Facebook is updating its algorithm with something called Click Gap, Instagram Alt Text, Twitter lowers the number of people you can follow per day and more in our April 2019 Social News Roundup!

Ep. 0342


April 2019 Social Roundup


Liz [00:00:03] Hey there, welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We are the podcast that shares tips and insight on all things digital marketing to help your business grow. Today Sandro is going to be giving our April social media roundup.

Sandro [00:00:16] Thanks Liz. Let’s… We haven’t done a roundup in a couple of months.

Liz [00:00:20] Really, has it been…?

Sandro [00:00:21] Yeah we didn’t do one in March.

Liz [00:00:24] There must have not been a lot going on.


Twitter Limits Number of Accounts You Can Follow


Sandro [00:00:26] And there really isn’t too much going on here now. Again the reason we do this for your small business is so that you’re aware of the trends and things going on. These stories wouldn’t be enough for a full episode so we’ll combine them here. The first one we’ll talk about is my favorite social media platform, Twitter. To help fight spam and bots, they’re lowering the number of accounts you can follow per day. You used to be able to follow a thousand accounts a day.

Liz [00:00:52] Wow that’s a lot.

Sandro [00:00:53] But who follows a thousand people a day? Bots, spammers.

Liz [00:00:57] Right.

Sandro [00:00:57] Well now it’s down to 400 per day. The idea is to help prevent spammers from attempting to rapidly grow their account by following, then unfollowing Twitter accounts in a quote, “bulk, aggressive or indiscriminate manner.” I know there are quite a few small businesses here in Cleveland actually, Northeast Ohio that follow you, then unfollow you if you don’t follow them back, and then they follow you two days later. But now at max you can only follow 400 people a day. Some people think that’s not enough. They believe 400 is way higher than most people follow per day, but Twitter is sticking to that number telling TechCrunch recently, “we looked at follow behavior at various thresholds and selected 400 as a reasonable limit. That stopped most spam while not affecting legitimate users.”

Liz [00:01:41] I would think that as a legitimate user…


Is 400 a Day Low Enough?


Sandro [00:01:44] I don’t think I follow 400 people in a year.

Liz [00:01:47] Right! Like if you, because Twitter is so established now you would have to be a new account, I guess a new business.

Sandro [00:01:56] Or you’re signing up to Twitter for the first time. I’m going to follow LeBron James and Barack Obama and CNN and Donald Trump maybe and whatever.

Liz [00:02:03] Right.

Sandro [00:02:05] But yeah, are you gonna follow 400 people the first day? Maybe. But after that…

Liz [00:02:09] Yeah I just, I feel like anything over a hundred is spammy.


Facebook Is Changing Its Feed – Introducing Click Gap


Sandro [00:02:14] Next Facebook is changing its news feed.

Liz [00:02:17] Again.

Sandro [00:02:17] Again. To try to fight fake news. On April 10th Facebook made a few announcements discussing the fact they want to stop the spread of misinformation and nurture what they call quote “integrity” on their platform. The biggest change they announced is the introduction of a new metric called ‘click gap.’ ‘Click gap’ is Facebook’s attempt to limit the spread of websites that are disproportionately popular on Facebook compared to the rest of the internet. If Facebook finds a ton of links to a certain website on Facebook but see that only a few websites all over the internet link to it outside of Facebook then Facebook’s going to use that as a signal among other signals to limit the website’s reach. Limit the exposure of any posts you or your friends or your family members and even groups can see.


Facebook Cracking Down on Its Groups


Sandro [00:03:08] Which brings me to another update. Facebook is also turning its attention to groups where so much of this amplification happens and it’s actually my favorite part of Facebook to be honest with you, the groups. But at the same time they spend a lot of misinformation per Facebook. Groups are particularly tricky because they are intimate and many of them are secret or closed. So when abuse happens, it’s up to the members to report it to Facebook or for Facebook’s automated tools to detect it.

Sandro [00:03:38] So Facebook is now going to take a stronger approach for administrators of toxic Facebook groups and will factor in moderator behavior when assessing the health of a group. Quote “When reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at the administrators and moderators to see if they are actively taking down the spread of misinformation.” So Facebook’s going to penalize these groups for spreading fake news and even downgrade the reach of these groups it finds to be constantly sharing links to these terrible sites and make it harder for these groups to be found.


Alt Text In Instagram


Sandro [00:04:09] Finally Instagram. I basically wanted to point out to you that you can now add alt text to your Instagram posts. Since around Thanksgiving you could add 100 characters in alt text, and what that stands for is ‘alternative text’ to your posts, photos, videos. The main reason for this is for those people who are sight impaired to be able to know what is on your photo. You can test this. I tried this with my iPhone.

Sandro [00:04:38] I turned on ‘voiceover’ and I went to Instagram and I just tapped a photo. And if you do not enter an alt text, Instagram’s artificial intelligence bot will guess what’s on your photo and fill in some alt text. Basically I went to Instagram with voiceover on and just started tapping some photos to see how good the artificial intelligence was and it was pretty spot on. My vegan friend posts photos of food all the time and basically all it says is, ‘this is a photo of food.’ ‘This is a photo of food.’ Even though one of them had Oreos which are vegan, I can’t believe.

Liz [00:05:10] Oreos are vegan, yes. I wouldn’t say that they’re great for you but they are vegan.

Sandro [00:05:17] He would have carrots or he would have some seitan which is a vegan steak?

Liz [00:05:22] It’s like a tofu, or it’s a soy-based product.


Instagram Will Guess What’s In Your Pic Without Alt Text


Sandro [00:05:26] But all it would say is ‘food,’ ‘food.’ So he is now entering an alt text. And this will also help with some search engine optimization. In the future when these photos are crawled by Google and let’s say you want to see a picture of the new Game of Thrones Oreo’s. Did you know they’re available?

Liz [00:05:43] Did not.

Sandro [00:05:44] You take a picture of them, throw in the alt text, “Game of Thrones Oreos” and Google will know this is a photo of Game of Thrones Oreo’s. You only have 100 characters so it’s very limited to what you can type in.

Liz [00:05:58] Yeah that is short.

Sandro [00:06:00] Yeah, keep it short. Just say what’s in the photo and that’s it. Don’t give any fillers or “a beautiful picture of a picturesque sunset over a calm lake” or something, just say…

Liz [00:06:11] Yeah, just get to the point.

Sandro [00:06:12] “Sunset over Lake Erie.” “Lake Erie sunset.” You know, done. So I’m encouraging everybody when you get a chance, go back and add some alt text to your photos on Instagram and that’s all I have.

Liz [00:06:25] I like it. Good updates. Good for us all in the marketing space to be aware of these. I feel like the news update and the groups update could have a whole separate discussion on some of the pros and cons of how Facebook is going about moderating their platform a little bit more. We won’t get into that today. Obviously this is this is just the roundup so you are in the know. So thank you for these updates Sandro, we appreciate that. That’s today’s episode. Remember you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would love for you to show us a little bit of love with a review on iTunes. You can also find us on Google Podcast and Spotify. That’s it for today. We will see you next time.