Disrupting Disinformation: Cyabra & Lew’Lara\TBWA Announce Social Monitoring Partnership

 

Brazilian PR agency Lew’Lara\TBWA is known for representing brands that disrupt the creative space.  Like when they launched the new Nissan Versa by covering it with stickers of tweets complaining about sedans.  They challenged the preconceived notions about the car segment and drew major attention for Nissan in Brazil.

In that campaign, TBWA proved that it keeps its ears to the ground and pays attention to online narratives.  It is only fitting that an agency with such attention to detail would partner with a platform like Cyabra’s that will allow them to identify, analyze, and understand online dialogues.

TBWA disrupts markets, Cyabra disrupts disinformation

Through this partnership, our artificial intelligence technology allows TBWA-Brazil’s brands, including Nissan and Gatorade, to monitor online narratives, analyze content, and track the reach and impact of social campaigns.  This includes being able to determine the authenticity of authors and delineate between genuine engagement and fake content.

With the rise of bots and deepfake technology, social media and content-sharing channels are getting clogged with disinformation that can become disastrous for public relations if allowed to fester.  Cyabra’s analytics platform lets TBWA and other agency clients monitor any online conversations that mention their brands.  They can gather insights into the origins of the content and influential authors involved, be they automated bots, disingenuous trolls, or cleverly-fabricated “sock puppet” profiles.  Agency leadership can then assess these efforts and take appropriate measures to respond, alter messaging or campaign strategies and protect their client’s image in the public sphere.

Cyabra’s software also tackles genuine content created by real people.  It empowers agencies like TBWA to keep their finger on the pulse of what customers are saying in digital spaces.  This social listening capability lets them learn both what their audience thinks about their brand, products and promotional efforts as well as how they usually engage with the company online.  By knowing what’s normal and expected for their audience, TBWA and their clients can then engage in meaningful ways and spot changes in sentiment quickly and more effectively.

Finally, with Cyabra’s agency services, clients like TBWA can track how far social conversations reach and trace where the content started.  Are people talking about this because of something they saw in the news or from a competitor’s post or a faceless fake account?  How far did it reach and how many people joined the discussion?  This type of information is vital in planning how an agency should approach a topic and for crafting future, targeted campaigns.

Marketing with Cyabra – Knowing Your Audience

Cyabra’s social analytics platform offers PR and marketing agencies the ability to find the truth in what is becoming an evermore cluttered digital space and empowers them to become the foremost authority on their target audiences.  Our AI software gives agencies essential tools to monitor what is really going on in online conversations and track where content is coming from, ultimately allowing them to plan ahead based on real-time trends and terminate disinformation problems before they grow out of hand.

Are you a PR or marketing agency looking to hear more about Cybra’s disinformation detection and online monitoring services for agencies? Read more about the partnership here or contact us to learn more!

Social Media Narratives Impact on Moving Markets

Brokerage firms are one of the few broad classes of organizations that have yet to prioritize social media strategies, but a swift change is expected after the financial services industry watched as everyday investors gathered online to surge GameStop’s stock. The conversations that originated within online communities and rapidly spread across nearly all social media platforms revealed a glaring gap in strategy or preparedness for monitoring among financial services organizations, resulting in confusion for advisors and frustration for their clients. As the dust settles from the GameStop saga, the reality of social media’s impact is left in its wake.

Social narratives can have a lasting effect on brands and organizations, and the financial services category is not immune to the conversations taking place online. Consider how Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy recently launched an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that uses artificial intelligence to determine what stocks to trade based on online chatter. Further solidifying social media’s role in the market, it’s no longer viable for financial institutions to ignore social media or the conversations happening there. Cyabra’s technology works to dive deeper, below the surface of online dialogue, to give clients in the financial sector invaluable data and analysis to make smarter decisions for their firms, and their clients.

Monitoring Social is Only Step One:

It’s not enough to simply identify these conversations happening online, but to dig deeper to uncover how these narratives are progressing and changing as it relates to an advisor’s book of business. Once you understand the conversation, advisors need to identify exactly how far the content has traveled, and which accounts of influence are giving additional attention and reach to the narrative. Cyabra’s platform will uncover the true reach of these narratives, while identifying fake accounts or bad actors further fueling content reach. Before decisions can be made, financial teams need an accurate picture of the conversation taking place.

Real-Time Analysis, Backed by Accurate Data is Key:

As you find the narratives online and its reach, Cyabra allows teams to stay ahead of trends, provide client counsel, and make changes to a portfolio as needed. By monitoring ticker symbols and client holdings across all social media platforms, in addition to identifying conversations that could impact market fluctuations, the real time analysis and data will give advisors the ability to stay ahead of the curve.

