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June 25, 2019

Is Social Media A Good Source For News?

With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, and millions more active on sites such as YouTube and Twitter, it has become obvious that social media is an important platform for businesses.

Connecting with the huge variety of consumers already on these sites can open up significant opportunities for marketing and lead generation. Additionally, social media monitoring provides insight and understanding into how your industry, audience and competitors are reacting to market trends and products.

As well as giving businesses and consumers a platform to share their thoughts and participate in ongoing conversations, social media is also a channel through which many people access news stories and important information.

A recent study from Pew Research found that 64 per cent of adults are active on Facebook, and 30 per cent are using the site to receive news. This means that approximately half of the people using Facebook trust the site to deliver their news.

Similarly, 16 per cent of US adults are active on Twitter, with exactly half of those (8 per cent) accessing the news through tweets.

Not only are users reading news on social media, but they are also participating in the sharing and telling of stories. Half of all social network users have shared news stories on their own profiles and a further 46 per cent have discussed news on social media.

However, while social networking sites are a popular media through which to access news, Pew Research found that users on these sites spend significantly less time engaging with the news they read.

Readers who visit news stories directly through a provider’s website spend an average of 4 minutes and 36 seconds on each page. In comparison, those who arrive through a link on Facebook spend just 1 minute 41 seconds reading the page.

This shows that while news is being shared and read on social media sites, engagement is significantly greater when consumers go out of their way to access the stories.

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Developers rush to patch

In the wake of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, there have been a myriad of changes impacting users of Facebook and Instagram content recently. These changes were made without any notice and were effective immediately which has impacted third-party apps worldwide.

Albeit the speed in which the changes have been made is likely to have been partly driven by the pressure to tighten data practices and potentially align certain timing as CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress next week to answer questions about the company’s privacy and data policies.From the perspective of everyday users accessing the content you know and love via the Facebook and Instagram apps will see little to no change. For developers like us on the other hand, the impacts are significant and are only a hint of what is yet to come.In case you missed it, the changes made have been many and impact all third-party apps, whether legitimate or not.

Given the changes have been quick, varied and came without prior notification, we’ve pulled together a quick summary of a few that left developers and other third-party content users of these content feeds frustrated:

Instagram have removed 17 ways of accessing content

This means something as simple as code to access recent posts of a public company, suddenly stopped working. Quick changes had to be made to use alternative methods.

Facebook & Instagram have removed access to many fields

Fields like how many followers a user has, or how many posts you have made, but many more have gone.

25x drop in Instagram content

The Instagram API restricted the flow of content by 25x, meaning that public posts previously being collected has been reduced significantly, requiring different approaches to be taken that are more efficient.

These are only a few of the changes that have happened with more expect in future. With CTO Mike Schroepfer commenting that they will lock down access, review previously allowed apps, and then hand out access to the apps that deserve it.

While this is promising from the perspective that Facebook is taking action to breath some confidence back into their data practices, it will still be interesting to see how they now start to crack down on third-party apps that are using and abusing content. With the advent of AI and machine learning, the content which appeared innocuous can now be exploited and abused in the wrong hands. That means Facebook is forcing all apps that have previously been approved for accessing Events, Groups and Pages, have to be reviewed again.

For the developers working on these changes behind the scenes, it's a difficult process but something we monitor constantly to ensure the client experience is supported, and uncompromised. While at times frustrating, it’s also fascinating to watch the complexities of today's interconnected environment play, shift and unfold.

Ian Young,
Isentia Technical Architect

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Blog
No warning to Facebook & Instagram changes

In the wake of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, there have been a myriad of changes impacting users of Facebook and Instagram content recently. These changes were made without any notice and were effective immediately which has impacted third-party apps worldwide.

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It’s been a whirlwind year trying to keep up with the various changes made by social media platforms – especially for professional communicators, developers, agencies, and brands.

At the same time as understanding and usage of the term ‘API’ has accelerated across offices worldwide, social media platforms have begun to restrict access to their application programming interfaces (APIs). With implications ranging from global politics to individual user privacy, that trend is showing no signs of stopping.

API changes have been introduced in order to reduce risks around data privacy, security concerns for users and stamping out improper use of user data.

Most of the changes can be categorised as:

  1. How often and how much data can be requested (rate limit reductions); and
  2. Type of data available (restrictions on user-identifiable data)

Generally, these are positive changes for the whole ecosystem. Users can be reassured at an individual level that there are more controls in place and consideration given to matters of privacy and the prevention of misuse. Facebook’s ‘Here Together’ video, released in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data breach, reflects some of this desired messaging and the drives for these changes.

