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Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all marketplace. This training explains it all

TLDR: The courses in The 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle explain how to launch effective digital campaigns to drive sales on all the top social media platforms. There’s more to being a social media expert than logging into Facebook every day or making sure you’re keeping a close eye on your Twitter mentions.…

TLDR: The courses in The 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle explain how to launch effective digital campaigns to drive sales on all the top social media platforms.

There’s more to being a social media expert than logging into Facebook every day or making sure you’re keeping a close eye on your Twitter mentions. True social media experts need to fully understand their target audience, where they congregate and how to connect with them effectively. And with dozens of venues and approaches to choose from, that’s no simple task.

With training like The 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle ($29.99, over 90 percent off from TNW Deals), those looking to harness the power of social media behind their brand have an easy-to-follow blueprint for raising awareness, engaging potential customers, and converting sales, all via the world’s biggest social platforms.

The collection includes seven courses featuring more than 34 hours of instruction for assembling the best marketing strategies possible for deployment on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.

The training starts with the Digital Marketing Foundations 101 course, which launches even first-timers toward all the steps in building a digital marketing plan. This immersive training looks at all the basics, from email marketing, building a website, SEO, digital advertising, measurement, and analytics.

Next, Social Media Foundations 101 and Social Media Strategy are a pair of introductory courses that get beyond theory into actual digital marketing practice. This training offers solid plans for creating a stellar business presence on social media, defining marketing goals, target audiences, and content strategies, and understanding how each social media platform fits into your business strategy.

The remaining courses dig into tactics for learning the strengths and weaknesses of the best platforms for finding and developing a social media following for your brand. Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, and LinkedIn Marketing may seem like similar areas of study, but once you get inside the mechanics of each outlet, you’ll start to understand the differences in each audience.

Finally, Facebook Advertising goes inside paid advertising on the powerful platform, explaining how to master ad targeting and buying options to get the most reach for your money.

Each course in the bundle is a $299 value, but by picking up the entire collection right now, you cut your final price down to just $29.99.

Prices are subject to change.

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Instagram will share ad revenue with influencers for the first time, creating new opportunities for advertisers

Business Insider Intelligence and eMarketer are now Insider Intelligence, a digitally-focused research company from Insider Inc.This story was delivered to Insider Intelligence eMarketer Briefing subscribers earlier this morning.Insider Intelligence analyzes this industry and several others to provide in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. Learn more about what we offer.Instagram is introducing its…

Instagram is introducing its first ad option for IGTV, which is also its first foray into revenue-sharing with creators, per Adweek. Instagram has struggled to get IGTV, the platform’s long-form video sharing feature, off the ground. But now, its new creator monetization option could attract more influencers to create more video content for the platform.

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Instagram is increasing creator incentives to make content for IGTV, and if it pans out it could boost user engagement with the section. The previously ad-free IGTV has been historically underutilized by Instagram creators who instead preferred to focus on revenue-generating content, like sponsored posts or Stories. But now that some creators can monetize IGTV videos at an attractive revenue-sharing rate — the same as YouTube’s, a 55% cut — more will be willing to use the long-form video features instead of turning to competitors.

In particular, creators could be more willing to repurpose content for IGTV that they’re already creating for their audiences, like livestreams. In fact, Instagram introduced a new option last month to upload finished Live streams to IGTV, which will help IGTV bulk up its currently limited library given that Instagram Live viewership jumped 70% in March. Taken together, Instagram’s recent efforts make creating for IGTV far more appealing than in the past, and if influencers flock to the section their fans will likely follow. 

Higher engagement on IGTV would create opportunities for marketers across both advertising and influencer marketing: 

  • Video advertising. For now, Instagram is only testing one limited ad option — a 15-second unskippable pre-roll ad — and only rolling it out to a select group of creators and brands. But the company plans to test more options, such as shorter, skippable ads, before it rolls out more broadly. If Instagram is able to successfully drive viewership to the section, IGTV ads could become a valuable social video format for advertisers. For context, social video advertising has surged in popularity in recent years, nearly doubling from $5.66 billion in 2017 to $10.67 billion in 2019, per our estimates.
  • Influencer marketing. More engagement across IGTV would provide marketers with a relatively new influencer marketing opportunity on Instagram. A new channel within Instagram is beneficial given its already outsized importance for influencer marketing: Nearly all (97%) US marketers who use influencer marketing planned to use Instagram in 2020, according to a December 2019 survey by Linqia cited by eMarketer. 

Insider Intelligence analyzes the media and marketing industry and provides in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. >> Learn more about what we have to offer

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Joe Biden doesn’t like Trump’s Twitter order, but still wants to revoke Section 230

Former Vice President Joe Biden still wants to repeal the pivotal internet law that provides social media companies like Facebook and Twitter with broad legal immunity over content posted by their users, a campaign spokesperson told The Verge Friday. Still, the campaign emphasized key disagreements with the executive order signed by the president earlier this…

Former Vice President Joe Biden still wants to repeal the pivotal internet law that provides social media companies like Facebook and Twitter with broad legal immunity over content posted by their users, a campaign spokesperson told The Verge Friday. Still, the campaign emphasized key disagreements with the executive order signed by the president earlier this week.

Earlier this year, Biden told The New York Times that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be “revoked, immediately.” In recent days, President Donald Trump has reinvigorated a controversial debate over amending the foundational internet law after Twitter fact-checked one of his tweets for the first time. Over the last year, Trump and other congressional Republicans have grown concerned over the false idea that social media platforms actively moderate against conservative speech online.

Trump turned his threats into action Thursday, signing an executive order that could pare back platform liability protections under Section 230.

In a statement Thursday responding to the order, Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo said that “it will not be the position of any future Biden Administration … that the First Amendment means private companies must provide a venue for, and amplification of, the president’s falsehoods, lest they become the subject of coordinated retaliation by the federal government.”

Still, Biden’s position on Section 230 remains unchanged. A spokesperson for the campaign told The Verge Friday that the former vice president maintains his position that the law should be revoked and that he would seek to propose legislation that would hold social media companies accountable for knowingly platforming falsehoods. Unlike Trump, Biden’s policies are meant to lead to more moderation of misinformation, rather than less.

In Biden’s January interview with The Times, he said that “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately, should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms.” He continued, “It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.”

Last October, the Biden campaign sent a letter to Facebook and Twitter asking that the platforms reject any political ads placed by the Donald Trump campaign that are found to be misleading or false. Twitter shut down the ability for advertisers to run political messages the following month. Facebook rejected the idea of banning misleading ads.

Facebook Wants to be the Arbiter of Truth When It Comes to the Identities of Mega-Viral Accounts

Photo: GettyFor the past year or so, Facebook has mandated that certain page owners and political ad-spenders on the platform verify their identities as a way to curb interference in the coming election. Now, these checks are being extended to certain people’s profiles, too. According to a post made on the company’s blog yesterday afternoon,…

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Photo: Getty

For the past year or so, Facebook has mandated that certain page owners and political ad-spenders on the platform verify their identities as a way to curb interference in the coming election. Now, these checks are being extended to certain people’s profiles, too. According to a post made on the company’s blog yesterday afternoon, the company is putting in those same checks and balances on profiles that have been found to engage in what Facebook determines to be a “pattern of inauthentic behavior,” and whose posts “rapidly go viral” in the United States.

According to the company, these changes are being made in the name of making “people feel confident that they understand who’s behind the content they’re seeing,” adding that “this is particularly important when it comes to content that’s reaching a lot of people.”

This new verification process is twofold. Aside from offering the company some sort of federal ID and proof of address, those profiles that are running pages will need to go through another verification process that involves (among other things) matching the location data from their device with the location data posted to their profile. Without this extra step, per Facebook, a user will be locked out of posting to that page—and if the user in question decides not to verify their identity at all, or if their federal ID doesn’t match the name on their account, the distribution on their formally viral posts will be stunted.

