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Others still have argued that “deplatforming” — as in, removing the platform available to reactionary or radical voices — helps limit the harm that they cause.
So where does the truth lie?
Is it a violation of freedom of speech to ban someone from a social media platform?
The short answer is “no.” The long answer is “no, but.”
Legal protections for free speech, like the American First Amendment and Canada’s section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect speech from government limits, but not those imposed by private entities.
Think of it this way: Imagine that you, a playwright, wish to show your play at a local theatre. The proprietor says, “no, I don’t like you and I’m not going to like your play” and won’t let you rent or use her space. This is not a free speech violation in a legal sense. The theatre is a private platform, and the owner can say yay or nay to allowing you there.
If, though, the government says “well the play makes fun of us and we don’t like it,” and prevents the play from being shown, that is a more direct assault on freedom of speech as would be protected by the constitutions of Canada and the United States.
The “no, but” part of the question applies to the broader idea of free speech. As in, does a lesser tolerance for the free exchange of ideas among actors who aren’t governments lead to free speech issues, even if they’re not strictly limitations of the section 2 or First Amendment variety?
Some have argued that these legal protections should be expanded to social media.
Writing for the American Bar Association, David L. Hudson Jr. with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says “the time has come to extend the reach of the First Amendment to cover these powerful, private entities that have ushered in a revolution in terms of communication capabilities.”
But it’s the president. Isn’t that different?
There are a few competing issues here.
The first is that even without Twitter, Donald Trump is the most able communicator on the planet. He has an international press corps who will attend briefings. He can phone in to his favourite television station. He can publish videos on the White House website.
The second is that if Trump has done wrong, shouldn’t other world leaders be held accountable, too? And if it’s just Trump, and rules aren’t applied equally, some have argued, including Russian dissident Alexey Navalny, that this amounts to censorship.
Why Black-owned media companies didn't join multicultural marketplaces – Digiday
Agencies saw the social unrest movement as an opportunity to create multicultural exchanges. Black-owned media companies are hesitant to join.
Last summer, marketers vowed to support Black-owned media companies with increased ad spend. In turn, agencies said they saw an increase in clientele; publishers said they received more RFPs and signed longer-term ad deals.
And where there is advertising money flowing, there are agencies to step in and help direct the stream.
While the opportunity to place ads on Black-owned publications became en vogue amid the social unrest movement over the summer, Black-owned media has been left disappointed in the months that followed that it took marketers so long to realize that their properties are worth investment.
“There has been a slight knock-on effect after the increased awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer,” said Mariel Richards, CEO of U.K.-based magazine gal-dem. “Which is kind of bittersweet because it’s a good thing that we’re able to support our staff and our community with increased commissioning budgets that comes from this advertising. But it is frustratingly familiar that this money is coming from a time of crisis and that it takes a tragedy for this attention to fall on us.”
GroupM, Havas Media and H Code all launched new multicultural private marketplaces or networks in the past year for brand clients to more efficiently buy ad spots in Black-owned media companies at scale. But some independently owned media companies are refraining from joining these agency networks, despite indications that the marketplaces are bringing in new clients and sales for publishers that are participating.
In June, Havas Media Group launched its version of a multicultural marketplace, its so-called social equity marketplace, in the U.S., later creating marketplaces in the U.K., France and Germany. The expansion will soon come to Spain.
The marketplace in the U.S. quickly gained steam and now claims that one-fourth of its clients are active in it. Furthermore, the marketplace offers programmatic ads for more than 1,200 BIPOC- and LGBTQ+-owned and operated publishers and media partners, including podcast creators and CTV channels, according to the company’s global head of programmatic, Ben Downing.
In its U.K. iteration, campaigns saw a 25% uplift compared to D&I-focused campaigns not purchased in the marketplace. And in all of the global social equity marketplaces, transactions have been consistent and growing since launch. In other words, clients are not just using the marketplace during key moments for Black audiences, such as Black History Month in the U.S., Downing said.
GroupM has had a multicultural division since 2006 but launched its programmatic multicultural marketplace in July. The PMP started with a portfolio of 300 sites. It now includes more than 500 media sites primarily operated by BIPOC creators or produced for BIPOC audiences, versus being minority owned.
The marketplace has brought in 20 to 25 new clients into the multicultural division, according to Gonzalo del Fa, president of GroupM Multicultural, but he said he expects significant growth in 2021 as his team moves out of the strategizing stage and into the execution phase. Especially when it comes to programmatic.
“We did have a lot of client interest, what became the challenge is that most of those sites were not set up programmatically,” said Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investments officer at GroupM, adding that her team consulted with the publishers in the marketplace to help set them up for programmatic transactions.
Overall, these marketplaces have convinced brands to more regularly allocate a portion of their advertising budgets to publishers that they might never have worked with before. This moment of time has also gotten brands to spend around new key moments. Schiekofer added that this was the first year ever that her team has had clients ask about Juneteenth campaigns.
