Facebook and Twitter toss Russian pages on FBI tip, and Biden enters Animal Crossing: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Facebook and Twitter have cracked down on accounts and pages that originated in Russia and had links to the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, after acting on a tip from the FBI.
The move comes as evidence emerged that the network is trying to interfere in the coming U.S. election. According to Bloomberg News, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said the accounts were trying to build an audience on the political left, and posted some criticism of the presidential campaigns of both Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. Facebook said it will alert people who were approached by the group on Facebook. Twitter also said it has removed accounts. Both companies claimed that the accounts had little impact or engagement.
Meanwhile, in another move targeting disinformation, Twitter is trying to clear up its Trending Topics section, reports The New York Times. The section will now include explanatory tweets and descriptions that show why an item is trending. However, it stopped short of dropping Trending Topics altogether, as some critics have called for.
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing (one of Ad Age’s Hottest Brands of 2020) has already been targeted by scores of marketers, from Hellman’s to KFC, as its popularity soared during the pandemic. Now, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is also infiltrating the game.
As Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing writes, the Democratic candidate is inviting gamers to place his official campaign yard signs on their digital island paradises ahead of the U.S. election. Players can choose from four different yard signs: One features the Biden-Harris logo, another bears the “Team Joe” mark, a third has the “Joe Pride” emblem and a final poster is adorned with silhouettes of Biden's go-to shades, aviators. Players can access them using QR codes that the campaign will be sharing across social media.
The move is part of the Biden campaign’s strategy to target younger voters. No word yet on whether Trump will pop up in the game, though (Mar-a-Lago island, anyone?)
Since coronavirus struck, many people have discovered new digital hobbies (see Animal Crossing, above) but one of the pastimes taking off is an old one: fishing.
Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports that the sport is “attracting millions of new participants and reactivating millions more lapsed anglers.” Walmart research has shown that active anglers in the U.S. increased by around 10 million to 35 million during the pandemic, and the retailer is struggling to keep its shelves stocked with tackle. Sales of fishing gear also have soared at Dick’s, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.
As Neff points out, “Fishing seems like a thing millennials would have killed by now—a slow-moving hobby disproportionately beloved by older white guys.” But, in fact, it was gaining momentum even before the pandemic, particularly among women and Hispanics. Now, with people working at home and a lack of other sports available, it’s more popular than ever. And let’s face it, you couldn't get a much more socially distanced activity.
An 'ever-shifting' Olympic logo
With the Tokyo Olympics still in doubt for 2021, the 2028 games seems a long way off. Yet preparations are underway: yesterday, the Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic committee unveiled its official logo, one that it says was created specifically for the digital age to represent the city's diversity.
As Ad Age’s Creativity editor (and resident Angeleno) Ann-Christine Diaz writes, it’s an “ever-shifting," dynamic logo. It consists of the letters “L” and “A” for Los Angeles, the numerals 28, representing the year of the games, and the Olympic rings. But while the “L” and 28 remain constant, the "A" changes throughout, representing the personalities and styles of various Los Angeles-based athletes and creators. They include sporting icons like runner Allyson Felix, gymnast Gabby Douglas and snowboarder Chloe Kim, as well as the likes of Billie Eilish, Reese Witherspoon and YouTube star Lilly Singh, all of whom worked with the committee to create their personalized A's. Take a look here.
Podcast of the Day: Brad Hiranaga, chief brand officer at General Mills North America, tells Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl how the company has supported the racial justice movement in Ad Age’s latest “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. Its efforts included a Wheaties spot highlighting Serena Williams’ partnership with the Equal Justice Institute, and making donations to the NAACP Youth & College Division when people like Fruit Gushers posts featuring young Black artists and creators. Listen here.
Vote Old Navy: Old Navy is offering to pay its employees a full day’s rate to volunteer as poll workers on Election Day in November, reports the New York Post. “Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of making that process more accessible to the communities we call home, we are on board,” stated Nancy Green, president of Old Navy.
Gram queen: Ariana Grande has become the first woman to reach 200 million followers on Instagram. The singer has edged ahead of Kylie Jenner, with 193 million, and Selena Gomez with 190 million, reports Good Morning America.
Creativity of the Day: Ben & Jerry’s is teaming up with the Who We Are Project and Vox Creative for a podcast examining the legal discrimination, segregation and state-sanctioned violence that Black people in America have faced since the end of chattel slavery, writes Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood. “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism In America” will consist of six 30-minute episodes.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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