Posts tagged with "Facebook"

Dog tired: Italian Ikea store opens doors to stray pooches

December 4, 2018

Animal lovers are giving an Ikea store in Catania, Italy, a big social-media smooch after photos appeared on online showing stray pooches sleeping among the furniture displays.

Martine Taccia was shopping at the Ikea when she saw the dogs relaxing near a living room display, The Dodo reports. “My reaction was pure amazement. It’s not a common thing,” Taccia told the animal news site.

Taccia said she had found out that the furniture and appliance store opens its doors to strays in cold weather and even provides food and water. “The dogs receive daily food and pampering from Ikea’s employees and customers,” Taccia says. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.”

She immediately posted the news to her Facebook page—and the shares and likes continue to multiply.

According to the comments on the photos, dog lovers are giving this one store’s policy a big thumbs up. “Thank God there are still good people in the world who help poor animals,” one friend wrote on Instagram.

Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative. “I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta told the news outlet that he hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked.

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said.

Research contact: stephen@thedodo.com

Russia’s Kalashnikov Group unveils its challenge to Tesla, the CV1

August 27, 2018

The Kalashnikov Group—the Russian manufacturer of the infamous AK-47 assault rifle—has unveiled a prototype of a retro-style electric sedan that it claims can compete with the Tesla’s range, which is about 300 miles on one charge.

The electric vehicle (EV) —dubbed the CV1—was unveiled at an exhibition of Russian defense and civilian products just outside Moscow on August 23, CNBC reports. Kalashnikov said in a statement on its website that the design of its “revolutionary cutting-edge supercar” was inspired by a Soviet hatchback created in the 1970s.

According to the BBC, the company told reporters attending the expo that the car featured technology that would “let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla,” adding, that, “when fully developed, the car [will] have a top speed several times higher than current electric vehicles produced … and [will] be able to travel 220 miles (350 km) on a single charge.”

Right now, the CV1 can reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in six seconds.

Social media users quickly took to the company’s Facebook page to share their thoughts on Russia’s answer to Tesla, the BBC said, with some commenting on its “funny Zombie-like” design, while others praised its “cool” appearance.

“Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars,” one user wrote. Another asked Elon Musk for his opinion on the prototype.

This is not the first EV prototype introduced in Russia. In August 2016, the Russian company AvtoVAZ presented its EV prototype for the Lada Vesta. This is the second electric car made by the Tolyatti-based  manufacturer. ElLada was the first, appearing as a prototype in 2012, and which was based on the popular Lada Kalina.

Research contact: @KalashnikovGS

More than just a pretty face: ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’

August 9, 2018

Selfies are the “feature films” we take of ourselves. If we are happy with the original shot, that’s fine. But many of us have taken to “erasing” any imperfections—by using apps and filters such as Facetune to smooth out skin; and to give our eyes, nose, and lips a little tweak. We might even use Snapchat to produce an idealized version of our visage (as well as to add rainbows or puppy ears).

It’s all in good fun, right? Not so much. In fact, according to a study published on August 2 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network, the demand for a certain type of plastic surgery has increased, due to a new disorder dubbed “Snapchat dysmorphia.”

The study—conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology—notes a growing trend: People are bringing in their own selfies to plastic surgeons, usually edited with a smartphone application, and asking to look more like these glorified photos.

The phenomenon is causing widespread concern among experts, who are worried about its negative effect on people’s self-esteem and its potential to trigger body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness classified on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, The Washington Post reported on August 8.

“This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients,” the research has found.

The condition is a mental disorder that causes people to be “extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor,” according to the Mayo Clinic. People who have body dysmorphic disorder tend to obsess over their appearance and body image—often checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance for many hours a day, the clinic said. Treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication

Neelam Vashi, M.D. ,an assistant professor of Dermatology at the school and one of the article’s authors, told the Post in an interview that Snapchat dysmorphia is a result of people now being able to edit away any imperfections with ease.

“It’s remarkable,” said Vashi, who is also a board-certified dermatologist. “What used to lie in the hands of … celebrities … people who were innately beautiful made to look more beautiful … now it’s in the hands of anyone.”

On Snapchat, for example, the picture messaging application features upward of 20 filters that users can toggle through by simply swiping across their phone screens. Aside from adding flower crowns or puppy ears, filters can give a person freckles, longer eyelashes, wider eyes and flawless skin, among other augmentations. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also allow people to edit their photos in the application before uploading.

Other applications such as Facetune take things a step further. For $3.99, users have access to a host of editing tools such as teeth whitening and making a person’s forehead, nose or waist smaller. While people most often use filters or editing software for minor fixes such as clearing blemishes or plumping lips, Vashi said traditional cosmetic procedures largely can’t reproduce the “instant fix” people see in their edited photos.

Based on findings of an annual survey conducted by the  American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, selfies continue to be a driving force behind why people wish to get plastic surgery done. In 2017, the survey found that 55% of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies—a 13% increase from the previous year’s results.

Vashi told the Post that it is unlikely that people will change their behavior in the near future. “It sounds like people are still going to do it because they like it. They like the way they look,” she said. “I’m just one small person in a big world, I can’t change everything, but I can make people aware and recognize and know that it’s not the real world. It’s like living in a fantasy.”