But as agencies become more involved in the process, independently owned publishers say they lose direct contact with potential new clients, as well as autonomy over who is advertising on their sites and what they’re able to charge, leaving many skeptical and hesitant to join these marketplaces.
“After everything that came with Black Lives Matter, there are lots of agencies and organizations that are making quick money off of saying they are able to put a badge of diversity and ‘wokeness’ on a brand, without that brand having to actively engage with that community,” said gal-dem’s Richards. “It didn’t feel just like the normal moving and shaking of the advertising world, it felt much more like exploitation than it would have in any other circumstance.”
Richards said that gal-dem was included as a publisher in one multicultural marketplace for an agency that “specializes in buying diverse media,” despite not having had a conversation with that agency about the magazine’s inclusion. Richards would not disclose the name of the agency, but said that the experience left “a bad taste in my mouth.”
The advertising industry has historically been dominated by the white male demographic, Richards said, and in these situations, the agencies become the middlemen that profiteer on the money that is being earmarked by brands to support Black-owned media companies.
REVOLT, a music-oriented digital cable television network founded by rapper and producer Sean Combs, was approached by GroupM to join its multicultural marketplace, but turned down the offer, according to the network’s evp of ad sales Mike Roche.
In the past year, Roche said REVOLT added 40 new advertisers. Joining a PMP would not have allowed the company to gain the scale at the depth of spend it could reach on its own.
PMPs allow brands to “check the box of buying Black-owned properties through small allocations of media,” but the “brands that are looking to make the greatest impact on the culture” usually work with REVOLT’s in-house agency, Roche said.
The Plug, a newsletter turned online media company covering innovation and entrepreneurship in the Black community, also has not worked with any multicultural PMPs or media buying agencies, said the publication’s founder Sherrell Dorsey.
“It’s not a matter of being left out,” however, she said. “It’s when you’re looking for critical mass, sometimes the niche spaces just don’t fit. And I’m OK with that.”
Dorsey noted that the brand saw an increase of requests from brands over the summer, but declined to count this uptick in true growth and instead called it artificial.
That interest also began to wane by the start of the fourth quarter, she noted, with a slight pick-up again ahead of Black History Month last month.
“I think that you kind of have that crop of advertisers who feel like they’re doing Black media publishers a favor when they are approaching them and looking to advertise, but they don’t want to spend market rate for what it costs,” said Dorsey.
For many of these independently-owned media companies covering topics and reporting stories that have been largely marginalized by mainstream media, this additional ad revenue becomes even more crucial to their operations, so agencies taking a portion of that makes it an even murkier situation, Richards said.
“Not only do they take away your agency in terms of determining which brands are present on your website — which potentially could affect how people view your editorial integrity when reading it — but also they start to determine how much that that audience is worth,” Richards said.
Further more, gal-dem typically sets its CPMs between £15-25 ($20-35) due to its selective nature around who the advertisers are and the number of ads that run on site. But the agencies that Richards has spoken with in the past encouraged the magazine to drop its CPMs to £4-6 (about $5-8), even though publications of a similar size that have a whiter audience are being sold at £10-15 ($14-20) or £15-20 ($20-17) CPMs. Not only does it make Richards question the motive of the agency, but she said it is also very transparent that advertisers do not see Black audiences as having an equally high value.
“We’re trying to make a shift in how dollars are allocated, how campaigns are built. Let’s talk about a strategic relationship with a brand that goes six months, a year, two years.” said Damian Benders, general Manager of B Code Media, a division of multicultural advertising agency H Code that focuses on connecting brands with Black audiences.
In January, the B Code division was officially launched and rather than only being a programmatic solution to selling Black media at scale, Benders said that his team focuses on researching insights into Black audiences then takes a consultative approach to helping brands build campaigns that are meaningful.
“Black media suffers from the problem of building scale across a fragmented landscape. There’s a few top players that are bigger companies that have a bunch of brands, and then there’s hundreds of smaller players who are minority owned [that] aren’t getting most of the money,” said Benders.
Some publishers are taking the issue of limited scale into their own hands and either formally (or informally) creating their own networks of multicultural publications.
Roche’s solution mirrors the industry: He said REVOLT will launch its own version of a PMP by the end of the year, which will focus on creating a network of YouTube content creators and digital publishers.
Richards said gal-dem informally works with other U.K.-based niche publishers regularly, and will share RFPs that don’t fully match its specific audience.
Brands want to make sure they “get the scale within the community they’re trying to reach. That’s totally feasible outside of working with a white guy who says that he can buy programmatic advertising. And often we can do it more effectively because then you’ll get access to the talent directly through the publications,” she said.
