant worth risking your personal information? Share your thoughts with us.

Edit: After reporting from The Guardian revealed this process, Apple has announced today that they are suspending this program.

Friday Fun

A Teachable Moment from Monopoly

This hilarious — yet also slightly sad because it’s TRUE — video has been making the rounds on Twitter this week. Let’s just say we think you’ll find it relatable:

Ahh, adulting. We totally feel your pain, Dony.

What Do English Kids Think of Butter Tarts?

If you’re Canadian, you know the amazingness that is the butter tart. 

Twitter user Stewart Reynolds filmed his English niece trying the ooey gooey delicacy for the very first time, and the cute clip has over 5k views at the time of writing.

Aaaand now we really want butter tarts…

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The Weekly Download – July 26, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/07/the-weekly-download-july-26-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/07/the-weekly-download-july-26-2019.html#respond Fri, 26 Jul 2019 14:40:04 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7754 Starbucks’ big investment in digital tech, Facebook’s historic FTC settlement, Pinterest’s new prompts for user wellbeing, the #ColorMeMermaid movement and more: get ready to dive into another edition of The Weekly Download! Starbucks Invests in Brightloom to Speed Up Mobile Orders & Payments Good news: getting your morning coffee is about to get even more […]

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Starbucks’ big investment in digital tech, Facebook’s historic FTC settlement, Pinterest’s new prompts for user wellbeing, the #ColorMeMermaid movement and more: get ready to dive into another edition of The Weekly Download!

Starbucks Invests in Brightloom to Speed Up Mobile Orders & Payments

Good news: getting your morning coffee is about to get even more convenient!

This week Starbucks announced it’s taking a stake in digital technology company Brightloom in order to speed up mobile ordering and payment options at stores globally.

Brightloom will allow the company to improve customer convenience, making the technology available for mobile ordering, payment, loyalty perks and delivery-order management. 

Brightloom and Starbucks will also sell access to the platform to other restaurants trying to adopt digital programs, as digital ordering and delivery programs become increasingly vital for restaurants trying to draw more customers amid intensifying competition.

While both companies claim the stake was “significant,” no firm figures have been disclosed.

Pinterest Adds Well-Being Activities for Users

Wednesday marked International Self-Care Day, and Pinterest celebrated by adding a new feature for users to help them focus on their wellbeing

Now users who search for terms that indicate they may be struggling, like “stress quotes” and “work anxiety”, will see well-being activities they can partake in directly via the Pinterest application.

Pinner interaction with recommended activities will not be connected to the app in any way, ensuring user anonymity. Users who search for self-harm-related terms will be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which they can reach in two taps.

Each of the guided activities are aimed at helping people improve their moods, and were created with the help of emotional health experts. The update will be rolled out to iOS and Android users over the coming weeks.

Facebook Reaches a Formal Settlement with the FTC 

Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that Facebook has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission about privacy, agreeing to pay a historic $5-billion fine following the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal. Even more important, says Zuckerberg, following the investigation the company will be making changes to how it builds products and operates.

As part of the FTC’s settlement with Facebook, Zuckerberg will also have to personally certify his company’s compliance with its privacy programs. False certifications could lead to civil or criminal penalties for Zuckerberg. The FTC says the settlement terms are meant to “change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.”

Zuckerberg says Facebook is committed to adopting change that will “go beyond anything required under US law today” with respect to user privacy. While it seems to be a step in the right direction, many expressed outrage at the “lenient” settlement handed down by the FTC, hoping Zuckerberg would face personal consequences and the company would be mandated to adopt meaningful changes to the company’s structure or business model.

Graphic Murder Images Call Attention to how Social Media Companies Police Extreme Content

The murder of 17 year-old Bianca Devins is once again raising concern about how social media companies police extreme content on their platforms.

After graphic images of Bianca’s body were shared on channels like Instagram and Twitter, many users attempted to report the content on the respective platforms to no avail. It was alleged that reporting attempts were being rejected on Instagram because the extreme content did not violate the platform’s terms.

Instagram didn’t comment on how long the original graphic posts on the suspect’s story had been allowed to stay up, but screenshots suggest they were publicly available for over 20 hours.

While sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have human moderators to police such content, they also rely heavily on artificial technology and user reports to flag and remove disturbing content. With active Instagram users at one billion per month, it can be challenging to stay on top of such posts. Critics call for harsher penalties against social giants around failures to adequately police graphic content — many argue that until monetary repercussions are involved, content will only be monitored and removed haphazardly. 