As social media continues to evolve and grow, businesses need to be ready to react to the conversations happening. Financial institutions can no longer ignore social media when managing their clients’ portfolios. With the right tools in hand, advisors can make smarter decisions that drive better business outcomes.

To learn more about Cyabra’s offerings for those in the financial services industry, or to request a demo of the technology, reach out to us here: https://cyabra.com/contact/

 

NFT: Non-Fungible Token (or Newly Found Twitter?)

By Scott Mortman

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), largely unknown a month ago, appear to be the latest investment craze. For those still unfamiliar, NFTs are one-of-a-kind cryptocurrency tokens that represent a digital asset, such as an online work of art or a prominent Tweet, which can be purchased, sold, or traded. NFTs rely on decentralized blockchain technology to track authenticity and ownership. 

NFTs grabbed the public attention earlier this month when Christie’s auctioned an NFT-based digital art collage from the artist known as “Beeple” for over $69 million. Significantly, it was the first time that Christie’s accepted cryptocurrency as payment. On the back of that well-publicized auction sale, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet (which reads “just setting up my twttr”) as a NFT for over $2.9 million, the proceeds of which were converted to bitcoin and donated to charity.  

As with “meme stocks”, social media quickly has taken to discussing and promoting NFTs in an effort to draw attention to and elevate pricing for particular works of digital art. A preliminary search by Cyabra on Twitter revealed well over 50k accounts discussing NFTs. Many of these accounts were created by artists who newly found Twitter and opened accounts for the express purpose of promoting their digital art in the hope of cashing in on the current NFT hype.

Whether NFTs become a long-term investment vehicle or a short-term fad remains to be seen. What’s clear at the moment is that social media users, including those new to the platforms, are using the digital space to capitalize on the sudden interest in digital art as represented by NFTs. And Christie’s recent cry online of “sold” for NFT art may not be the last word at auction.

 

#BoycottSephora: A Case Study

How a Brand’s Image can be Destroyed in Seconds

On January 29, makeup influencer Amanda Ensing shared a sponsored video featuring Sephora products on Instagram. What next transpired was a classic example of a brand crisis created within seconds. Within minutes of her posts, social media users discovered previous posts of Ensing’s promoting the riots on capital hill. The hashtag #boycottsephora began to trend, with calls for Sephora to denounce Ensing. Upon Sephora doing so, the hashtag #boycottsephora flipped, criticizing Sephora for being anti-conservative, freedom of speech. Christians and Latinos, to name just a few.

What happened here is what we call a snowball effect– when just one post “snowballs” and spreading a message, creating great influence and impact.

Here’s what Cyabra unravelled:

Seconds after Ensing’s promotional post went live, followers discovered the following tweet in support of the Capitol Riots.

Immediately, calls to boycott Sephora trended with the hashtag #boycottsephora, demanding that the makeup company sever ties with Ensing.

Soon after, Sephora announced that they would no longer be working with Ensing, severing ties with her.

However, the damage was already done, with only more to follow. With Sephora’s decision to cut ties with Ensing, her supporters took over the #BoycottSephora hashtag on social media, completely reversing the narrative- this time the company was shamed for being anti-conservatives.

According to Cyabra’s analysis, the words most associated with the hashtag #boycottsephora were Maga, Christians and Conservatives.

After analyzing influential Instagram personas participating in the conversation, Cyabra identified Emily Sarmo, a fashion blogger, with a 17.2K following. Her post criticized Sephora for anti-freedom of speech sentiment and received nearly 500 likes. Instagram page “Latinos With Trump” was an influential voice as well, calling on followers to boycott Sephora for severing ties with Ensign.

To add more fire to the conversation, real and fake profiles were created just for the sake of this hot topic. An Instagram page titled “F*** Sephora” was created, citing that the company discriminates against Christians and conservatives.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @boycottsephora

Not only were there calls to boycott Sephora’s, but both side of the political aisle called on users to switch to Ulta, one of Sephora’s major competitors.

As demonstrated, with one video posted on Instagram, Sephora lost consumers across the political spectrum. Not only was there backlash with right and left followers, but apolitical posts criticized the company for taking sides and limiting the right for people to express their views. As we can see, posts like these snowball at an ever-increasing pace in today’s media network, irreversibly destroying brand names.

Vaccine Disinformation- What Does it Really Mean?

Vaccine Disinformation- What Does it Really Mean?

As the world begins to deploy COVID-19 vaccinations, the news is flooded with articles about the threat of vaccine disinformation. These articles claim that fake news and disinformation surrounding the vaccines is rampant and influencing the public’s view of the vaccine. However, what remains unclear is where this disinformation comes from, how it spreads and what the motivations are behind it?

