Twitter takes down more accounts affiliated with Alex Jones’s Infowars

The accounts tried to get around Twitter’s ban on Infowars.

The social networking site has confirmed to CNBC that it has removed more accounts associated with Alex Jones’s conspiracy website Infowars. Last month Twitter permanently banned both Jones and the Infowars website from its platform, citing violations of its behavior policies. But in that time multiple other accounts assisted with Infowars popped up on the service in an attempt to circumvent the ban. So far, Twitter has removed 18 such accounts and will be on the lookout for more.

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Regulators order self-driving school bus test to be stopped

The NHTSA said the operator did not have permission to transport children during the test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered the French-based transport company Transdev to cease testing a self-driving school bus in Florida, reports the BBC. The NHTSA had given Transdev the green light to import its self-driving vehicle in March, but says it did not give the company permission to use it as a school bus or to transport human passengers.

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Uber’s shot at replacing personal car ownership starts with Jump Bikes

E-bikes and scooters are a key part of the company’s pivot from ride-hailing giant to mobility platform–and integral to its future vision for cities.

On a cool, sunny afternoon in mid-June, Jump founder and CEO Ryan Rzepecki is riding one of his company’s bright red e-bikes down Market Street in San Francisco, thinking about the past. He’s been a bicycle evangelist since the mid-2000s when he discovered that commuting around New York City made much more sense on the back of a bike than just about any other way. Back then, he was a grad student in urban planning at Hunter College. He started Jump in 2008–originally under the name Social Bicycles–while working a day job in the bike program with the New York City Department of Transportation.

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Florida, Illinois slammed with $942 million in midterm ads

The bottom line of Ad Age Datacenter’s latest analysis of midterm campaign ad spending: It sucks to be a TV viewer and/or radio listener (but great if you’re a station owner) in one of these key battleground statesespecially Florida and Illinois, which both have races that have surged well past the $100 million mark. See more at

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #419

Facebook cracks down on low quality ads and news content
Following the announcement earlier this year that it would “demote ads that included shocking, disruptive or malicious content”, Facebook last week revealed that it would be taking this one step further and will now be tackling low quality ad content. This includes ads that withhold information, contain engagement bait and / or ads with sensationalised language. For those who get caught out more than once, Facebook will now penalise all ads from those it deems repeat offenders. And it’s not just dodgy advertisers the platform is taking on, new publishers and other websites that “illicitly scrape and republish content from other sources with little or no modification” will be given less prominence in the News Feed.

Facebook brings Instant Games to HTML5 with Facebook Groups
Thanks to improvements to smartphone processing power, Facebook is giving HTML5 another shot “as a way to expand its Instant Games…to the developing world through Facebook Lite, and to interest communities via Facebook Groups” – although initially only to groups about gaming.

Facebook adds more options for branded content

Facebook has made some changes to the way branded content is displayed on its platform, the biggest of which being that its Branded Content tag will now display as “with (brand name)” and will be followed by a new “About this partnership” icon – which will lead users to more information about the two pages and their work together. The language of the Branded Content tag has also been updated to “Paid Partnership”, as opposed to just “Paid”. Facebook is also said to be testing two new features: one which would allow brand pages to tag others for non-financially related partnerships; and another which would enable Pages to indicate partnerships via messages within the content, instead of a dedicated tag.

In addition to these updates, the platform has announced that it will expand its previously US-based Brand Collabs Manager to more countries over the coming week, including India, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and the UK; and has added a new feature which will allow “brands to post marketing project briefs and creators to respond to those briefs, along with keyword search and location filters.”

Instagram tests tapping through posts
The social network is testing a new way for users to advance through posts, by tapping as they would a Story – instead of suffering through the “supposedly cumbersome experience of scrolling” down the feed. The update is currently only being tested in the platform’s Explore tab, “with no plans to be implemented in the main feed yet”.

Snapchat brings 2D objects to life with its latest Lens creation tools
Snapchat has released “a trio of Lens Studio templates” with an all-new marker tracking feature at their core, which will enable users to turn 2D objects into augmented reality objects by “linking animation to them”. Once users have created their new Lens, they can leave a SnapCode behind for other users to discover something new. The update also comes with a new segmentation template which can transform “portraits, hair or the entire sky” and will allow users bring their friends’ faces into the Lenses they design. All of the new Lens Studio tools were previously limited to the Snapchat team.