On one hand, this new set of checks and balances is more than welcome. This month has seen Facebook hunkering down in an attempt to quash the types of misinformation that have become all too prevalent in the coronavirus-era. And because the pandemic’s caused all tech companies’ usual hoards of content moderators to thin out substantially, Facebook is largely relying on a slew of less-than-perfect automated systems to do the dirty work of sniffing out these sorts of campaigns right now. Asking for ID’s is, in a sense, asking for bad actors to jump over another hurdle that doesn’t require human review—so it’s an easier lift on Facebook’s end during a time where they sorely need it.

On the other hand, these sorts of systems are too little, too late. Yesterday, the sitting president’s current screed against social media companies writ large prompted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to launch into a tirade of his own on Fox News, where he said, in short, that private companies a la Facebook “shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth,” echoing the stance we’ve seen him take over and over in the past. By stifling these sorts of viral posts—rather than say, banning them outright, or fact-checking them in real-time, the company is taking that same, half-assed approach: sure, it won’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t believe, but it might shield it from your line of sight.

It’s an attempt to placate both sides that leaves neither of them satisfied. When human rights groups or advocates come knocking, Facebook can point to their automated efforts to curb the spread of this sort of intel—a point that ignores just how quickly these sorts of posts spread. Meanwhile, the owners of these posts and pages—whether they’re in office or otherwise—can be placated with the knowledge that they’re still getting eyeballs on their work, just… not as many, which will likely go over as well as anything else Facebook-related these days. Facebook makes choices regarding how its content is amplified, that’s just a fact. Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to be a both-sides kind of guy, Zuckerberg should pi

Flyers’ playoff hype video will leave you wanting to run through a wall – NBC Sports Philadelphia

The round-robin tournament of the NHL’s 24-team return-to-play format will represent different kinds of importance for the fourth-seeded Flyers. Firstly, they couldn’t ask for a better tune-up ahead of their first-round series. They’ll play each of the Eastern Conference’s top three teams once before meeting their opening-round opponent. Secondly, those dates with the East’s best…

The round-robin tournament of the NHL’s 24-team return-to-play format will represent different kinds of importance for the fourth-seeded Flyers.

Firstly, they couldn’t ask for a better tune-up ahead of their first-round series. They’ll play each of the Eastern Conference’s top three teams once before meeting their opening-round opponent.

Secondly, those dates with the East’s best could help the Flyers climb even more. The total points accumulated in the round-robin tournament will determine the conference’s seed Nos. 1-4. If there are ties after the set of games, which will feature regular-season overtime and shootout rules, the regular-season points percentages of each club will serve as the tiebreaker.

How could the Flyers fare in the round-robin portion and what would it ultimately mean for their outlook in the 24-team setup?

Here are three factors to note:

1. Can Flyers win round robin?

They shouldn’t be considered heavy underdogs. The Flyers will be confident in their opportunity to improve their seed after going 2-1-0 against the top-seeded Bruins during the regular season and 3-0-1 vs. the third-seeded Capitals. The second-seeded Lightning were the one club that gave the Flyers trouble. The Flyers dropped two games in regulation to Tampa Bay, but one was a 1-0 defeat and the other was a chippy 5-3 loss with an empty-netter in the final 22 seconds.

The Flyers have a goalie who keeps them in games and a group that held its own with the fellow top seeds in major statistical categories:

Goals per game

Lightning — 3.47
Capitals — 3.42
Flyers — 3.29
Bruins — 3.24

Goals against per game

Bruins — 2.39
Flyers — 2.77
Lightning — 2.77
Capitals — 3.07

Power play percentage

Bruins — 25.2
Lightning — 23.1
Flyers — 20.8
Capitals — 19.4

Penalty kill percentage

Bruins — 84.3
Capitals — 82.6
Flyers — 81.8
Lightning — 81.4

2. Wait, would they want to climb?

It’s an interesting question right now because the NHL and NHLPA are undetermined on the format for the first and second rounds, whether it be bracketed or reseeding after the qualifying round.

That’s a huge question.

Say the Flyers stayed at No. 4 in a bracket-style scenario and the 12th-seeded Canadiens knocked off the fifth-seeded Penguins, the Flyers would face Montreal. On paper, that would be a pretty favorable matchup against the lowest seed in the East. Whereas the No. 1 seed in the conference would face the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup.

If the league instead agrees to reseed, such a scenario would see the No. 1 seed face the Canadiens during the first round, whereas the Flyers, as the fourth seed, would get the highest remaining seed to advance from the qualifying round.

When/if the Flyers play round-robin games, the NHL will have made a decision on the format for the first and second rounds. Right now, just about everything is undecided for the Flyers.

3. The good thing?

The Flyers can’t hurt themselves in the round robin. As the lowest seed of the four, they can only improve their seed. If the Flyers struggle, they stay put at No. 4 and at least played three competitive warmup games for their first-round series.

The Flyers went 22-8-5 against the Eastern Conference playoff field during the regular season, so they’ll like their chances against whichever team they draw.

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Trump’s Social Media Executive Order Is Purely for Show

After Twitter applied a fact-checking label to a pair of the president’s tweets for the first time ever this week, Donald Trump vowed revenge. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he declared on—where else—Twitter. “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We…

After Twitter applied a fact-checking label to a pair of the president’s tweets for the first time ever this week, Donald Trump vowed revenge. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he declared on—where else—Twitter. “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.” Today, he followed through … sort of.

This afternoon, Trump signed an executive order that targets not just Twitter but social media writ large. (You can read it here.) The White House will direct federal agencies to stop advertising on platforms that discriminate politically and ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether platforms are mistreating users. Most significantly, it will ask the Federal Communications Commission to propose regulations that “clarify” the meaning of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the federal law that gives internet platforms broad legal immunity over how they choose to regulate, or not, the content of user posts. It’s a not-so-veiled threat to punish Twitter and other platforms for purported anticonservative bias, by opening them up to costly litigation.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: As a legal matter, that last part is nonsense. The FCC has little to no power over the meaning of Section 230, because the law itself is extremely clear. Passed in 1996, it was designed to solve a problem that plagued web forums in the early years of the internet. According to the prevailing legal doctrine at the time, a site was not liable for content posted by its users; for legal purposes, it qualified as a “distributor,” rather than a “publisher.” Imposing any type of content moderation, however, exposed a site to publisher liability. This created a powerful incentive to allow a free-for-all devoid of even the most minimal standards around things like obscenity, racism, and libel. Section 230 addressed that problem by letting websites keep their immunity and moderate user content as they see fit, “whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

In other words, the law gives website operators essentially free rein to decide what kind of speech is allowed on their platforms, as long as they’re not using those powers in ways that violate their own terms of service or are otherwise fraudulent. That broad mandate doesn’t leave much room for Trump or the FCC to play around.

“The FCC has general rulemaking authority, but there still has to be something for it to actually do,” said Harold Feld, a senior vice president at Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC-based think tank focused on tech and communications policy. “If you look at the statute, there isn’t anything for the FCC to interpret because there’s no ambiguity in the statute.”

In a statement sent to reporters, Kate Ruane, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that Trump “has no authority to rewrite a congressional statute with an executive order imposing a flawed interpretation of Section 230. Section 230 incentivizes platforms to host all sorts of content without fear of being held liable for it. It enables speech, not censorship.”

That’s not to say that the executive order serves no purpose. It’s just that the purposes are political, not legal. Trump and other Republicans have had a long run of success “working the refs” by complaining about anticonservative bias on the platforms. Facebook in particular seems almost pathologically committed to tailoring its policies to avoid triggering the president. Meanwhile, taking even symbolic action against tech platforms helps Trump portray himself as the victim of a rigged system—he accused Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 election” on Tuesday—as well as a defender of American constitutional values. And by calling on the FCC and FTC to look into the matter, the order could give the platforms some headaches. At least one Republican-appointed FCC commissioner has said the proposal “makes sense.”

“Any Federal Trade Commission investigation, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, can certainly be used to harass companies, demand documents, publish reports that would be potentially embarrassing,” said Feld. At the FCC, meanwhile, the open comment process of the rulemaking procedure would create a public record of grievances that Trump and Republicans in Congress could level at the platforms when it suits their purposes.