Bianca’s followers have launched an “online spamming war” called #PinkForBianca against those trying to further exploit the teen’s death for likes and shares. They’ve committed to uploading tens of thousands of pastel-coloured images and tagging Bianca in hopes of drowning out any graphic tagged images that have been reshared.

Friday Fun

#ColorMeMermaid Campaign Celebrates Girls of Colour

There was some seriously disappointing racist backlash online when actress and singer Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Supporters like Donald Glover and Jodi Benson (cartoon Ariel’s voice actor) spoke out in support of the uber-talented Bailey, and digital initiatives to celebrate the casting choice have already gone viral.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0BHNizgbCS/

Along with the already existing #MyAriel movement, blogger Courtney Quinn hopes that the #ColorMeMermaid project will help people see how important the story of The Little Mermaid has been for children of all backgrounds, regardless of skin colour. The uploads so far are seriously inspiring.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0BMQcTgn-W/?utm_source=ig_embed

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Qwp0Ilf33/

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0EBmgcB4td/

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Don’t Let Summer Slow Down Your Marketing Efforts https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/07/summer-marketing-efforts.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/07/summer-marketing-efforts.html#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 13:00:11 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7749 If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur (or both!) you’ve probably experienced the dreaded “summer slowdown.” Summer might be a little less hectic for business owners, but you don’t have to allow that to put the brakes on your marketing efforts. Have Some Fun With Your Summer Marketing Efforts Firstly, I have to […]

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Summer Marketing EffortsIf you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur (or both!) you’ve probably experienced the dreaded “summer slowdown.” Summer might be a little less hectic for business owners, but you don’t have to allow that to put the brakes on your marketing efforts.

Have Some Fun With Your Summer Marketing Efforts

Firstly, I have to tell you to embrace the slower times during the summer months (you know how I feel about self-care!). Breathe. Rest. Plan a day at the beach or just get out of town for the day! Secondly, yes, of course, I understand that when you’re a business owner you are never fully “off the clock”.

Summer provides some unique opportunities to up your marketing game. People are generally in a better mood, tourists flood in, and parks, patios, and public spaces are usually crowded. This is the time to think outside the box, get out of your comfort zone, even try something you’ve never done before to promote your company.

Let’s take a look at some fun, summer-inspired ways you can ramp up your marketing efforts (maybe even try something new) during the summer months.

Try Something New

Don’t be afraid to try a one-off, something totally different. It’s easy to get caught in the same old – same old when it comes to your marketing efforts. Instead, use the warmer weather to shake it up a bit.

Invest (modestly) in some branded summer swag as giveaways. Frisbees, balls for the kids, even a day where everyone gets a balloon when they pop in.

Depending on your service/brand, try setting up a pop-up shop at a local event, a community fair, parade or festival.

Throw together a networking event! Rent a patio at your neighbourhood bar or restaurant and invite clients (past and present) and people from your network to come out and get to know each other better. Have business cards on hand, some nibbles, and maybe a drink ticket or two.

Even better – partner up with another small business owner in a similar but non-competing industry and share the wealth of all of your connections (as well as the cost of the event!).

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Kill two birds with one stone: support a worthy cause to help raise your profile, and then advertise online that a certain percentage of sales on a certain day or week, let’s say, will be donated.

Run a summer-themed contest. Best summery pics on Instagram, craziest vacation Facebook Live event or Instagram Story. And of course, there’s always the classic “tweet us (using/eating/wearing) our product for a chance to win!” Make sure you add a memorable hashtag and consider incentivizing sharing.

Network, Network, Network

Depending on your business model, and whether or not you have a bricks and mortar outlet, there are myriad ways you can throw caution to the wind and have some fun with your summer marketing efforts. This barely scratches the surface!

Whatever you do, take advantage of this somewhat slower time, fabulous weather and people’s good moods and network, network, network. Connect with old clients again or set up a coffee date with someone in your industry you’re connected to tangentially.

You can even consider researching possible partnerships that will allow you to add to your service offerings – perhaps a great video-production company, or a graphic designer.

Enjoy the Summer While it Lasts

It takes forever to get here (or so it feels) and then is over in the blink of an eye. So, whatever you do, make sure your summer marketing efforts are as fun as possible, for yourself as well as your clients and/or customers!

What are your thoughts? Have you tried anything different marketing-wise during the summer months? I would love to hear your suggestions!

 

 

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