Twitter shames those who break its terms of service
Following increased public pressure for social networks to do more to protect their users, Twitter announced an update last week that it will publicly show if a user has broken its terms of service. Instead of simply removing the tweet, the platform will now replace it with a grey box which reads “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules”, complete with a link back to the platform’s rules. This new sign will appear both on the user’s profile and on the URL to the tweet, and will remain live for 14 days after the offending content is taken down. Any user who reports a tweet will also be shown a replacement message saying “You reported this tweet”, to help communities show that their concerns are being listed to and actioned.

YouTube teams up with Eventbrite to sell live performance tickets
Following on from last year’s partnership with Ticketmaster, YouTube has announced a new agreement with ticketing website Eventbrite that will allow fans to book tickets to see live performances via an artist’s video page. Available exclusively on its Official Artist Channels, the new listings option will include a blue “Tickets” button which will take fans to the Eventbrite page – allowing them to easily purchase tickets to see their favourite artists. Thanks to the new deal, YouTube says “it now covers over 70-percent of the ticketing market (in the United States).”

YouTube helps brands engage with hard-to-reach TV audiences
YouTube has announced a set of new tools that will help advertisers to “engage audiences watching live TV on YouTube as well as those watching on-demand videos on the video-sharing network via traditional TV sets”, by allowing them to customise creative assets and paid media based on device type. According to YouTube, it currently reaches 50 percent more 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. than all TV networks combined; and this move means that brands will now be able to reach YouTube audiences across computers, mobile phones and tablets in Google Ads, as well as Display and Video 360. The update also includes a new targeting segment, Light TV Viewers, which will enable advertisers to target audiences who consume most of their content online; as well as introducing specific reporting tools to help advertisers assess adverts that run on TV screens.

Tommy Hilfiger launches new Facebook Messenger experience
Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger has released SideFlix, a new Facebook Messenger experience that offers fans exclusive branded content when they share it with friends. The more friends they invite, the more content they gain access to. As a build on this, “when two mobile devices are placed next to each other, influencers Jia-Ye Wu and Mia Kong take users on a journey across Shanghai, ending up on the fall 2018 TommyNow Icons runway”. As a third and fourth device are added to the mix, more influencers will appear and take users through a party in New York and designer events in Tokyo. SideFlix also gives fans the option to tap on any featured clothing and save the item to their wish lists, linking back to product details on the Tommy Hilfiger website – enabling friends to shop together in real-time online.

Three turns to Snapchat, Instagram and Tinder
Three – the UK’s smallest mobile provider – is partnering with Snapchat, Tinder and Instagram to run platform-specific promotions over the next three months. The new partnerships will see the brand sponsoring the revival of Snapchat’s “rainbow puke” Lens, featuring profiles for Henry VIII and his six wives on Tinder (all of who all appear in the brand’s latest ad campaign) and host the “dead-scrolling Olympics” on Instagram. This comes as the latest in a growing trend for telcos to offer mini-exclusives to consumers through tech partnerships. Three says that as it continues to grow in the 5G space and build excitement of what this will mean for the brand, partnerships such as these help it to reach new audiences without having to rely on calls or texts.

The post We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #419 appeared first on We Are Social UK.

What We Learned By Following 4 Pet Brands on Instagram Stories for a Month

The takeover of Instagram Stories is impossible to deny. Stories have become Facebook’s fastest growing products in the brand’s history, and Instagram as a whole is the fastest growing of all social networks today.

We were curious how brands that were already winning the social game and still receiving organic traction in the heart of a pay-to-play market were using this format to further extend their reach. We looked, specifically, at pet brands.

Animal content truly rules the internet, with 65 percent of pet owners posting about their pet twice a week. Brands playing in the space are well received also, seeing as much as 295 percent more comments on their content when it featured an animal, no matter the company or industry putting out the content.

In the $70 billion pet product industry, brands like Petco, PetSmart, BarkBox, and Chewy are leaders in brand recognition, sales, and market saturation. So we decided to follow them for a full month, capturing and documenting their Instagram Stories to deliver meaningful and actionable findings to anyone looking to inject some calculated cuteness into their social media strategies. Here’s what we uncovered.