Even on a purely political level, however, this gambit could backfire on Trump. Remember, he vowed that he “will not allow” Twitter to stifle free speech. (Leave aside the fact that the platform didn’t actually censor any content; it merely links to additional material.) The draft of the executive order makes clear, though, that it really isn’t up to him. Only Congress can revoke platforms’ Section 230 immunity, something that even the Republican-controlled Senate shows close to zero interest in doing. Even if Trump’s order turns into agency action, that process will probably stretch into next year before delivering results, which would then be tied up in years of legal challenges. If the executive order was Trump’s best shot, Twitter should feel relieved, not cowed. And the president could emerge looking weaker, not stronger.

In fact, the beneficiaries of the executive order could perversely be the big platforms themselves. It really is a problem that anyone who wants to connect with people over social media is subject to whatever terms are offered by a few dominant companies benefiting from tremendous network effects. The sensible answer is to enforce some kind of real competition policy: making it possible for users who don’t like the policies on one platform to take their business elsewhere. Instead, a much stupider debate will take place over some proposed changes to Section 230 that the president has no apparent authority to make.

After all, Trump is absolutely right that a handful of giants wield a dangerous degree of control over political discourse—that, as the executive order says, “these platforms function as a 21st-century equivalent of the public square.” Ordinarily, that’s where people on both sides of the political spectrum agree. Indeed, Silicon Valley’s harshest critics are mostly on the left, but there’s no surer way to get liberals on your side than by finding yourself in Trump’s crosshairs.

“People who would normally be willing and able to have a measured discussion about [Section] 230” will instead find themselves defending the platforms, said Mike Ananny, a professor of journalism and communication at the University of Southern California, via Twitter(!) DM. “Otherwise it looks like you’re siding with Trump, which no one sane wants to do. The end result is that platforms get more power.”

This story has been updated to reflect that the full text of the executive order is now available.


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Facebook will start verifying the identities of accounts that keep going viral

Facebook will now require people behind individual profiles with “high reach” to verify their identity, the company announced today. Facebook hopes this will ensure users are seeing more authentic posts from people, instead of ones from bots or users concealing their identity. The change follows a similar move two years ago in which Facebook required…

Facebook will now require people behind individual profiles with “high reach” to verify their identity, the company announced today. Facebook hopes this will ensure users are seeing more authentic posts from people, instead of ones from bots or users concealing their identity. The change follows a similar move two years ago in which Facebook required viral page owners to disclose their identities and locations, following numerous accounts of overseas content farms using partisan US politics to game Facebook’s algorithms, go viral, and cash in on ad revenue.

Accounts on the social network that exhibit “inauthentic behavior” that have posts continuously going viral in the US will need to provide a form of ID. Should the ID not match the identity of the account in question or if the user declines ID verification, Facebook will reduce the distribution of that account’s viral posts, which will reduce the number of people who see it pop up in their feed. If any one of these profiles deemed suspicious is also an admin for a Facebook page, the profile will be banned from using the page if they fail to identify themselves through Facebook’s Page Publisher Authorization Process, which the company released back in 2018.

These changes are part of a long-standing effort from Facebook to encourage people to use real identities, as well as part of the broader social media ecosystem’s efforts to combat foreign government influence campaigns and the general spread of misinformation. In 2018, Facebook required political-leaning advertisers to verify their identity; the tech giant would then expand on the requirement in 2019, with political advertisers having to provide further information, which now includes government-issued ID numbers before placing ads on the social network. Amid the pandemic, Facebook has also taken measures to disclose news posts that provide misleading information about COVID-19.

Truthset raises $4.75M to help marketers score their data

Data, the cliché goes, is the new oil of the digital economy. But Truth{set} co-founder and CEO Scott McKinley wants to know: “Why does no one care about the quality of that fuel?” That’s an issue McKinley saw in his seven years as an executive at Nielsen, where he said he realized that marketing data…

GettyImages 1165431212 - Truthset raises $4.75M to help marketers score their data

Data, the cliché goes, is the new oil of the digital economy. But Truth{set} co-founder and CEO Scott McKinley wants to know: “Why does no one care about the quality of that fuel?”

That’s an issue McKinley saw in his seven years as an executive at Nielsen, where he said he realized that marketing data products are “all built on massive error.” As evidence, he pointed to recent studies showing that bad data leads marketers to waste 21 cents of every dollar, and that in many cases, consumer data is “similar to or even worse than what you’d get if you used random chance to create a target list.

McKinley argued, “You wouldn’t drive a car to a gas station where there’s no octane rating on the pump.” He created Truth{set} to provide that octane rating to marketers, and to “shine the light on that whole ecosystem.”

More specifically, the company scores the consumer data that marketers are buying on accuracy, on a scale between 0.00 and 1.00. To create these scores, Truth{set} checks the data against independent data sources, as well as first-party data and panels.

“In order for us to do this, we had to develop a perspective on what is truthful and what is not,” McKinley said. “And so instead of building our own data sets, we said, ‘Let’s be smarter than that, let’s verify everybody else’s data with these independent sources of truth.’ ”

Screen Shot 2020 05 28 at 12.55.16 PM - Truthset raises $4.75M to help marketers score their data

Image Credits: Truthset

In addition to coming out of stealth, Truth{set} is also announcing that it has raised $4.75 million in seed funding from startup studio super{set}, WTI, Ulu Ventures and strategic angel investors.

The company says it’s compatible with demand-side platforms, data management platforms and customer platforms. It also integrates with the leading data providers, including Facebook, LiveRamp and The Trade Desk.

McKinley added that the platform can even “suppress” consumer IDs that don’t meet a marketer’s standards, so that they’re not used in targeting.

Throughout our conversation, he emphasized the idea of independence, arguing that in order to provide trustworthy scores, “You cannot have a conflict of interest.” At the same time, Truth{set} is working closely with the data providers to score their data and to help them improve their accuracy. The goal is to create an expectation among marketers that if data is accurate, it will come with a score from Truth{set}.

“There’s a FOMO thing here — if you’re not being measured, what are you hiding?” McKinley said.

A 12 year journey ends as Skimlinks is acquired by retail marketing platform Connexity

Connexity, a lead-gen platform for online retailers, has acquired Skimlinks, a U.K. platform for publishers to make money through affiliate links. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. According to Crunchbase, Skimlinks had raised a total of $25.5 million and reached a late Series C stage of funding, the final round coming from Frog Capital, which…

sklimlinks image by dan taylor danheisenbergmedia com 16 - A 12 year journey ends as Skimlinks is acquired by retail marketing platform Connexity

Connexity, a lead-gen platform for online retailers, has acquired Skimlinks, a U.K. platform for publishers to make money through affiliate links. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. According to Crunchbase, Skimlinks had raised a total of $25.5 million and reached a late Series C stage of funding, the final round coming from Frog Capital, which invested $16 million.

An early seed investor was Sussex Place Ventures way back in 2009. For context, San Francisco-based competitor VigLink, which has raised a total of $27.3 million, remains an independent company.

Sources in the VC industry indicate that the acquisition was a “decent one” that may even have hit three figures, with a possible a large-ish earnout and equity component. Certainly, this was not a “fire sale,” by any means.

Although coy on the price of the acquisition, co-founder and president Alicia Navarro said: “Every party, including many staff, has made money out of this deal and is very happy.”

Co-founded in 2007 by Navarro and Joe Stepniewski, Skimlinks rode the wave of online activity as publishers struggled to monetize their ballooning online operations in the mid-teens of the last decade. Affiliate programs allow publishers to get a cut of the revenue when their link drives a purchase on an e-commerce site. Skimlinks makes the process easier through automation.

Originally spinning out of an idea Navarro had about consumer online commerce habits — a startup called Skimbit that resembled Pinterest in some respects — it had scaled to the U.S. by the time I interviewed Navarro in 2012.

In 2013 it took on a growth financing round led by Greycroft Partners.

A couple of years later the platform was driving more than $500 million in e-commerce sales for publishers.