The latest changes have come from Instagram and more are set to be introduced on 11 Dec 2018.

Here's how the changes impact the three types of Instagram analysis:

  • Owned media (for your brands’ own Instagram accounts): Better data on your owned Instagram profiles, but they need to be Instagram business profiles and you have to authenticate to access this data.
  • Public accounts (for other brands or influencer’s channels): This use case no longer exists for Instagram - there is no longer any data available for public Instagram accounts you don't own.
  • Listening: Public hashtag listening on Instagram is no longer supported. Brands will need to move to brand mentions, photo tags and related hashtags.


These may not be the last of the changes, but they are necessary growing pains to regain user trust and provide higher quality authentic engagements. For small businesses and influencers these changes are fairly straightforward - however for those looking to manage communications or marketing strategies they present new challenges in order to stay informed.

These changes apply across the board so all API users will need to jump the same hoops and prove that both privacy measures are met and use of data is acceptable. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the official changes from Instagram read on here.

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Blog
More changes to social media API’s, the latest from Instagram

It’s been a whirlwind year trying to keep up with the various changes made by social media platforms – especially for professional communicators, developers, agencies, and brands.

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Isentia, a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, is proud to announce the launch of “The Conversation of Sport: Representation of Women in Sports News Coverage,” in partnership with the Office of Women in Sport and Recreation. This research aims to bring awareness to gender inequality in sports, and attention to address the underrepresentation of women in sports media.

The purpose of this research is to establish a baseline of the current coverage of women’s sport and women in sport in Victoria, providing crucial data to advocate for improved representation moving forward. Isentia's expertise in media monitoring and analysis plays a pivotal role in gathering independent, transparent data to assess the current landscape accurately.

"Equal representation in sport is key in shaping the way we view the world…This research represents a key step forward in reducing the gap in coverage for women in sports news. It directly supports the media and sporting organisations with independent, transparent data of current performance in this space.," said Ros Spence Minister for Community Sport

This research shows that the coverage of women’s sport in the media remains significantly lower than that of men’s sport, with only 15% of sports news coverage in Victoria focusing on women’s sport in 2022-23. Isentia's collaboration with Change Our Game aims to highlight this disparity by empowering media outlets with the data and tools necessary to increase the visibility of women in sports news.

Isentia and its partners envision a future where strong representation of women in sports media contributes to the professionalisation of women’s elite sport, dismantles limiting stereotypes, and promotes inclusivity at both the elite and community sport levels. This collaboration sets the stage for a more equitable and diverse sports media landscape, where the stories and achievements of women athletes are celebrated, amplified and contribute to a stronger ecosystem for women's sport.

"Through our partnership with OWSR, we are hopeful that this research will shine a light on the current state of play of sports news, and the impact this can have on the support and participation in women’s sport. While the findings are confronting, having this baseline will help drive positive change." said Ngaire Crawford for Director of Insights and Research, Isentia. 

"We believe that by working together, we can drive meaningful change and create a more inclusive sporting environment for women and girls everywhere."

What We Hope For the Future:

Through our partnership with Change Our Game and the Victorian Government, we hope to pave the way for a future where women in sport are celebrated and recognized on equal footing with their male counterparts in the media. By increasing the visibility and representation of women in sports media, we aim to inspire the next generation of athletes, journalists and content creators and drive positive change towards a more inclusive and equitable sporting landscape. Together, we can create a world where every athlete, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

About Change Our Game:

Change Our Game is an initiative by the Victorian Government aimed at achieving gender equality in sport and active recreation. Through advocacy, funding, and partnerships, Change Our Game works to address systemic barriers and promote inclusivity and diversity across all levels of sport.

About Isentia:

Isentia is a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, helping organisations make informed decisions based on actionable insights from media data. With a comprehensive suite of solutions, including media monitoring, analysis, and insights, Isentia empowers clients to stay ahead in an ever-evolving media landscape.

Select to be taken to Change Our Game's full report

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Blog
Isentia co-launches report: Representation of Women in Sports Coverage 2022-23

Isentia, a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, is proud to announce the launch of “The Conversation of Sport: Representation of Women in Sports News Coverage,” in partnership with the Office of Women in Sport and Recreation. This research aims to bring awareness to gender inequality in sports, and attention to address the […]

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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Blog
How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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