  • Total # of Stories: 19
  • Average Per Week: 4
  • Average Segment Per Story: 4

Petco posted most of all the reviewed brands and supported the high posting volume by not custom producing content specifically for the format. Approximately 47 percent of the Stories included a “Swipe-Up” CTA and associated link. Just about half of Petco’s Story content from the month featured or supported the Petco Foundation in some way, be it through adoption spotlights, dog-owner features, or a listicle on 5 Ways Pets Change Our Lives. Of Petco’s remaining content mix, other key themes included influencer content (16%), adoption events (11%), and contests and giveaways (11%). The brand has a number of Story Highlights appended to its profile where it’s continually pinning new Story content.


  • Total # of Stories: 6
  • Average Per Week: 2
  • Average Segment Per Story: 3

PetSmart posted a total of six stories, the lowest volume of the four brands by more than 50 percent. Similar to Petco, the majority of its Story content (50%) featured either their PetSmart Charities or grant programs like Pets in the Classroom. Another key measurable trend was its use of the Stories format for behind-the-scenes content at stores and offices (33%) including a team birthday party and dog-friendly shopping experiences. It also used a custom designed, screenshot-to-share Story template to promote animals looking for forever homes during Adoption Weekend. The brand is using Story Highlights only for short-flighted seasonal purposes, removing them after a period of time has elapsed.


  • Total # of Stories: 14
  • Average Per Week: 4
  • Average Segment Per Story: 7

BarkBox used zero custom designed pieces, but instead captured scenes live onsite and in the app, utilizing features such as polls, the question widget, and video effects. BarkBox added a “Swipe-Up” least frequently of all brands, only about 21 percent of the time, using the format with a strategy closely aligned to its original, real-time coverage value proposition. Of all the brands, it had the most robust media mix and an even spread across still only, video only, and mixed media Stories. BarkBox used its Stories to feature behind-the-scenes content at the office and special events like the unveiling of their Bark Park. It posted quite a bit of influencer and UGC content, making up about 21 percent of the total mix. Contests and fan activations were also a key part of its Story strategy, including a “draw your dog” competition and #BillboardMyDog.



  • Total # of Stories: 12
  • Average Per Week: 2
  • Average Segment Per Story: 2

Chewy, now a part of PetSmart’s business portfolio, posted 12 Stories over the month review. Most notable was its heavy use of links, with 92 percent of its Story content including a “Swipe-Up” CTA. This is nearly double the number of links from the next closest brand, Petco, standing at a distant 47 percent usage. A near 75 percent of Chewy’s Story content was still imagery promoting blog posts and linking out to the featured article. The other content trend was giveaways, accounting for about 17 percent of the content.

The Biggest Insight: Using Stories to Build Brand Equity, Not Drive Sales

What we learned looking across all four brands’ activity was a clear commitment to the Story format and a preference for in-app, more informal use largely leaving custom design to other channels. Four key content themes emerged from our analysis: philanthropy, giveaways and contests, influencers and UGC, and behind-the-scenes, real-time footage. It was clear that the brands concept for Stories independently of the other channels and placements and the content reflects this targeted, differentiated effort.

All four pet industry giants have committed themselves to the Instagram Story format and are utilizing it regularly and frequently to extend the brand’s reach at a more one-to-one, personal level. Brands looking to move into the space should be mindful of the authenticity required for quality Story content. Across our four brands, very few Stories were used as product promotions. This is a notable discovery as all the brands studied have sophisticated e-commerce platforms and likely ambitious social revenue goals. They instead chose to use their Stories to give a value-add to their followers, offering a wider, more in-depth and uncut version of their content and brand than can be found on their other platforms. This allows their content to fit more seamlessly and organically into the natural use of Stories and the queue, among the friends and family customers follow.

Stories are a useful tool for building brand equity and bridging the gap between the mass market and personal interaction. These brands are doing incredible work to develop meaningful relationships with their customers and followers and providing value and support to the causes they are passionate about. Connecting on this level allows the brands to build loyalty and customer retention in an impactful way.

Want to use Instagram Stories to connect with your customers? Let us help.