By 2016, editorial content from its publisher network of 1.5 million domains had driven nearly $1 billion of e-commerce transactions and the company said it was on a path to profitability.

In 2018 Navarro stepped away from the CEO position, taking on the role of president, and handed the reigns to Sebastien Blanc, previously chief revenue officer.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Navarro said the COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated the growth of the business as more publishers in its network monetized the massively increased online traffic, brought about by global lockdown policies.

Bill Glass, CEO of Connexity said in a statement: “Our solutions help retailers acquire new customers and sales while enabling ecommerce-oriented publishers to monetize engaged shopping audiences. Combining the companies creates more scale on both sides of the marketplace.”

Sebastien Blanc, CEO of Skimlinks said: “By marrying Connexity’s CPC search budgets with the broad CPA affiliate monetization coverage of Skimlinks, we provide best-in-class monetization for publishers. Our combined scale will fortify Connexity as a critically important customer acquisition channel for retailers and will strengthen publisher monetization solutions.”

And what of the founders? Stepniewski has taken on a senior role with Facebook UK. Navarro is now working on a fresh startup she bills as “Airbnb-meets-Calm as a service,” allowing founders or executives to unplug and get into what is known as “Deep Work.”

She is now in the process of early-stage fundraising, so her entrepreneurial journey is clearly going to continue.

Trump’s Executive Order on Social Media Is the Worst Kind of Bullshit

Trump in the Oval Office on May 28, 2020.Photo: Doug Mills-Pool (Getty Images)On Thursday, Donald Trump escalated his inane, frothing, and mostly one-sided feud with Twitter and other social media companies he has accused of silencing right-wing voices online to a dangerous, legally questionable new level.Trump signed an executive order Thursday afternoon that purports to…

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Trump in the Oval Office on May 28, 2020.
Photo: Doug Mills-Pool (Getty Images)

On Thursday, Donald Trump escalated his inane, frothing, and mostly one-sided feud with Twitter and other social media companies he has accused of silencing right-wing voices online to a dangerous, legally questionable new level.

Trump signed an executive order Thursday afternoon that purports to radically alter foundational principles of the modern internet, specifically by tasking the Federal Communications Commission with investigating whether tech companies are using moderation decisions as a pretext to harass, shadow ban, and censor conservatives.

The executive order follows Twitter earlier this week adding a fact-checking module to some of Trump’s tweets promoting a conspiracy theory that Democrats are committing voter fraud en masse. This has sent an administration already hostile to Silicon Valley titans it views as a sort of thought police (and desperate for something to dominate headlines other than its disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic) into a frenzy.

“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history, frankly,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “A small handful of powerful social media monopolies control the vast portion of all private and public communications in the United States.”

According to a draft version of the order circulating online, Trump is asserting the power to have the FCC redefine the meaning of a critical section of the Communications Decency Act, known as Section 230, in a manner that would threaten to eviscerate companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube unless they change their policies to favor the kind of free speech preferred by conservatives. Experts told Gizmodo that this policy would undermine the entire internet, though they also agreed the order is mostly a nonsensical rant that relies on executive authority that doesn’t exist.

Section 230 is the bedrock of the internet and the legal basis by which almost every major platform is possible. Its first major provision, (c)(1), guards website owners and users from being “treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This is not conditional and allows for platforms that rely on aggregated or user-generated content to function without being sued—for example, it prevents someone slandered in a YouTube video from suing YouTube itself. (There are exceptions to this rule, including the copyright enforcement regime.)

The next provision, (c)(2), provides website owners immunity from liability for “any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” In effect, this shields platforms from facing liability for their content filtering or moderation decisions on Good Samaritan grounds, conditional that those decisions are made in good faith.

The term “otherwise objectionable” is what legislators refer to as a “catchall,” likely included because the bill’s authors—Senator Ron Wyden and former Congressman Chris Cox—were unsure how the internet would evolve. For instance, two decades into the future, a website might need to contextualize the posts of a single powerful user who frequently shares misleading health information or spreads conspiracy theories about voting fraud.

Case law relied on by the courts during the internet’s infancy related largely to cases involving radio broadcasters and book publishers dating back to the 1930s. Publishers were responsible for everything inside their books because part of their job was editing every word. If a book contained something libelous, the publisher was liable. On the other hand, one could not sue the owner of a bookstore for libelous remarks inside a book because it could not reasonably be assumed the seller had read every book on the shelf.

The courts applied these legal theories to early websites, having nothing to base decisions on. If a company attempted to moderate its own pages and forums, the court treated it like a publisher. This meant it was responsible for any libelous remarks posted by its users. But the opposite was also true: If the company did not moderate its sites, the courts acted as if the company was just running a bookstore. How could it know what its users were even doing? The obvious happened: Companies were immediately discouraged from engaging in any kind of moderation—like removing threats, pornography from pages frequented by children, even instructions on how to build bombs.

To remedy the problem, a law was passed allowing internet companies to engage in moderation, even delete content completely off their pages, without being financially penalized by the legal system. This is the only reason websites like Wikipedia and services like Yelp can exist. For companies like Amazon, user reviews would pose a huge liability. Without Section 230, they’d have to shut them down. Nine out of 10 of the most popular websites on the internet, in fact, rely heavily on Section 230 and would essentially vanish overnight without it, crippling the internet economy.

The biggest broadside in Trump’s executive order is a creative reinterpretation of those sections, inconsistent with longstanding judicial understandings of their meaning. First, the executive order claims that liability protections for platforms acting in good faith under (c)(2) do “not extend to deceptive or pretextual actions restricting online content or actions inconsistent with an online platform’s terms of service” (i.e., the mythical anti-conservative discrimination on these platforms). It then takes another massive logical leap, claiming that a platform doing these things forfeits its section (c)(1) immunity. The order also tasks the Commerce Department to petition the FCC with issuing new rules clarifying what “taken in good faith” means, specifically asking the FCC to examine how platforms make moderation decisions:

(1) deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service; or

(2) the result of inadequate notice, the product of unreasoned explanation, or having been undertaking without a meaningful opportunity to be heard;

Thus without any sort of mandate from Congress, the Republican-controlled FCC would be tasked with coming up with a list of practices that it deems unfair, deputizing it to potentially have companies not meeting those standards declared as no longer enjoying or having limits imposed on its Section 230 protections. Most FCC decisions are put to a vote, but there are three Republicans on the commission and only two Democrats. The intent of this process is obvious: Trump wants platforms he thinks are conspiring against conservatives to be magically categorized as publishers. That would leave tech companies in much the same situation as a newspaper that printed a libelous column, just at an unfathomable scale. They could be sued into oblivion.

This would break the internet in all kinds of ways and create limitless possibilities for abuse, depending on how the order was enforced. One example: If the Republican goons at the FCC determined that right-wing trolls are being unfairly silenced in the Kinja comments sections, resulting in a total loss of Section (c)(1) protections, that would mean those very same trolls could post a defamatory comment under this article and expose Gizmodo to a lawsuit.

It would also, in turn, have the effect of silencing anyone who uses these platforms, conservatives—and Trump—included. Without the liability shield, social media firms might opt to delete a lot more content.

Fortunately, this Trump tantrum is unlikely to hold any legal weight and is more likely designed to put political pressure on social media firms. For one, the FCC—which, like the FTC, is an independent agency—almost certainly lacks the authority to carry it out.

“The White House can ask the FCC to initiate the rule-making process, but the FCC has the discretion to decline,” Eric Goldman, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law and co-director of the High-Tech Law Institute, told Gizmodo via email. “Further, if the FCC were to provide its opinion about interpreting Section 230, that interpretation would not have legal effect because Congress hasn’t given the FCC any authority. As a result, the result of the rulemaking process would be a lovely document that everyone would be free to ignore—and would likely ignore.”

It’s also legal gibberish. Trump’s “attempt to collapse Section 230(c)(1) and Section 230(c)(2)(A) is not persuasive at all,” Goldman added, noting that it “contravenes 900+ cases interpreting Section 230.”

