Facebook Exec Admits Responsibility For Trumps Election & Doesn’t Ban ‘Shallow Fakes’

by | Jan 9, 2020 | News

In this week’s dose of digital news we’re covering how Facebook helped Trump get elected, a new ad format on Twitter, live commentary on SERPs, TikTok security fixes, and some GIANT award news!

Home > News > Facebook Exec Admits Responsibility For Trumps Election & Doesn’t Ban ‘Shallow Fakes’

Oh Facebook, Facebook, Facebook… 


A Facebook Executive Has Claimed They’re Behind Trump’s Election

The New York Times has published a memo from a Facebook exec which indicates that the platform was “responsible for electing Donald Trump president in 2016” – also highlighting the presidential election as a “turning point” in the public perception of Facebook. 

Andrew Bosworth, a prominent voice at Facebook, wrote the memo covering his “thoughts for 2020”, intended to be shared with employees. The memo talks about some of the platforms most prominent scandals, including Cambridge Analytica. Regarding the US election, Bosworth acknowledged that Facebook was probably responsible for getting Trump elected, but not in the way that people may think. He claims that Trump didn’t get elected because of “Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica” – but because he ran “the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser”. 

While he goes on to say that Facebook has the potential to use its enormous power to prevent a similar result in 2020, he believes that should never happen. “As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome,” he writes, “I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.” Read the full memo over on The Verge. 


Twitter Launches Promoted Trend Spotlight Ad Option For Brands

Twitter is now officially launching its ‘Promoted Trend Spotlight’ ad unit – a prime placement opportunity for major brand awareness campaigns.

Testing on the Promoted Trend Spotlight feature started back in 2018, following the launch of the refreshed Explore tab. The placement will give brands the option to take up the top section of the Explore tab – a particularly attention-grabbing spot. The option will support 6-second videos, GIFs and static images, similar to YouTube’s Masthead ads at the top of the screen, and will work to compliment Promoted Trend Ads. 

“Your ad will appear at the top of the Explore tab for the first two visits per person, per day. After the initial two visits, the placement moves to the standard Promoted Trend placement and organic editorial content resurfaces in the Spotlight placement,” Twitter explained. 

With Twitter’s engagement rising over time, it could be a prime position for advertisers, although it’s expected to come with a pretty hefty price tag – potentially pricing out smaller businesses. Check out more on the launch at Social Media Today


Google Tests Live User Commentary For TV Shows

Google has confirmed that it’s testing user comments in the SERPs for queries relating to live TV shows – something that has previously been shown to work for live sporting events. 

Live event conversations are big business when it comes to the online world, and this new test brings social engagement to search results – putting Google in the position of moving into Twitter’s realm. This feature has previously been used for events like the World Cup and the Cricket World Cup, so it will be interesting to see how the engagement transfers to other genres of TV show. 

For marketers, if it’s rolled out this feature could offer up another channel to monitor when looking at the conversations or real-time sentiment happening around shows or events – potentially giving a whole host of new data to work with. And who doesn’t love more data? Check out more on the story over at Search Engine Land


TikTok Has Had To Fix Some GIANT Security Flaws

TikTok faced “multiple” security issues within its video-sharing platform in 2019, leading to a host of fixes designed to make the app more secure. 

Security firm Check Point flagged a number of security issues to TikTok developer ByteDance, which it said could have enabled hackers to add or delete videos, steal personal data, or change privacy settings. The firm notified ByteDance of the issues back in November, with the developers now advising users that they have all been fixed – with Check Point also confirming that the previous concerns had been rectified. 

However, the security firm did highlight that the vulnerabilities had been in place for “most of 2019” – raising questions around whether any hacker had discovered them during that time. Most of the problems were around the way TikTok handled users’ mobile numbers, which is a required field when setting up an account. 

ByteDance praised Check Point for privately disclosing the security vulnerabilities to them in a responsible way, and encouraged other security researchers to do the same if they have concerns. Read more on the story at BBC News


A Ban On DeepFakes Does Not Cover ‘Shallow Fakes’

Facebook has announced that it is banning “AI-manipulated deepfake videos”, due to their ability to trick people into thinking a person said something they didn’t say. 

The policy has been launched in preparation for the 2020 US election, in a bid to prevent viewers from being misled. However, experts have said that the policy only “explicitly” protects against misinformation caused through using AI, which wouldn’t prevent the sharing of videos which are made using conventional editing tools. Yet these videos, often referred to as shallow fakes, are frequently as misleading as their AI-based cousins. 

To date, there aren’t any major examples of content which would breach the new policy, due to the fact that most examples so far have included clear statements explaining that they’re fake. Previous harmful examples of misleading videos, such as a video by the Conservative party during the UK election which was edited to make it look like a Labour MP didn’t have an answer to a question, didn’t use AI – and therefore would still be allowed even under the new policy.

The AI focus is likely to be intended to prevent Facebook from having to make subjective decisions about videos – but this could create a lot of gaps. Read more on the story at The Guardian


We’ve Been Announced As Finalists For Two CIM Awards!

Awards season is always an exciting time, and the vibes were high at GIANT Towers yesterday when we found out that Sleeping Giant Media is a finalist in not one, but TWO categories at the CIM Awards! 

First up, we’re over the moon to be a finalist in the Agency of the Year category, which recognises agencies that have had an unrivalled 12 months – from strategic successes to delivering excellence for clients. We’ve also been announced as a finalist in a brand new category, which celebrates the Best Not-For-Profit/Charity/Social Marketing Campaign. This nomination celebrates our work with The Aspinall Foundation, a client we’re really proud to support.

The awards ceremony will be held on the 2nd April 2020 at The Brewery in London, and is sure to be a night of entertainment, celebration and, of course, yummy food! We can’t wait to be there, and want to say congratulations to all of the other finalists too. See you on the night! 


And that’s that for another week! Check back next Friday for another installment of January-blues-busting digital news. You know you want to.


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