We’ll tackle each of these questions step by step.

Social Media as a news source

Let’s first talk about the medium for where these conversations take place. As we know, social media today has significantly impacted the media landscape. The days of checking newspapers, local media outlets, or even simply google, are nearly obsolete for much of the public. Today, social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have taken over news sources. This means that anyone on these platforms is now a source of news.

Social Media Users

Now, we can talk about who these sources are and their influence and reach.

There are the people that you know personally- your friends, family members and acquaintances. These may have similar outlooks as you- you likely have what in common. Oftentimes, we trust these sources- you know where they come from and what they represent.

Public figures are another category. These can be celebrities, politicians, business leaders or influencers. These figures can have the power to influence the decisions that we each make each day- this can be anything from political views to the shampoo that you should use.

We also have social media accounts used by media outlets that share their articles. While reliable media outlets are active on these platforms, non reliable sources have the ability to become just as active and influential.

Lastly, we have fake profiles. These include fake users, avatars, bots, sockpuppets and actual real people who are paid to promote specific agendas. These profiles are used to spread and amplify messages or information.

While fake profiles are seemingly the more obvious source of false information, the other categories can often be equally, if not more, dangerous. Public figures, influencers, friends and acquaintances are real people that are sources of any and all information- real or fake.

See where the problem begins?

Now that we understand the different sources of information, we need to understand what these sources are capable of.

Fake news, Disinformation and Misinformation

To further understand the problem, we need to define what fake news, disinformation and misinformation, a less popular phrase, really means. While these all fall under the category of false information, each phrase is distinct and carries important differentiations that are often missed.

Misinformation is false information that is spread deliberately or accidentally, regardless of the motivations behind it.

Disinformation is false information that is deliberately biased, fabricated or misleading. This can be manipulated narratives, facts or propaganda.

Lastly, fake news is false information that is purposefully created in a format that copies mainstream media to spread misinformation, conspiracy theories or hoaxes. Sometimes, these messages are not directly fabrications, but rather sensational, emotionally charged or misleading false information.

Each of these examples of false information pose threats. While some false information on social media can be spotted (that’s a conversation for another blog!), the more “trusted” a source is, the higher the risk

Types of Vaccine Disinformation

Now that we understand both the different categories of social media as well as the different types of false information, we can return to our original topic- vaccine disinformation.

As we know, one of the most globally discussed topics is the pandemic, creating an overabundance of information. This means that parties interested in this topic- and I believe it’s safe to say that this is a large percentage of the population- are susceptible to consuming false information.

As the pandemic conversation has turned to vaccines, we are witnessing an increase in the spread of false information. Some of this information is spread both by malicious social media users as well as altruistic users.

Here are some examples of the the reasoning behind the social media users spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation:

  1. Exploitation: People want to make money. By hooking readers into information about the vaccine, they can advertise their own agendas in connection to vaccines. For instance, Cyabra identified a campaign of fake profiles on Facebook that exploited the online interest in COVID-19 to advertise Bitcoin.
  1. Answers: When times are hard, people want answers. They look for comfort in reasons and explanations about what is happening. This is a feeding ground for conspiracy theories to thrive, which has led many to believe that the virus is a way for world leader’s to control their citizens.
  1. Community: People like to feel that they belong. They seek connections and by attaching themselves to an idea or opinion and engaging in social media conversations, they become a part of a community. Many social media users will seek out these communities to feel a purpose.

COVID-19 has brought out the vulnerability in all of us. Unfortunately, this leads to an environment where false information spreads, and spreads fast. And social media can be a hotbed for this.

The Dangers

Now that we understand what vaccine disinformation really means, it’s important to highlight its dangers. Put simply, mistrust and confusion causes vaccine hesitancy, leaving efforts to end the pandemic that has killed 1.85 million people in severe danger.

The infodemic is our latest public health threat, and we need to stop it.

Cyabra is actively monitoring the social media conversations surrounding COVID-19. Our latest report on vaccine disinformation details our findings.

Meet Cyabra

Who We are

We’re a group of like-minded, analytical thinkers who are passionate about identifying and countering online disinformation in all its forms. Led by former information warfare and cyber security experts, Cyabra offers a unique approach to the war against disinformation. 

What We Do

A combination of “cyber” and “abracadabra,” Cyabra works with consumer brands, the public sector and media outlets to offer an AI-driven open source intelligence platform to detect fake accounts spreading disinformation and fake news. Cyabra breaks down the billions of online conversations in real time to provide a deeper understanding of what’s hidden behind these conversations.

