Tag Archives: Parkland
As activists from around the country gather in Washington to march for gun safety regulation, new data shows that the National Rifle Association has been aggressively resisting their message through online ads. In the weeks following the school shooting that triggered Saturday’s protests, the NRA spent more than six times its prior daily average on digital ads – including some that appeared with media intended for children.
The finding came from the digital research firm Pathmatics, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The NRA briefly suspended its online ad efforts after a February school shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But Pathmatics found that over the 24 days after the ads resumed, the NRA spent an average of $ 47,300 per day, up from an average of $ 11,300 per day before the murders.
Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.
The ad spending was primarily focused on social media, with Facebook pocketing an average of $ 34,000 of it per day. The NRA also climbed the ranks of the biggest-spending YouTube advertisers, and Pathmatics found that some NRA ads were displayed with videos from Kids’ Toys, a very popular channel featuring two youngsters reviewing Barbie dolls and Lego playsets.
A media commentator told the Tribune that this odd placement probably showed the NRA’s desire for broad reach, rather than the targeting of any specific audience. The NRA reportedly continued to use long-running ads after the shooting, most of them aimed at increasing memberships.
Twitter is working to shield Parkland, Fla. students from bots and trolls on the platform. Many of the high schoolers are organizing in the wake of the shooting at their school on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead.
As Marjory Stoneman Douglas students continue to speak out about gun control and their follower counts on Twitter rise, there are more instances of online abuse and conspiracy theories about these teenagers.
The claims that students are “crisis actors” paid to take advantage of the tragedy to further political agendas have spread on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
Meanwhile, Twitter is takings steps to protect these teens. The company moved quickly to verify some students’ accounts and says it is “actively working on” addressing reports of harassment and abuse.
Twitter is also using its anti-spam tools “to weed out malicious automation” targeting Parkland survivors and the conversation they’ve started.
Directly after the shooting, bots and users linked to the Russian influence campaign began pushing both sides of the gun control debate.
These announcements from Twitter come in the midst of an effort to purge bots from the site that also affected some real people. Many of the users locked out of their accounts were conservative voices on the platform, leading to calls of political bias, which the company denounced.
Users have called for Twitter to take action to combat abuse and harassment repeatedly, and the demands for better management of the platform and the community intensified after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.