“Section 230(c)(1) says that websites aren’t liable for third-party content,” Goldman added. “This legal immunity does not depend on whether or not the website make its judgments ‘in good faith.’ Adding a good faith requirement to Section 230 would be devastating to the legal doctrine. It would make every lawsuit a much more expensive and unpredictable battle, and it would take years for the courts to reach any consensus on what constitutes ‘good faith.’”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the FCC’s two Democrats, characterized Trump’s plan as dangerous and unacceptable. “This does not work,” Rosenworcel told Gizmodo via email. “Social media can be frustrating. But an Executive Order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the President’s speech police is not the answer. It’s time for those in Washington to speak up for the First Amendment. History won’t be kind to silence.”

Another section of the draft order tasks the Federal Trade Commission with considering action against social media firms that engage in “unfair or deceptive acts or practice,” which “shall include practices by entities regulated by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.” It also demands the FTC review thousands of unverified reports of conservative censorship submitted to a ludicrous White House portal to determine the validity of complaints “large internet platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter,” are suppressing “protected speech.”

“The FTC already has the authority to bring enforcement actions without running into Section 230 issues,” Goldman told Gizmodo, specifically citing a case in which the FTC sued an affiliate marketing manager, LeadClick, over deceptive fake news sites set up by its partners. The FTC can also issue as many reports as it wants, but these would be essentially meaningless, as they would be based on thousands of unverified complaints.

Daphne Keller, platform regulation director at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, told Gizmodo via email that the order “reads like a stream of consciousness tweetstorm that some poor staffer had to turn into the form of an Executive Order. The underlying issues it raises are really important, of course: We need an informed public debate about the power of platforms over public discourse. But that’s not what the EO is. It isn’t reasoned discussion, and for the most part it isn’t even lawmaking, because very few of its passages have real legal consequences.”

The draft order also contains a section titled “Prohibition on Spending Federal Taxpayer Dollars on Advertising with Online Platforms That Violate Free Speech Principles.” Curiously, as noted by Keller in her annotated version of the draft order, this section merely contains an order telling all executive agency chiefs to prepare a report for possible cuts in the future:

Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms supported, the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform, an assessment of whether the online platform is appropriate for such agency’s speech, and the statutory authorities available to restrict advertising dollars to online platforms not appropriate for such agency’s speech.

The order may be brimming with nonsense, but as an example of just how far Trump is willing to go to demand the tech industry play by the GOP party line, its authoritarianism is unprecedented in modern history. It’s also yet another extreme attempt to validate Trump’s victimhood narrative, in which the president of the United States and the party controlling almost every branch of the federal government are the victim of a giant conspiracy to silence it.

“In terms of presidential efforts to limit critical commentary about themselves, I think one would have to go back to the Sedition Act of 1798—which made it illegal to say false things about the president and certain other public officials—to find an attack supposedly rooted in law by a president on any entity which comments or prints comments about public issues and public people,” Floyd Abrams, a lawyer specializing in First Amendment issues, told Reuters.

Keller told Gizmodo that she viewed the matter as political theater and a deliberate distraction from issues of far greater public consequence, such as the 100,000-plus deaths from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But she also noted that “the theatricality itself matters,” as the Trump administration may have actually crossed a First Amendment line by issuing the threats in the first place.

“The EO is transparently intended to pressure platforms into changing their editorial policies on things like election disinformation,” Keller said. “The government doesn’t have the power to require those changes, though, because of the First Amendment. Pressure like this from state actors—claiming authority that doesn’t actually exist, in order to scare people or companies into compliance—actually can violate the First Amendment.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apparently already caved, taking to Fox News this week to blast Twitter for fact-checking the president and proclaiming that platforms should not become an “arbiter of truth.”

Facebook has actually repeatedly demonstrated it is one of the world’s foremost vehicles for warping the truth, with its platform implicated in everything from political interference and conspiracy theories to literal genocide. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Zuckerberg and other top executives like Facebook policy chief Joel Kaplan have steered the company away from attempting to tone down polarization on the site, despite alarming findings from its own researchers such as that 64 percent of people in extremist Facebook groups joined them at Facebook’s recommendation.

“President Trump will continue his attacks on free speech and the courts will strike them down but in the meantime we expect social media companies to not bend on their responsibility to protect the lives of users and our democracy on their platforms,” Jessica González, co-founder of Change the Terms and co-CEO of Free Press, told Gizmodo in a statement.

“At even the first hint of this unlawful White House action, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg immediately caved to the president, arguing that it’s not his job to ensure the American people receive accurate information about voting,” González added. “We shudder to think of how this cowardly position will apply to the unrestrained hate and misinformation on Facebook that threatens the lives of millions under Zuckerberg

4 Ways Founders Can Build Their Social Media Presence

The advice that makes your feed personable and engaging. May 28, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Social media has emerged as a powerful marketing tool with cited advantages for business growth. The current economic downturn has propelled this shift, increasing global consumer usage of social media by 21…

The advice that makes your feed personable and engaging.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Social media has emerged as a powerful marketing tool with cited advantages for business growth. The current economic downturn has propelled this shift, increasing global consumer usage of social media by 21 percent and in-app spending by 20 percent. The numbers point to an opportunity for entrepreneurs to leverage social media to build brand awareness and loyalty. 

As our new normal continues to unfold, social media has proven its utility and adaptability. Strong trends towards advancing social commerce continue to transform how brands and consumers interact. Dominating app TikTok is expanding its platform to include “shoppable” ads and marketing analytic tools in its Creative Marketplace. Instagram has far evolved from a photo-sharing platform and now allows users to purchase in-app products and promote business profiles using preview stickers. There are also plans to incorporate paid advertisements to help creators generate revenue from IGTV content.     

Beyond the product or service, consumers now expect brand personification. Influencers are about as personal as you can get. They are closely tied to consumerism and have become trusted sources and partners for brand representation in the social economy

Related: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Thriving as the World Reopens

While the world is spending more time on social media, founders should consider how they can leverage the changes in consumer behaviour to strengthen their own brands. One person who has undoubtedly mastered this art is 40-year-old Wallace Peeples. Known as @Wallo267 across his social media channels, Peeples pulls in over 7 million weekly impressions with his 650,000 follower base. Peeples started building his brand while facing a 52-year life sentence in prison for armed robbery. Just three years after being released, Peeples has created a strong presence that spans across several social media platforms. He has secured multiple high-profile partnerships with brands such as Global Citizen, TEDx and the NFL Network. 

Peeples is a testament to what anyone can do when leveraging social media as a tool. Here are four ways founders can grow their social media presence:

1. Show who you are beyond your title

In an effort to fit the online narrative, it can be tempting to try and emulate who you think people want you to be. “Number one, be yourself,” Peeples says. Trying to be someone that he wasn’t was the lie that landed Peeples in his cell. Once he began to accept who he was on the inside, it became easier to build his following on the outside. Your life events, personal interests and greatest ambitions are what make your story unique. Furthermore, adversity can also work to your advantage. The human side of you will capture your audience’s attention. This is where identity meets purpose. We all have flaws, and consumers appreciate learning how industry leaders rose up from hardship.   

Related: When Entrepreneurs Post Impulsively, Their Companies Pay the Price. Should Their Social Media Be Regulated?

2. Choose purpose over popularity

Be a solution. “Some people go on social media and they just want to be popular for nothing,” Peeples says. “What reasons have you given consumers to come back to your page? What can you give them that nobody else will?” Start out by giving people news they can use, whether that’s thought-provoking, motivational or just entertaining. Ensure that the value in your content is aligned with your brand’s strategic goals and is closely tied to your identity. 

Related: 15 Social Media Podcasts to Take Your Marketing Skills to the Next Level

3. Keep your brand visible

The truth is, people are just too lazy to tag your company. This was something Peeples had to learn the hard way with one of his first video posts after being released from prison. “It was my biggest reposted video, like two million views,” he says. Without tagging his own social media handle to direct traffic back to his page, the video’s popularity hadn’t significantly increased his follower count the way he’d imagined. “People will see stuff and they won’t tag their source, so I started doing it and then people just started coming.”

