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Facebook: The WSJ Report Ignores Our Approach to Well-Being Research

Problematic use does not equal addiction. Problematic use has been used to describe people’s relationship with lots of technologies, like TVs and smartphones. We’ve built tools and controls to help people manage when and how they use our services. Furthermore, we have a dedicated team working across our platforms to better understand these issues and…

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  • Problematic use does not equal addiction. Problematic use has been used to describe people’s relationship with lots of technologies, like TVs and smartphones. We’ve built tools and controls to help people manage when and how they use our services. Furthermore, we have a dedicated team working across our platforms to better understand these issues and ensure people are using our apps in ways that are meaningful to them.
  • We have been studying well-being for more than a decade and that continues today. The suggestion that this work stopped in 2019 couldn’t be further from the truth. This is evidenced by the various pieces of research we have published externally since then and our increased engagement and collaboration with experts such as the Aspen Institute, the Humanity Center, and our role as a founding sponsor of the Digital Wellness Lab run jointly by Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • We ship features to help people manage their experiences on our apps and services. Just since 2018, we have introduced nearly 10 products to better support people’s well-being, including problematic use of our apps, and that work continues today.
  • This is an industry-wide challenge and we have an industry leading, centrally coordinated well-being research effort that works with product and engineering leaders across our services to understand and address issues impacting well-being, including problematic use.

The Wall Street Journal has once again chosen to selectively pick and choose from internal company documents to present a narrative that is simply wrong about how we use research to address an important issue – this time about problematic use. 

Our company has been engaged and supportive throughout our multiyear effort to better understand and empower people who use our services to manage problematic use. That’s why this work has taken place over multiple years, including now.

We’ve been working to conduct research and not in secret but in public. In fact, the primary piece of internal research the Journal cites was published in May 2019 at a premier academic conference for communications technology and is available here. We’ve also been exploring these questions and using well-being principles to inform our work for over 10 years. 

We want people to have a positive experience on our services so even though there isn’t an industry-established definition of problematic use, it’s something we’re invested in understanding. Our own research as well as external research has revealed significant variation in the number of people who self-report problematic use, depending on how it’s measured. After the May 2019 study, we ran another study that also asked people if they felt guilty about their social media use – intentionally expanding on previous definitions to capture a broader set of experiences. Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of problematic use in this study was higher because we studied more aspects of the issue. Why would we do research that would potentially show higher levels of problematic use? Because this was part of the early-stage research on this topic intended to help us understand the various facets of problematic use and develop more adequate messaging and tools to help support people who use our products. While a causal link between social media and addiction has not been found, and overall, research suggests that, on average, social media does not have a major detrimental impact on well-being, we still want to provide people with tools to help them manage it however they see fit.

What did this research lead Facebook to do? Roll out nearly 10 tools since 2018, including: 

  • Your Time on Facebook, which we launched in August of 2018, centralizing tools and options for people to manage their time. In April of 2020 we added Quiet Mode to this, which mutes most push notifications. If you try to open Facebook while in Quiet Mode, you’ll be reminded that you set this time aside to limit your time using the app. 
  • Control Your Notifications, which includes shortcuts to help you manage your notifications. It includes an option to mute all push notifications as well as manage the “red dots” in the shortcuts menu. Red dots can be removed from Marketplace, Groups, News and the “hamburger” menu.
  • See Your Time, which showcases the usage time per day, daytime/nighttime, and app visits. You can also get weekly usage updates and easy access to your activity log.

We have also launched a series of tools and features on Instagram to help people control the time they spend on the app. This includes things like the ability to ‘mute’ accounts to control what posts you see, a feature called ‘You’re All Caught Up’ that lets you know when you’ve seen all the recent content in your Feed, and time management tools where you can see your total time on the app each day and set a daily reminder that alerts you when you’ve reached a set amount of time on Instagram. We’ve also shared two new features we’re building to help people control their time on Instagram. 

This is just a small sample of the types of products and controls that we have launched publicly or are continuing to explore based on this research. We have plans to address these issues in even greater depth and will keep investing more in this work. 

The Journal also cites one internal study to speculate about how many people on Facebook experience problematic use. That’s irresponsible because, as is noted in the study itself, the research was designed to be as expansive as possible to help us better understand the challenge. For decades, there have been concerns about using too much of a new technology when it becomes available. How many people today actually think they should be spending more time on their smartphones or binge-watching their favorite TV shows? For example, a 2018 report on the Morning Consult/Hollywood Reporter poll said, “eighty-six percent said they’ve stayed up past their normal bedtime to watch a show, and 52 percent said they’ve stayed up all night. And while 40 percent of all TV watchers have made less healthy food or exercise choices because of a show, 57 percent of young adults have done so.” 

