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Last Week Online #56 – Will memes determine the 2020 election?

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Memes could be a smart way to reach voters, but is it smart when you want to get votes?

FTC will investigate all "big tech" acquisition of the last decade

This week, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would take a closer look at hundreds of acquisitions made by Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook over the last ten years. The goal is to understand if the "big tech" companies were engaging in "potentially anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors."

Many of the big tech companies have strategically bought smaller tech firms over the years, often for less than $100 million, pocket money for the acquirers. This review could mean that Facebook's acquisition of Instagram or WhatsApp, for example, could have been disallowed by declaring that they were "nascent competitors."

Part of the FTC's objective is to understand whether, in the future, it needs to change the rules to capture a more extensive array of transactions. However, in the extreme, it could lead to potential unwinding or divestiture of some of these acquisitions.

Writing anonymous Google reviews is serious business in Australia

An Australian court ruled that Google has to identify an anonymous user who wrote a negative review to a Melbourne dental surgeon, advising others to "stay away" from the practice. The post is three months old and Dr Kabbabe, who owns the practice, claims it damaged his business.

Under Australian law, small business owners can sue someone for a bad review, and courts can force the removal of some online content. But the review or comment need to mention the person either directly or indirectly. Dr Kabbabe said, "We want to find out who this is; it could be a competitor or former employee; we just don't know."

In November, Google refused to take down the negative review, claiming it did not "have any means to investigate where and when the ID was created."But after the court ruling Google must turn over all identifying details for the user, including location metadata and IP addresses. Also, it has to provide information about other Google accounts using the same IP address during that time.

Bloomberg's campaign paid for memes; people got confused

This week, we learned that Michael Bloomberg's campaign had contracted some of the biggest meme-makers online and paid them to advertise his campaign. The meme-makers are behind sponsored posts – fake direct messages from Michael Bloomberg – on several influential Instagram accounts, most of them with follower counts between 2 and 14 billion people.

All of the ads posted so far feature disclosures that they were ads, but a lot of people reached by the memes thought they were satirical. "It's the most successful ad that I've ever posted, and I think a lot of it came from people being confused whether or not it was real."

Facebook then said that it would allow political campaigns and candidates to pay creators for sponsored content on Instagram and Facebook, as long as the posts follow their disclosure guidelines for branded content. In practice, it means that all sponsored political content must use Facebook's branded content tool, declaring at the top of the post that the creator was paid for it and by whom.

Tool of the week: Keywords Everywhere

Keyword research is critical for everyone trying to create online content that suits your audience. But it's tedious and boring, or at least it used to be until I found Keywords Everywhere. This smart browser add-on for Chrome or Firefox lets you do your keyword exploration it right in the search field.

For free can see what related search terms there are for anything you search for on Google. And if you pay it will give you monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites. I use it regularly to look-up keywords on both Google and YouTube.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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