Related: The Social Selling System: Flipping a Follower into a Client

4. CEO activism is vital

“Once you have your audience’s attention, use it wisely,” Peeples suggests. His Instagram page is dedicated to activism and philanthropy. Peeples hopes to leverage his platform to build technology learning centers for inner city youth, teaching them how to use technology as the life-changing resource he’s found it to be. Social media offers the opportunity to lend your voice to meaningful social issues, become involved and inspire your audience to do the same. As a leader it is important for your followers to see that you engage in altruism. It shows that you care about the greater good of the world around you rather than just the health of your business.

Many founders have responded to times of economic uncertainty by pledging relief funds or by taking pay cuts to avoid employee layoffs. Revolve has done a great job of shifting away from its usual Instagram content focused on the social aspects of life and travel. Now, it contributes to the larger conversation around social distancing and provides daily doses of at-home lifestyle tips. Business owners have also been pivoting their business direction in support of today’s climate. Augustina Valenza, the founder of baby food delivery service Fragola, shared on Facebook that her company is giving away free baby food to moms in need. Right now, there is a unique opportunity to employ digital leadership on social media channels. Users expect to hear active language from their leaders. More importantly, your followers want to see your response.  Let your voice be personable, authentic and let it be yours. 

Related: How to Land Your Dream 100 Clients for $5 of Ad Spend a Day

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How NHL’s return to play plan impacts Stanley Cup odds – Sportsnet.ca

Canadian-based NHL teams were the big winners when Gary Bettman unveiled the league’s return-to-play plans on Tuesday. With the NHL regular season now officially over and the league moving forward with plans to include 24 teams in the playoffs, the NHL postseason will feature six Canadian-based NHL teams for the first time since 1993. And…

Canadian-based NHL teams were the big winners when Gary Bettman unveiled the league’s return-to-play plans on Tuesday. With the NHL regular season now officially over and the league moving forward with plans to include 24 teams in the playoffs, the NHL postseason will feature six Canadian-based NHL teams for the first time since 1993.

And among those clubs, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers sport the best Stanley Cup odds, deadlocked at +1800 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Tuesday’s announcement was the best news hockey fans have heard since the NHL suspended play on March 12 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, just four Canadian teams occupied playoff spots, but with the expanded format both the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens will now see postseason action.

Under the Return to Play plans, the top four teams in each conference will play a round robin to determine playoff seeding, while the remaining eight teams in each conference will face off in play-in series with the winners moving on to a more familiar 16-team playoff format.

With seeding for the play-in round based on points percentage, the Maple Leafs are pegged as the No. 8 seed, and will battle the No. 9 Columbus Blue Jackets (+6600), while the Oilers will take on the No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks (+6600) as the No. 5 seed after narrowly missing out on a spot in the Western Conference round robin.

The move to seed teams based on points percentage has been a bonus for the Canucks, who sat just outside the wild card picture when the season halted. Now sporting +3000 Stanley Cup odds at online sports betting sites, Vancouver faces Minnesota (+5000) as the seven-seed.

Conversely, the Winnipeg Jets (+5500) tumble from the top wild card in the West to the No. 9 seed as they prepare for an all-Canadian first-round matchup with No. 8 Calgary. The Flames have dipped to +3500 on the Stanley Cup betting lines since peaking in mid-January at +2000, and have failed to win a series since their last trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.

The Canadiens face a tough road as the bottom seed in the East, setting the stage for a matchup with the No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins (+1200). Losers of eight straight on two occasions earlier this season, the Canadiens now sit as +8000 longshots on the NHL futures.

A tight race has developed at the top of the Stanley Cup odds. The league-leading Boston Bruins join the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning as +700 Stanley Cup favourites, just ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights and Philadelphia Flyers at +800 on those NHL odds, with the defending champion St. Louis Blues sitting back at +1100.

Return to Play Buzz: Pelech good to go for Islanders – Official site of the Tampa Bay Lightning

Montreal CanadiensJonathan Drouin will be available to play for the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, general manager Marc Bergevin said Wednesday.The forward missed Montreal’s last five games with an ankle injury before the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.The status of defenseman…

Montreal Canadiens

Jonathan Drouin will be available to play for the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, general manager Marc Bergevin said Wednesday.

The forward missed Montreal’s last five games with an ankle injury before the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

The status of defenseman Victor Mete is less clear. Mete missed the final eight games after breaking his foot Feb. 18.

“[Drouin] is cleared to play,” Bergevin said. “As far as Victor (goes), it’s unsure. He went back home, he’s been doing some rehab but until our own staff sees him, put their hands on him, I don’t know. [Drouin has] been in Montreal so it’s easier to give you an answer on him.”

Bergevin said that he will defer to doctors as to whether forward Max Domi, a Type 1 diabetic, would be safe to play in the qualifying round, or beyond. Diabetes is among the conditions believed to put people at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’m convinced that the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens would never put Max Domi in a situation where he would be exposed to an illness that would affect him short or long term,” Bergevin said of the 25-year-old. “If the doctors decide that it’s not safe for Max, for whatever reason, then he will not play. The values of the Canadiens will never put at risk the health of one of our players. Never, never, never. … The decision (for Domi) will be the best for him long and short term.”

Bergevin said in a short, best-of-5 series, anything can happen.

“I think our chances are as good as any of the eight teams that have been awarded a (qualifying round) spot,” he said. “Without putting any pressure on (goalie) Carey (Price), when you have a goaltender of that quality, anything’s possible.” — Dave Stubbs, columnist

Pittsburgh Penguins

Nick Bjugstad will be out for the Pittsburgh Penguins after having spinal surgery for a herniated disk on Tuesday.

Although the forward is expected to be out a minimum of eight weeks, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said that he “won’t be available for the rest of the season.”

The forward (lower body) did not play in Pittsburgh’s final game before the season was paused and was limited to 13 games this season because of core muscle surgery he had in November.

Forward Jake Guentzel, who has been out since Dec. 31 shoulder surgery, should be available when the Penguins play the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round. 

“Jake is going through his rehab,” Rutherford said. “Things are progressing fine. We still have a ways to go before we start playing. We are optimistic that he will be ready to play.” — Wes Crosby, independent correspondent

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets expect to have a healthy roster when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the qualifying round.

Columbus was without defensemen Seth Jones (ankle), Dean Kukan (knee) and Ryan Murray (undisclosed), and forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand (ankle), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Alexandre Texier (back), Josh Anderson (shoulder) and Nathan Gerbe (groin) when they played the Vancouver Canucks on March 8, their final game before the season was paused.

“I think there’s a good chance that we’ll be fully healthy,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “I think Josh Anderson is probably the only one where the timeline is going to get close to when he would be ready. Everyone else is on schedule and should be ready to play.”

Anderson, who hasn’t played since Dec. 14, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder March 2 and was expected to be out 4-6 months. Kekalainen said it is possible that he could be ready to play in mid-August if the Blue Jackets are still playing at that point.

That would leave forward Brandon Dubinsky, who hasn’t played this season because of a chronic wrist injury, as the lone injured Blue Jackets player who definitely won’t be available to play in the qualifying round or the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, should Columbus advance. 

Having a lineup at nearly full strength after battling injuries through most of the regular season has forward Nick Foligno excited about what the Blue Jackets can accomplish.

“My expectations are even more now and that’s the way it should be,” Foligno said. “If we’re going to get healthier, then the bar gets raised, right? I think that’s where I think our group has really learned that we never doubted ourselves. The guys that came in to help us jumped right in because they saw that this is the way we play, this is what’s expected and they came in and did an outstanding job for us and held the line. And now with some guys coming back and being healthy, it just moves the line that much further ahead.” — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

New York Islanders

Adam Pelech will be able to play for the New York Islanders when they face the Florida Panthers in the qualifying round, general manager Lou Lamoriello said.

The defenseman sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon Jan. 2 and was expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season with a recovery time frame of four months.