'Self-serving': U.K. media tabloids hit back at Meghan and Harry's interview – CTV News
British tabloids are hammering Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her husband Prince Harry after their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan revealed during the sit-down conversation that life within the Royal Family was so isolating, lonely and lacking in support that she had experienced suicidal thoughts. She also said that individuals within the institution had raised concerns about the colour of their son Archie’s skin.
Even before the interview — Meghan’s first since she and her husband announced plans to step back from senior roles in the Royal Family — the U.K. media had been criticizing the event. The relationship between the couple and the country’s press, and particularly newspaper tabloids, has long been tumultuous.
The Daily Mail ran wall-to-wall coverage of the interview, and tried to fit all of the bombshells into a single headline this way: “Meghan claims she was suicidal when she was 5 months pregnant, Kate made HER cry and Royals refused to make Archie a prince because they were worried how ‘dark’ he would be, as Harry reveals their new baby will be a GIRL.” The website was dominated with coverage, including at least 13 articles about the interview that included photos.
The interview aired Sunday on CBS during primetime U.S. hours, and 1 a.m. local U.K. time.
The tabloid’s website also included a prominent banner that read: “I WANTED TO KILL MYSELF,” and featured a clip playing on loop from the interview, which showed Meghan saying, with subtitles: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Another article on the website ripped into the couple’s discussion during the interview about life in the United States, where they are raising chickens.
“Back to basics at their $14.5 million mansion,” read one headline.
Monday’s print edition of the Daily Mail, meanwhile, highlighted the allegations about concerns of Archie’s skin colour: “MEGHAN ACCUSES PALACE OF RACISM,” the front page of Monday’s edition of the Daily Mail read. While other news outlets used images provided by Harpo Productions, Winfrey’s production company, the Daily Mail chose a closely cropped image focused on Meghan’s face.
The deluge of stories on the Daily Mail homepage follows a dismissive pre-interview banner headline earlier on Sunday, in which the outlet attempted to lambast the CBS special as “a sideshow.”
Other newspapers were also quick to weigh in on the potential fallout of the interview.
“Meghan Markle may never return to Britain after angering Royal Family with bombshell Oprah interview,” The Sun newspaper wrote, referring to Meghan’s name before marriage. It cited “insiders [who] fear she and Prince Harry could have burnt their bridges by failing to tell family members what was in the two-hour chat before it was shown.”
The publication has come up with a new nickname for Meghan amid her rift with the Royal Family: “Megxile.” Previously, British tabloids have labelled the couple’s decision to step away from their royal duties “Megxit,” a riff on the term used to describe the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
“Queen: Duty and family unite us,” read the front page of the Daily Express newspaper. “That’s public service for you, Harry and Meghan … NOT a self-serving TV chat with Oprah.”
Even ahead of the program, British tabloids came armed for the occasion, which was among the biggest royal interviews in decades.
On Monday, the Daily Mirror’s print edition will point to Princes “Charles & William’s ‘immense sadness'” amid “Oprah interview fallout,” Sky News reported.
Both the duke and duchess have increasingly opened up about the harsh media scrutiny they have received.
Last month, Prince Harry told late night talk show host James Corden that his experiences had prompted him to take a step back from the Royal Family. “We all know what the British press can be like, and it was destroying my mental health,” he said.
And in April of last year, Harry and Meghan said they would cut off all dealings with four of the United Kingdom’s biggest tabloid newspapers after years of strained relations. The couple has also tussled with the media in court.
In the interview with Oprah on Sunday, Meghan said that it had become painfully clear that there were double standards in how the media covered her and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife to Prince William, who is second in the line of succession to the throne.
“I can see now what layers were at play there. And again, they really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain,” said Meghan.
Coverage of the interview with Meghan and Harry was not limited to the tabloids. British morning shows and broadsheets also featured excerpts prominently on Monday.
— Brian Stelter contributed to this report.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
An entrepreneur’s last attempt at regaining productivity: Ditching social media in 2021 – The Next Web
Do I consume social media or is it slowly consuming me? This blurred line has garnered increased attention due to recent documentaries like The Social Dilemma, which popularized deeply unsettling questions about the impact of social media on our mental health, politics, even free will.
Yet many of us have our reasons for staying in the game. I’m sure there are some prolific entrepreneurs and writers who have no problem managing their social media usage, but that’s not my experience. I find these platforms consistently distract from my most important work. It’s a huge cost that I just can’t ignore anymore.
I’ve attempted on several occasions to rise above the addiction, placing heavy restrictions on my daily usage. Good intentions only got me so far. Somehow I’ve always been pulled back into social media’s gravity, using it the way it demands to be used (i.e. obsessively).
That is, until a few weeks ago. I have finally decided that social media steals too much of my time and attention to warrant continued investment. For 2021, I’ve chosen a more clear-cut approach to handling social media: network-cutting.