Platforms like ours still have a role to play in addressing this problem. At Meta, we’ve been doing exactly that for many years – and that work is continuing to move full steam ahead.

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Facebook: How Meta Is Preparing for Brazil’s 2022 Elections

Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms. Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity…

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Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms.

Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity workforce to more than 40,000 people globally. Last year alone, we invested nearly $5 billion in both areas.

We know that local knowledge is essential for this work to be effective, so we also have a large team of specialists based in Brazil who have a deep understanding of the situation. These efforts are intensified as the election approaches, and our work to protect the integrity of our platforms will continue after the vote.

Preventing and Stopping Election Interference

Removing content that violates our policies on voter suppression, such as posts that discourage people from voting, is among our many responses to potential interference in the electoral process. We take many actions to prevent hate speech or the incitement of violence on our platforms.

Currently, 99.7% of the fake accounts we remove from Facebook are deleted by artificial intelligence, before they are reported by users. We also investigate and disrupt networks that use fake accounts in a coordinated way to influence public debate.

Closer to October, we will activate an Elections Operations Center focused on Brazil, an initiative we’ve implemented since 2018, to bring together experts from across the company – including intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, public policy and legal teams. They work together to identify potential threats on our platforms in real time, accelerating our response time.

Collaborating With Authorities

In partnership with Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), in December 2021 we started adding a label to posts about political elections on Facebook and Instagram, directing people to reliable information on the Electoral Justice website. In the first two months after its launch, the label led to a 10-fold increase in visits to the Electoral Justice portal.

Between the end of April and the beginning of May, we posted reminders on Facebook for users to request or update their voter cards. The content was seen by the majority of adults using Facebook in Brazil and more than three  million people clicked to see more information. Closer to the upcoming election, we will again display reminders on Facebook and Instagram about voting day to raise awareness among voters and reduce abstention rates.

For the first time, the TSE will be able to report content directly on Facebook and Instagram that may violate our policies. We will analyze the reports once they are received.

WhatsApp launched an extrajudicial channel of communication in the 2020 municipal election to receive complaints from the TSE. The focus is on quick response to potential cases of bulk messaging, which is forbidden by local electoral law and by the app’s terms of service.

We also developed a virtual assistant on WhatsApp with the TSE, as we did during Brazil’s 2020 municipal election. The chatbot is accessible through the number +55 61 9637-1078. It allows voters to interact directly with the electoral authority and receive relevant information about the vote.

Meta has hosted training sessions for electoral officials all over Brazil to explain our actions to curb misinformation, share details on how Facebook and Instagram work, and detail our content rules, which we call our Community Standards and Community Guidelines. We also offer workshops to candidates and their campaign teams.

The partnership with the TSE also includes booklets with information for the electoral community and a guide to combating online violence against women in politics, also supported by the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) – Brazil Chapter.

Fighting Misinformation

We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that discourages voting or interferes with voting, such as incorrect information about the election date or candidates’ numbers.

We also work with independent fact-checking organizations to verify the veracity of reported posts that don’t violate our Community Standards. When fact-checkers mark a post as false, we reduce its reach on Facebook and Instagram.

People who still see this content in their feeds will see it covered with a label and a link directing them to more information from the fact-checker. In July, we increased the number of partners in our fact-checking initiative in Brazil from four to six including: Agência Lupa, AFP, Aos Fatos, Estadão Verifica, Reuters Fact Check and UOL Confere.

Since messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, we fight misinformation on WhatsApp through measures to reduce message virality.

Messages forwarded on WhatsApp are identified with a tag. Since 2020, messages with five or more forwards can be resent to just one conversation, which has led to a 70% global reduction in the number of frequently forwarded messages. This year, we implemented a new forwarding limit on WhatsApp: now, any forwarded message can only be forwarded again to one WhatsApp group at a time.

Advertising Transparency

In 2018, we launched our transparency tools for ads about politics and elections on Facebook and Instagram in Brazil. In 2020, we began requiring advertisers who wish to run ads about elections or politics to complete an authorization process and include “Paid for by” disclaimers on these ads. This year, we’ve expanded that requirement to ads about social issues such as economics, security and education.

All posts with the “Paid for by” disclaimer go to the Ad Library, where they are stored for seven years. The tool is open and provides anyone with detailed information about political ads including  the ad source account, audience demographics and estimated spending range, among other data.

Protecting the integrity of the Brazilian election in 2022 on our apps is a priority for Meta. We will continue to share updates on how we move forward with this work.

See more information about our work on elections.