“He’s physically healthy, he certainly feels good. He’s ready to play,” Lamoriello said. ” Adam, as you know, has been in a rehab program consistently since his injury and he has been cleared to participate once training camp does take place.”

Pelech was leading the Islanders with 83 blocked shots and was second in average ice time per game (21:08), including 2:47 on the penalty kill, at the time of his injury.

“I don’t want to make any predictions, [but] certainly he is a valuable piece to our team,” Lamoriello said. “Like any of our players, we’re going to have depth at all positions because of everyone being healthy. Certainly in a short tournament, the best players have to play and the best combinations have to play. … But there’s no question what his value is to the team.” — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

Toronto Maple Leafs

Nicholas Robertson will be part of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expanded roster and could make his NHL debut when play resumes, general manager Kyle Dubas said.

The highly touted forward prospect, who led the Ontario Hockey League in goals with 55 in 46 games for Peterborough this season, is in Toronto under self-quarantine.

“I know his commitment to be in the best possible shape that he can be and that, combined with his talent and ability, makes me believe that he’ll give a good run. … We’re excited to see him as part of it,” Dubas said.

The Maple Leafs will play the Blue Jackets in the qualifying round. The date and location of the best-of-5 series is to be determined.

“The main thing about Nick is that he had a great season in Peterborough and continued to improve in what he can offer,” Dubas said of the 18-year-old, who was selected by Toronto in the second round (No. 53) of the 2019 NHL Draft. “Obviously, he scored at a prolific level, one of the best scoring seasons in the history of the OHL. But the way that he scored, I think that was more important to us. Pressuring up the ice on the defensive side, making steals and scoring, shorthanded on the penalty kill, which is how he scored his 50th goal.

 “And I think more than anything, I looked at earlier conditioning level. The commitment to your fitness level as an individual and as a team is going to have such a major, major impact on how you perform coming back from this. And Nick is a person who is as committed as any that I’ve seen, certainly at that age.” — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Vancouver Canucks

Micheal Ferland and Josh Leivo could return for the Vancouver Canucks to play the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Qualifying Round, general manager Jim Benning said.

Ferland was expected to be out the rest of the season after recurring concussion symptoms limited him to 14 games in the regular season. Leivo fractured his kneecap against the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 19.

“I’ve had positive reports, but we’ll just have to see as we get closer to play,” Benning said of the forwards. “Both are doing physical therapy and their rehab to come back. As we get closer to the date, we’ll see where they’re at and make that determination then if they’re able to play or not.”

Ferland last played in the NHL against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 10, and an earlier return ended while playing his first game on a conditioning assignment with Utica of the American Hockey League on Feb. 14, when he left after the first period because of concussion-like symptoms.

Leivo initially was expected to be out 2-3 months, but Benning said April 29 that he was less optimistic about a return.

Goalie Jacob Markstrom and defenseman Christopher Tanev, out with injuries when the NHL paused the season, were cleared to play in April. — Kevin Woodley, independent correspondent

Winnipeg Jets

Bryan Little‘s status remains uncertain for the Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames in the qualifying round.

The center, who missed 54 games during the regular season because of injuries, hasn’t played since he sustained a concussion and perforated eardrum Nov. 5 when he was hit in the head by teammate Nikolaj Ehlers‘ shot in a game against the New Jersey Devils.

“I don’t foresee he’s been ruled out, but I wouldn’t say that as he’s been ruled in,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. “The way it was left, regardless of how the potential playing scenarios were going to happen, there were some doctor’s appointments that were supposed to happen in the latter part of the summer, and those will be something that we’ll kind of adhere to.”

Little returned to skating with his teammates in January, but in early February he had surgery and was ruled out of the rest of the season.

“There was and still is a protocol that must be followed from a medical standpoint with him,” Cheveldayoff said. “So not knowing the timing of any eventual Phase 3 or Phase 4 really comes into play, I can’t really give you a definitive answer as to what Bryan’s status may or may not be.”

Defensemen Luca Sbisa (upper body; missed last 11 games) and Sami Niku (lower body; 10 games) likely will be available.

“I believe that time has healed all the things that they needed healing,” Cheveldayoff said. — Tim Campbell, staff writer

Edmonton Oilers

Mike Green and Joakim Nygard likely will be in the lineup when the Edmonton Oilers play the Chicago Blackhawks in the qualifying round.

“I expect they’ll both be healthy,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said. “Nygard, at the stoppage, we were expecting him to play late in (the) regular season so the beginning of April. Now we’re at the end of May. Mike Green as well. I’m expecting they’ll be ready to go.”

Nygard, a forward, missed the final 22 games of the regular season with a hand injury he sustained Jan. 29. Green, a defenseman, sustained a knee injury Feb. 26 and missed the final seven games before the pause.

“Phase 2 (of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan) will start in early June,” Holland said. “Phase 3 won’t be starting until from July 1 to July 15 time frame. I expect we’ll have a healthy roster going to that training camp.” — Tim Campbell, staff writer

Trump may punish Google, Facebook, and Twitter for political bias

Source: Android CentralWhat you need to know President Donald Trump is likely to sign an executive order against social media companies on Thursday. The order could allow federal regulators to apply constraints to social media companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for “political bias.” For a long time, Trump has alleged that major social…

google logo multi color angle big - Trump may punish Google, Facebook, and Twitter for political bias

Source: Android Central

What you need to know

  • President Donald Trump is likely to sign an executive order against social media companies on Thursday.
  • The order could allow federal regulators to apply constraints to social media companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for “political bias.”
  • For a long time, Trump has alleged that major social media companies are biased against conservatives.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday that could significantly limit the immunity given to social media and other online platforms by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As per a report from Washington Post, the order will enable federal regulators to hold social media companies responsible for the comments, videos, and other content posted on their platforms by users.

Once the order is signed by the President and the scope of the law protecting social media companies is reconsidered, the Federal Trade Commission could probe the content-moderation policies of the companies to ensure that they are “keeping with their pledges of neutrality.” Federal agencies may also be required to review their social media advertising spending.

The move comes just two days after one of Trump’s tweets was labeled as “potentially misleading” by Twitter and linked to a curated fact-check page with news articles that debunked the President’s claims. In a later tweet, Trump threatened to strongly regulate or close down social media platforms that try to “silence” voices of conservatives.

Despite being one of the most influential social media users in the world, Trump has been claiming for a long time that tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have a bias against conservatives. Last year, Trump accused Google of “manipulating” millions of votes during the 2016 election.

The Justice Department is likely to file antitrust charges against Google

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Instagram brings commercials to IGTV to lure influencers

Instagram will begin rolling out ads to IGTV this week, though the company is only testing the feature “with a small group” of accounts, so many users may not see the new in-app commercials right away. The ads, which can be up to 15 seconds long, will appear when a user taps through to continue…

Instagram will begin rolling out ads to IGTV this week, though the company is only testing the feature “with a small group” of accounts, so many users may not see the new in-app commercials right away. The ads, which can be up to 15 seconds long, will appear when a user taps through to continue watching an IGTV video from their main feed. The company says it will also experiment with letting users skip ads “to make sure the final result works well for people, creators and advertisers.”

Most importantly for influencers, Facebook plans to share revenue from the ads in an arrangement that sounds similar to YouTube’s, with creators keeping “at least 55 percent,” according to an Instagram spokesperson. 

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Instagram

Instagram influencers will also have the option to monetize their live streams by selling in-app “badges” to fans during live streams. Badges are displayed prominently next to viewers’ handles and the broadcaster can see who has paid for badges to give them on-air shoutouts. Initially, Instagram users who sell badges will get 100 percent of the revenue but the company “will explore revenue share for the product in the future,” according to a spokesperson.

The company will also allow Instagram stars to sell products in their live streams, in an update expected “in the coming months.”