The opportunity cost of social media
On a sunny day in the late 2000s, Mom snapped my photo and uploaded it to her computer. There I was, a freshman, grinning and backlit in front of her blinds. Not candid or stylish — just a grainy placeholder photo to help me complete my Myspace profile. Months later, I adopted Facebook as well, and within a couple of years, I had signed up for Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Unlike most hobbies and habits I picked up in high school, this one stuck. The longer I was on social media, the more weekly time I invested in each platform. I recorded photos from backpacking trips, learned about important causes, shared my own articles and short stories, and networked to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for my copywriting business — all thanks to social media.
But the benefits did not come without their costs.
The most obvious cost was my time. According to Statista, the average daily social media usage was 144 minutes in 2019. Assuming I’m fairly average — a safe assumption — that means I spent almost 900 hours browsing social media websites in one calendar year. Since high school, that adds up to several months of my life in accumulated scrolling, liking, posting, friend requesting, and meme sharing.
But on its own, sunk time doesn’t directly equate to a lack of value. What I gained for all that time on social media — and whether I could have gotten greater value for my time elsewhere — is harder to quantify.
I think the most apt analogy I’ve heard is that social media is like cognitive junk food. These sites emphasize headlines and hot takes rather than depth and nuance.
Like fast food, social media plays on my weaknesses by maintaining a close enough appearance to substance — so much so that sometimes I can ignore the difference.
The problem is, I don’t want a mere passable substitute for tackling big ideas, understanding the news, and connecting with friends. Just give me the real thing. Give me depth, substance, and real connection.
And what about creators who only use social media to spread and publish ideas? Instant publishing offers many clear benefits — but it also offers a dangerous shortcut for anyone who desires to produce work that lasts.
Author and economist Tim Harford put the opportunity cost of his social media usage in exact numbers: “My Twitter habit is more of a problem. I have 145,000 followers, gently persuaded over 10 years and 40,000 tweets to follow me — that’s about 10 books’ worth, or 20 years of weekly columns. This alone was a reminder of just what an effort Twitter could be.”
How I got here
I’ve never taken more than a single month off social media since my freshman year of high school. And even those few breaks wouldn’t have happened without first discovering the work of Cal Newport, author and professor of computer science at Georgetown.
Newport writes at the intersection of professional development and technology. From late 2018 through 2019, I read three of his books in rapid succession, with one idea rising above the rest: deep work. Here’s a definition from his website:
The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to concentrate without distraction on a demanding task (what I call ‘deep work’) is becoming more rare at the same time that it’s becoming more valuable in the knowledge sector. As a result, those individuals and organizations who put in the hard work to cultivate this skill will thrive.
Newport’s Deep Work Hypothesis caused me to reconsider how I organize my day, what I value in work and leisure, and my relationship to social media.
As a copywriter, deep work is how I make my living. Unbroken, focused attention is what pays the bills and moves my business forward. The more time I dedicate to the craft and business of writing, the better I become and the more work I produce. When something gets in the way of writing, it interferes directly with my earning and career potential.
And nothing pulls me away from writing faster than Twitter, Facebook, or even LinkedIn. What began as an innocent high school hobby now steals so much of my time and attention. I knowingly bleed productivity every week.
*wakes up and looks at phone*
ah let’s see what fresh horrors await me on the fresh horrors device
— Miss O’Kistic (@missokistic) November 11, 2016
Maintaining a social media presence — especially for writers and entrepreneurs — often feels non-negotiable. The choice isn’t whether you use social media, but how.
In the opening page of Invested, Charles Schwab writes, “The world of business, like the rest of life, is full of wonderful temptations, and making a choice about where you are going to devote your energy is often as much about dismissing things as it is about choosing something. A singular sense of purpose gives you focus and clarity.”
Cutting social networks from my life for the next year is my attempt to achieve a new level of focus — perhaps one that becomes an advantage. What will a return to focus mean for me this year? Maybe I’ll publish more articles in more reputable magazines than any year before — or earn a book contract. Maybe I’ll finish work early every day and have more time to read, exercise, or call up a friend.
Think about when was the last time you texted someone, “How are you?” Without the crutch of feeling like I know friends from updates from social media, I’ll have to be more proactive. I’ll have to ask. For now, I have many aspirations and I’m optimistic about what a year without social media could mean personally and professionally.
Of course, there’s a possibility that things go counter to my plan. Maybe a year without social media will change the way I see it. Maybe the benefits will become clearer to me and I’ll re-log on to each platform with enthusiasm at the start of 2022.
If I’m honest, I doubt that’ll be the case. I believe the internet is a better place to learn, write, and grow a business when I’m not competing for trivial achievements like a fresh new badge about a single retweet or like.
I have a hunch that I’ll never choose to go back to social media. Or maybe it’s a prayer. Either way, I’m out.
Published March 8, 2021 — 09:27 UTC
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