Inside Social - November 8th, 2019

Inside Social (Nov 8th, 2019)

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1. As the outcries over misleading or false political ads on social media continue, Google is reportedly considering changing its policies. CNN recently reported on a Trump campaign ad on YouTube falsely accusing Vice President Joe Biden of corruption in meddling with Ukraine policy under the Obama administration. It has been viewed between 10 and 30 million times despite a Google Ads policy that states: "We don't want users to feel misled by ads, so we strive to ensure ads are clear and honest, and provide the information that users need to make informed decisions." A YouTube spokesperson said the Trump ad does not break its rules, but also said, somewhat contradictorily, that the company does not make special exceptions in its policy for political ads. As the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, higher-ups at Alphabet have been holding meetings about possible changes to the political ad policy — with some speculating that the company may change how such ads are able to be micro-targeted. Facebook is reportedly considering a similar change. – CNN

2. Some Redditors who spent the last week talking up their "free money" scheme via the Robinhood investing app are going to have to pay the piper. Business Insider got a copy of one of the letters that Robinhood sent to these rogue day traders on the r/wallstreetbets subreddit. In addition to disabling their accounts and allowing them to only make position-closing trades, anyone with a negative equity balance has to pay it back within 60 days. The so-called "infinite money" hack was discovered by one of the Redditors recently after he was able to turn a $2,000 investment into a $50,000 position using collateral-free credit. So far as we know, no one actually made money in the scheme, though the "hall of fame" posted there are still three users with financial outcomes "TBD." In one case, a user who leveraged $1.3 million on a $15,000 deposit is apparently now on the hook for $190,000 in losses. – BUSINESS INSIDER

3. #FollowFriday: Tinder's "Swipe Night" director Karena EvansRegardless of whether you're on Tinder or have heard about the app's choose-your-own-adventure content series "Swipe Night," you likely know Karena Evans' work from the last couple of years as the director of high-profile videos by Drake ("In My Feelings," "God's Pain"), or SZA's "Garden (Say It Like Dat)". The talented 24-year-old Canadian director and actress also maintains a cool and visually compelling Instagram presence, which doubles as a window into a creative corner of young Hollywood as it looks today.

4. Twitter is testing a series of changes meant to stop people from mindlessly piling on and "dunking" via retweets. The changes, set to debut over the next two weeks, are further efforts by Twitter to calm down the chaos of the platform and "improve the conversation," as it says it has been trying to do for much of the past year. The experiments include adding an emoji to a retweet, which the company hopes will make people think twice about their retweeting, or at least try to add some nuance or emotion to what they are quote-tweeting. The second experiment will automatically prompt the use of an emoji in a reply, with any negative-emotion emoji prompting a pop-up message that says, "Why do you disagree?" Product managers hope that changes like these will tamp down the excessive, reactionary patterns that happen with the Twitter outrage machine — but good luck with that! — BUZZFEED

5. Facebook's global head of communications (and former UK deputy prime minister) Nick Clegg confirms that the company is looking into ways to change how political ads are allowed to be microtargeted. NBC News reported earlier this week that Mark Zuckerberg was softening on this one aspect of the political-ad debate, following Twitter's decision to ban political ads altogether. Clegg tells Politico, "We’re working on a whole series of possible amendments and changes to our approach on political ads, so it’s not the end of the story." – POLITICO

6. Mark Zuckerberg dissed Tinder founder Sean Rad and dismissed a meeting Rad had proposed, a trove of leaked internal Facebook documents reveals. "I don’t think he’s that relevant," Zuckerberg wrote of Rad in an email, circa 2014, when Facebook first began toying with the idea of launching a dating service. "He probably just wants to make sure we won’t turn off their API." – FORBES

7. Snapchat has a new sponsored lens from VSCO, the photo app, that applies film-camera effects to Snaps. The lens has two main effects, with one -- called Film -- adding "light leaks, flares, glare, and distortions inspired by film cameras." The other, called Prism, adds rainbows and refracted light effects as if seen through a prism. – DIGITAL TRENDS

Inside Social is written and curated by Jay Barmann. Jay has spent a decade covering the social media space and the tech world in general for, the San Francisco branch of Gothamist. As editor of Grub Street San Francisco, he also covered the food world around the Bay Area. As a freelance writer he has written for SF Weekly, 7x7, Curbed SF, Eater SF, Eventbrite, New York Magazine, and San Francisco Magazine, among others. Follow him on Instagram at @conflator or Twitter at @jaybarmann.

Edited by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani, a freelance journalist based in California.

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