How We Do It 

Cyabra’s SaaS platform uses its AI lens to expose disinformation and seperate the real from the fake. We do this by analyzing the billions of conversations taking place across the internet to unravel hidden insights. Our platform breaks through the layers of online content to pinpoint patterns, make connections, measure impact and detect authenticity. 

Why We Do It 

We created Cyabra to meet the very real and very immediate need of combating fake news and its influence. Over the past several years, we’ve seen the harmful effects of disinformation invading our daily online lives. Between the news, public figures and even corporations, disinformation campaigns can create significant damage before brands even have time to react. Our solution empowers global brands and media outlets to understand narratives, learn who’s speaking about them, discover trends and reach true audiences–all to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

What We Believe 

When it comes to values, our priorities are clear. Every day we strive to embody authenticity, social responsibility, innovation and customer service.

In a loud world filled with content overload and diverging messages, Cyabra believes in bringing authenticity to the digital realm, offering a lens of truth to filter through the noise. We enable companies to not only navigate the chatter around their brands, but also identify and weed out bad actors before they can make an impact. Our goal of keeping the internet safe and honest informs everything we do, developing tools to improve public discourse and informed media consumption, while holding the right entities accountable. We recognize that we are working to achieve that goal in a digital space that is always evolving. In turn, we work diligently, constantly innovating, to ensure that our platform remains two steps ahead of current technology. We understand that brands need to assess their perception in real time, so we are relentless in making sure they are in the position to anticipate disinformation buzz rather than deal with the aftermath. And finally, we are dedicated to serving our clients by listening and responding to their needs.

What’s Next 

Currently based in Israel, Cyabra is excited to begin expanding our reach across the globe, specifically with an office in the United States to continue best serving our American partners. Our team is always on the lookout for new talent with can-do attitudes. 

Fake news spread on social media does real harm to our divided society | Opinion

By Scott Mortman, Senior Advisor at Cyabra

When President Trump announced on social media that he had been diagnosed positive for the coronavirus, a huge number of people on social-media questioned whether the news was real. To counter this “fake news” skepticism, the White House released a video and photos of the president taken at the hospital. In the past, this would have ended most suspicions. But in the rapidly developing world of “deepfakes,” many took to social media again to point out perceived discrepancies in how the president, his speech and his surroundings could have been manipulated.

Neither fake personas nor deepfakes — real people whose image, speech and/or surroundings have been altered — are creations of this century. They have been used to influence others in non-digital format since at least biblical times. What has changed is the medium used to spread these forms of disinformation.

Only in this century have we created a globally accessible platform to immediately transmit false information, disseminated by people who may not exist or appear as they are. And we are harmed by our inability to distinguish who is real or fake/deepfake, and to separate true narratives from false ones — as quickly and intensely as those spreading disinformation. The communication of agreed-upon facts forms the basis for any well-functioning society. Without a common narrative, divisions will widen.

In “The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix documentary, social-media engineers discuss how the technologies they created have been designed to optimize the time we spend online. By feeding us content and ads targeted to each user’s preferences, social media relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to reinforce these preferences. By eliminating posts and opinions that run counter to our presumed or expressed beliefs and likes, we enter into a “tech bubble” free of contradiction and conflict and in which our addiction to social-media content grows.

Yet our “social dilemma” is being exploited further. While those behind the social media platforms are working to feed our tech addiction, there now is a virtually uncountable — and unaccountable — number of fake users hijacking these technologies to push their targeted messaging to us. These fake online users have been created for one purpose — to manipulate and influence the opinions of real people online.

Regrettably, they perform quite well.

Recent studies conducted by the company I advise show that fake profiles increasingly constitute more than 30 percent of those engaged in online discussions. We also are tracking more active uses of deepfake technologies to manipulate opinion and cast doubt on our perceptions of reality.

Until now, the main purveyors of deepfakes have been pornography websites. As deepfake technologies advance, however, manipulated photos and videos of political candidates, government officials, business leaders and others in the public realm are increasing. Going forward, it is conceivable that the person with whom you are chatting on a live Zoom video conference may be a manipulated image engineered in real time.

If we are to overcome what separates us as a society, then we must find a better way to verify the truth of information shared online. As are radio and television, social media is a public forum that requires some measure of public oversight and protection. These platforms can benefit us and already inform too much of our daily lives to expect people to disconnect. At best, we may reduce our use of social media. We also may demand more of those who operate our social media.

Otherwise, as people have learned this year across the globe, what “goes viral” can harm us more than we imagine.

To view the original article, click here.