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Microsoft is a Leader in The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites, Q3 2022

We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022. A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems…

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We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022.

A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems of record. “Dynamics 365 is purpose-built for this new world of business process. Our intelligent business applications connect data, process, and teams, ushering in a new era of hyper connected business and offering unparalleled value.” And over this past year we have been proud to see our customers take Dynamics 365 and show that there are really no limits to what can be done when you unite data silos with industry-leading AI and integrate collaboration tools throughout.

From the Campari Group’s ability to deploy bespoke personalization to their event attendees with real-time customer journey orchestration, to Dextra Group’s saving a whopping 60 percent on their customer relationship management (CRM) cost while also increasing seller productivity and lead quality, and to the city of Richmond, Virginia transformation of their non-emergency case management capabilities to deliver omnichannel engagement for improved efficiency and also becoming benchmark for how governments nationwide can utilize digital tools to better serve their communities.

What makes our CRM and connected products stand out for our customers? Here are seven key insights we have heard over the past year.

  1. Dynamics 365 provides an end-to-end, full-funnel solution. Dynamics 365 is the only portfolio of intelligent business applications that accelerates revenue outcomes by transforming selling experiences with a single intelligent, digital, customizable solution.
  2. Robust AI insights at your fingertips. Dynamics 365 enables everyone, across every team, to make better and more impactful decisions by converting data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI allowing teams to be more efficient and productive.
  3. Breakdown the barriers between people. We offer the leading workplace collaboration, video conferencing, and meeting software in the world with Microsoft Teams, which can connect seamlessly with our out-of-the-box CRM or be personalized to fit an organization’s needs with custom features.
  4. Personalize every experience. Dynamics 365 Marketing assists companies in more deeply understanding their customers and drives intent with AI-powered insights to deliver connected experiences—all the way from acquisition to retention.
  5. Streamlined, proactive, scalable sales. Dynamics 365 helps sales teams uplevel forecasting and revenue operations with built-in AI and machine learning and enhance seller performance with recommended next best actions, productivity tools, and real-time coaching.
  6. Breakthrough service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps organizations meet the evolving needs of every customer across every channel and increases customer satisfaction, while boosting frontline employee productivity regardless of location.
  7. Low-code transformation. With Microsoft Power Platform, organizations can provide anyone with the ability for low-code transformation with low-code, intuitive, extensible tools that seamlessly connect to Dynamics 365. 

It’s an honor for us that so many organizations look to us for help modernizing sales, marketing, and service operations. As Forrester states in its report, “Microsoft’s strong vision, the breadth of its suite, and its partner ecosystem and industry solutions drive its 40% year-over-year growth, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and retail.” We genuinely believe that with connected data, underpinned by industry leading AI and insights, there are no limits to what organizations can do. From upleveling employee experiences, to improving team productivity, and building deeper relationships with customers. It is all available with Dynamics 365.

Learn more

To learn more about how Microsoft compared with the other eight selected providers, please navigate to The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 website and get your copy.

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Exchange Online Basic authentication is going away: What you need to know

Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change. How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics…

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Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change.

How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics 365 and Power Apps?

After October 1, 2022, any connection to Exchange Online that uses server-side sync or the Dynamics 365 Email Router with Basic authentication (username and password) will quit working. Dynamics 365 mailboxes that use these connections will no longer be able to:

  • Send email from Dynamics 365 through Exchange Online
  • Retrieve email from Exchange Online
  • Synchronize appointments, contacts, or tasks between Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online

This change doesn’t affect connections that use Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization).

How can I find out if I need to prepare?

If your company is using server-side sync or the Email Router to connect to Exchange Online using a username and password, you need to act. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your organization is affected and what you need to do if it is.

Review your Message Center Posts (recommended)

The fastest and most reliable way to know if you need to prepare and what to do is to look in the Microsoft 365 Message Center. (You must have admin rights to sign in to the Message Center.) The Exchange Online team has been sending monthly Message Center posts to all affected customers with the following title format: “Basic Authentication – Monthly Usage Report – 2022.”

If your organization is using server-side sync with Basic authentication, you may also have received Message Center posts from the Dynamics 365 or Power Apps services. Look for posts with the following title: “Impact due to Exchange Online disabling Basic Authentication.”

The posts provide detailed information about the change and actions you need to take before October 1.

Check your Dynamics 365 email settings

If you don’t find any posts in the Message Center, read our guide on how to check whether your organization is affected and if it is, what you need to do before October 1.

Learn more

You can find more information, including FAQs, in the documentation:

Use of Basic authentication with Exchange Online | Microsoft Docs

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