The updates come almost two years after Instagram launched IGTV to take on YouTube, and as Instagram faces even more competition from TikTok, which is also reportedly experimenting with monetization features. And while it’s still not clear if IGTV will be as lucrative as YouTube or viral as TikTok’s meme machine, in-app commercials will at least give Instagram’s highest profile users more reasons to keep their content within Facebook’s ecosystem.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Social media bias lawsuits keep failing in court

Social media sites can legally ban users for nearly any reason. They can ban users for off-color jokes. They can ban users for being white supremacists. They can ban users for totally arbitrary and inscrutable reasons. If you sue over a Twitter or Facebook ban, you will almost certainly lose. Despite this, people keep filing…

Social media sites can legally ban users for nearly any reason. They can ban users for off-color jokes. They can ban users for being white supremacists. They can ban users for totally arbitrary and inscrutable reasons. If you sue over a Twitter or Facebook ban, you will almost certainly lose. Despite this, people keep filing lawsuits claiming they’ve been censored on social media — and today, courts handed down another defeat.

An appeals court in Washington, DC just rejected a complaint by Laura Loomer, the conservative activist who was banned from Twitter for anti-Muslim tweets and later chained herself to the company’s headquarters in protest. Loomer argued that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple had all colluded to suppress conservative content, violating Loomer’s First Amendment rights in the process. The court disagreed and threw out the suit.

It’s convenient timing, given that President Donald Trump has spent the past day excoriating Twitter for its alleged bias. Trump threatened Twitter after it applied a fact-checking label to his tweets, threatening some kind of unknown action to “strongly regulate” or close down sites that “silence conservatives’ voices.”

Anti-bias lawsuits — where people argue Twitter, Google, or Facebook are discriminating against them for political reasons and legally obligated to carry their speech — offer an illuminating look at why Trump’s boldest threats are probably bluster. Courts across the country have repeatedly defended social networks’ rights to ban at will. If Trump wanted to shut down sites that went against his wishes, he’d need to basically upend this precedent.

So let’s look at the cases.

Charles C. Johnson v. Twitter

Conservative blogger and activist Charles C. Johnson has been embroiled in multiple lawsuits, one of which accused Twitter of violating his free speech rights when it banned him in 2015. In mid-2018, a California court granted Twitter’s request to dismiss the complaint, finding that the rights at stake were Twitter’s, not Johnson’s. “It is well established that the constitutional right to free speech includes the right not to speak,” read its ruling. Twitter’s rules “clearly state that users may not post threatening tweets, and also that [Twitter] may unilaterally, for any reason, terminate a user’s account. The rules reflect [Twitter’s] exercise of free speech.”

Jared Taylor v. Twitter

Fringe far-right figure Jared Taylor, a white nationalist, sued Twitter for banning him in 2018 — claiming he’d been discriminated against because of his racist viewpoints. California judge Harold Kahn gave Taylor a surprising legal win when he allowed the case to proceed, calling it a “classic public interest lawsuit.” But Taylor’s luck didn’t last. As legal expert Eric Goldman discusses here, a California appeals court said the exact logic of Taylor’s suit didn’t matter. Twitter’s moderation choices were protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Craig Brittain v. Twitter

“Revenge porn mogul” Craig Brittain, who ran for an Arizona Senate seat in 2018, was also angry at Twitter for banning him. Brittain hit Twitter with a laundry list of claims, alleging everything from First Amendment violations to infliction of emotional distress. A California court found that Brittain’s claims hinged on treating Twitter as a publisher of his content and Section 230 clearly contradicted these claims.

Federal Agency of News v. Facebook

One unusual political lawsuit came from the Federal Agency of News (FAN), which was allegedly tied to the Russian Internet Research Agency “troll farm.” Facebook removed FAN’s page along with a lot of other propaganda in 2016. FAN then sued Facebook for First Amendment violations and breach of contract. Judge Lucy Koh slapped down the case once in 2019 and again in early 2020, following much of the reasoning described above. Although, as Goldman’s blog details, FAN had some particularly weird misconceptions about internet law, including the idea that Section 230 had an exception for political speech. For the record, it doesn’t.

Prager University v. Google

Conservative advocacy group Prager University filed one of the best-known bias suits against Google in 2017, alleging that YouTube had unfairly restricted access to some of its videos. Like Loomer, PragerU accused Google of violating the First Amendment. Among other claims, it also said Google had violated the Lanham Act with false advertising.

Neither of these arguments worked. California federal judge Lucy Koh dismissed the case in 2018, saying Google and YouTube were “private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website,” not federal agencies or companies that functioned as an official arm of the government.

An appeals court upheld the dismissal in February of this year, saying PragerU’s censorship claim “faces a formidable threshold hurdle: YouTube is a private entity. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government — not a private party — from abridging speech.”

Tulsi Gabbard v. Google

At least one major Democratic politician has filed an anti-bias suit as well. Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sued Google in 2019 after the company briefly suspended her ad account, alleging the company was trying to undercut her bid for the party’s nomination.

This suit got a blisteringly snarky dismissal in March. California district Judge Stephen Wilson noted that “Google is not now, nor (to the Court’s knowledge) has it ever been, an arm of the United States government.” He cited the case against PragerU as legal precedent, concluding again that private web platforms aren’t held to the same standards as governments.

Robert Wilson v. Twitter

In one very recent case, Twitter user Robert Wilson claimed he was banned for “freedom of speech and or heterosexual expressions” and sued for civil rights and First Amendment violations. As expected, this didn’t fly. A West Virginia court ruled against this argument just a few weeks ago, saying Twitter was clearly a private forum. “That private social media companies now host platforms which imitate the functions of public forums — in many respects more effectively than the traditional public forums of government-owned sidewalks, streets, and public parks — does not mean that the entities are state-actors,” read the ruling.

Laura Loomer v. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple

Laura Loomer made one of the most complicated cases against Silicon Valley. She sued alongside conservative legal group Freedom Watch in 2018, claiming that four of the tech world’s biggest companies had violated antitrust law by conspiring to suppress conservative content on their platforms, as well as violated the First Amendment by acting as “quasi-state actors.”

The companies failed to get the suit thrown out immediately, with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals saying the claims weren’t clear enough to dismiss out of hand. But today, the actual ruling was squarely against Loomer. “The Plaintiffs raise non-trivial concerns,” the court concluded. But they “failed to state viable legal claims” to support them — including evidence that a conspiracy existed or that private websites were public spaces that operated like a government.

…and many more.

People have been suing internet platforms for banning them since long before Trump took office; back in 2009, for instance, a PlayStation Network user sued on the grounds that Sony had created a “company town.” (The user lost.) Courts have overwhelmingly concluded that social media networks can ban, limit, or otherwise suppress users’ posts.

Conversely, government figures like Trump actually face strict rules about blocking users. Last year, a court required Trump to unblock Twitter accounts that had criticized him, determining that his Twitter account specifically — not the site as a whole — constituted a public space protected by the First Amendment. Other public officials have lost similar lawsuits from constituents.

Why do these suits keep getting filed? Some look like publicity stunts: activists and politicians can raise their profile by going after a big company like Google or Twitter, even if they’re unlikely to win. Some low-profile cases come from private citizens who seem genuinely confused about the law — a situation exacerbated by politicians pushing misinformation about sites’ legal risks. And other people look for novel arguments that might get past a judge, hitting companies with a scattershot barrage of claims.

But if Trump wants Twitter legally barred from labeling his tweets or banning his supporters’ accounts — which is what his tweets imply — he’ll be changing a widely acknowledged legal standard.

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Boot Camp Digital teaches digital marketing at Google and Nike and now they’ll teach you, too.

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2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Roughly 45 percent of the global population actively uses social media. For entrepreneurs, that means if you’re not marketing your products or services on social media, you’re missing out on a potentially huge revenue stream. Seventy-three percent of marketers say that social media has been effective or very effective in promoting their business. Whether you’re operating a solo business or handling the marketing for your company, learning how to leverage today’s top social media networks can give your company a huge boost.

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You know how to run your personal Instagram account, but this course takes things a step further and shows you how the creator and business accounts work. You’ll create a business strategy for success, set up an account, and learn how to grow and cultivate followers with a content strategy, ultimately seeing Instagram in a new light.

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