2018 was extremely challenging for Facebook. Nearly everybody on the planet is fully aware of that. There were dirty data breaches, political fires that needed extinguishing, and so much more that went wrong on this social network.

Overcoming these issues and moving beyond them will take time, and that’s something that Mark Zuckerberg fully recognizes.

In his end of the year reflection post, he addressed some of Facebook’s blunders in 2018, how they affected the global community, and what Facebook has done about them (and will be working on) to remedy them.

His hopes are that Facebook will continue to provide services to help “more than 2 billion people…stay connected with the people who matter most in their lives.”

Here’s everything you need to know as a marketer moving forward in the Facebook landscape:

  1. Preventing election interference
  2. Stopping the spread of harmful content
  3. Ensuring that people have control over their information
  4. Ensuring that Facebook’s services are improving people’s wellbeing

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1. Preventing Election Interference

There is a seemingly infinite amount of information about Facebook’s tangle in Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. midterm elections, and plenty of other political events around the world. Inauthentic accounts and pages sowed discord and misinformation among Americans, which led to skewed voting outcomes, among so many other issues.

What is Facebook Doing About this Problem?

In response to efforts to influence American politics, Facebook removed millions of fake accounts that were used to sow discord among the American people.

They are partnering with local governments worldwide to better prepare for potential political threats moving forward.

Facebook has also partnered with fact checkers to help the company identify misinformation and the spread of that misinformation on the social network.

Finally, they have enforced more stringent advertising transparency. This allows anyone to see all the ads an advertiser is running to different audiences.

What this Means for Marketers

Marketers might have experienced changes in their clients’ social networks and pages if there were fake accounts or bots associated with or following those pages and profiles.

The good news is that ad transparency allows marketers to get some fantastic advertising inspiration. You’re now able to see ads that your favourite brands are running. You can draw creative and targeting parallels to help you improve your marketing efforts.

You may experience less marketing and advertising competition as Facebook tightens up on fake or illicit accounts and profiles.

2. Stopping the Spread of Harmful Content

Facebook has had a long-standing struggle with harmful content being posted on the social network. From hate speech, to terrorism, to violent photo and video content, this social network has seen it all. Facebook is working harder than ever to filter out and remove harmful content.

What is Facebook Doing About this Problem?

The social network is building AI to identify and remove harmful content before it’s seen by the public.

They’re changing their algorithms to promote news that comes from trusted news sources, while reducing the distribution of sensationalized and borderline news and information.

Although Facebook relies on AI and algorithms to filter and remove harmful information, they also use human content review teams. They have tripled their human content review teams to help improve accuracy and stringency.

Moving forward, they’ll continue to establish independent appeal bodies to help them make appeal decisions and create policies.

Transparency will be huge for Facebook moving forward. They’re planning on releasing regular reports on harmful content removal effectiveness. They’ll also be working with external bodies, such as local governments, to help improve and establish effective content regulations.

What this Means for Marketers

Moving forward, marketers must ensure that the curated content that they are publishing for their brands is accurate and comes from a trusted source. If they fail to do this, they might discover that their content campaigns are removed from the social platform altogether.

Marketers should work very hard to ensure that all branded content complies with Facebook’s content regulations.

In addition, in order for content campaigns to flourish on this social network, all content must be meaningful, transparent, and relevant.

3. Ensuring that people have control over their information

Facebook has been under heavy fire throughout 2018 after data scandals and breaches.

Zuckerberg claims that the company is working harder than ever to protect user data, restrict data sharing with third-party apps, and improve user privacy control.

What is Facebook Doing About this Problem?

Zuckerberg says that Facebook is working hard to give back control to all those who use the social network by reducing the amount of information third-party apps can access.

Like countless other companies, Facebook rolled out GDPR controls worldwide and asked all of its users to check their privacy settings to ensure that they have control of how much information they are sharing and who is able to see that information.

Perhaps one of the most relieving tools that Facebook will implement moving forward is a “Clear History Tool.” This will allow all people to clear their browsing history from the Facebook system.

Yep…your nightmare of that wall post from grade seven surfacing no longer needs to be a real threat.

What this Means for Marketers

Facebook is continuing to work on an encrypted messaging system to protect communication through Messenger and Stories. In fact, they are going to be heavily investing in Stories in 2019 and beyond.

This should encourage marketers to invest more resources and creative in Stories for their marketing campaigns.

This messaging encryption will also help you, your clients, and their audience rest a bit easier at night. You’ll be able to have secure conversations through Stories and Facebook Messenger.

4. Ensuring that Facebook’s services are improving people’s well-being

If you feel that Facebook has drastically departed from its humble social network beginnings, then you’re certainly not alone.

Don’t fret — Facebook has discovered that people want to use the internet to interact with others and experience positive well-being in doing so.

Zuckerberg claims that Facebook will implement services to encourage happiness, health, and positivity.

They are focusing less on passive content experiences and more on engaging content experiences. They’re reducing the amount of viral content people experience in their newsfeed, for example.

Facebook’s goals include helping people build stronger communities, businesses, and relationships on facebook moving forward.

What this Means for Marketers

Facebook’s content consumption and community priorities are shifting.

They want users to have positive and meaningful experiences with content, pages, and people on the social network. This means that marketers must focus more than ever on creating engaging content that beckons audience interaction through reactions, comments, and shares.

Facebook’s shift in community philosophy is good news for businesses. It will give marketers a chance to create personable brand personas that will feel like real people that the audience can interact with.

Marketers should take advantage of Facebook groups moving forward. Consider how your brand can use groups in a creative way to interact with the audience, start conversations, source information, and create meaning in diverse social communities.

Groups don’t need to be about brands despite being hosted by brands, they can be a place where your audience talks about tangential topics related to the community.

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