Research contact: @NeelamVashi

Beauty shoppers spend 80% of ‘purchase experience’ looking at ads, articles, social media

July 17, 2018

A relatively self-serving study sponsored by Condé Nast—publisher of such magazines as Allure, Glamour, Self, Vogue, and W—has found that, in the beauty category, consumers spend 80% of their time in the “pre-search” or “influence” phase of shopping, with a spate of publications, social media, advertising, and celebrities affecting their final purchases.

The study, fielded by the research firm Tapestry and posted on Retail Dive on July 16, found that, similarly, fashion consumers spend 69% of their time in the pre-search stage and are most motivated by advertising; as compared to tech consumers, 65% of whom are influenced by ads “outside of their buying needs.”

Interestingly enough, both beauty and fashion buyers say a couple of brands are “top of mind”—even before they start looking. Fully 79% of respondents admitted they had brands in mind before their search—and 69% pay more attention to ads from sources they know and trust. In fact, more than half of shoppers (52%) spend their full decision time deciding between just two brands.

The outliers? Fifty-three percent of fashion consumers and 64% of 13- to 17-year-old shoppers purchase the brand they first considered.

With influential beauty and fashion publications in its inventory, Condé Nast found that its brands have three times more influence on consumer decisions than Google and Facebook, with three in four respondents saying they trust Condé Nast brands to recommend products. More than 90% trusted Glamour, GQ and Vogue for fashion recommendations; as well Glamour and Allure for cosmetics. Indeed, Consumers were 50% more likely to list a Condé Nast brand in the pre-search phase and think more highly of brands that advertise with Condé Nast, compared to Google and Facebook. Specifically, Condé Nast is 26% more likely to drive purchase intent than tech giants Facebook and Google, based on the study findings.

Other research has revealed that social media plays a major role in driving purchases, especially among younger consumers. A Yes Lifecycle Marketing report released last year found that 57% of consumers across different generations say social media influences their shopping decisions; while 80% of Gen-Zers and 74% of Millennials said social channels influence their shopping. Instagram was a key driver of fashion, beauty and style-focused purchase for 72%, a 2017 Dana Rebecca Designs survey found.

Research contact: @CondeNast

Among social media users, Facebook rules

March 14, 2018

Facebook remains America’s most popular social media platform, with roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) self-identifying as users and about 75% of them catching up with their “friends” at least once a day, based on findings of a poll by The Pew Research Center released on March 1.

With the exception of those 65 and older, most Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook, the poll of 2,002 Americans over the age of 18 concluded.

Only YouTube gets more traffic, with 73% of respondents noting that they visit the site regularly. The video-sharing site—which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform—is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

In line with that trend, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat—whether or not Kylie Jenner loves it anymore—and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

Of course, that’s not counting President Donald Trump, whom Fox News says has given Twitter “a big boost.” He even fires his high-level employees via the platform—which he used on March 13 to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.

Several other platforms are popular among special interest groups, including:

  • Pinterest, which remains substantially more popular among women (41% of whom say they use the site) than men (16%).
  • LinkedIn, which continues to be especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • WhatsApp, a messaging service that is particularly popular in Latin America, and this following extends to Latinos in the United States—with 49% of Hispanics reporting that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

Finally, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites—including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Research contact: tcaiazza@pewresearch.org

Why are more women traveling alone?

February 27, 2018

Women dominate solo travel in a 63/36 split, based on the findings of a survey of the 225,000 followers of the Solo Travel Society group on Facebook released on February 13.

This research is consistent with the personal travel experiences of Janice Waugh, who manages the Solo Traveler community. “I see women traveling solo far more often than men,” she said. “In one case, I was on a train in India and, randomly, there were four female solo travelers in one row: a Brit, a Canadian, and two Americans.”

But with the cost of travel so high and the dangers inherent in going it alone, why do women travel solo more than men? Posing this question to the members of the Solo Travel Society resulted in a variety of answers, with 250 people responding in more than 300 comments.

Among the primary reasons the women provided were the following;

  • 46% said the traveled alone for the freedom and independence. They said the chance to do what they want when they want is important to them.
  • 22% said they weren’t willing to wait around for others.
  • 15% said they travel solo to challenge themselves and gain confidence.

“Essentially,” said Waugh, “solo travelers want a break from accommodating other people’s needs. But they get more. Solo travel, being responsible for every aspect of your travels, delivers a confidence boost that can’t be experienced any other way.”

Finally, a bit of humor from the discussion on the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. From a man: “I’m not sure why there are more women than men. But as a single guy traveler, I’m not complaining at all!”

Research contact: Janice@SoloTravelerWorld.com

28% of Americans think Facebook should be fined for its role in Russian interference

February 23, 2018

More than one-quarter of Americans believe that social media site Facebook should be fined for its role in Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.

The online survey of 1,000 people, conducted by market research firm Honest Data, “casts new light on the American populace’s view of Facebook’s culpability in those alleged crimes,” USA Today reports.

The survey was completed just two days before Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three businesses—including an internet firm tied to the Kremlin—on charges of conspiracy, identity theft, failing to register as foreign agents, and violating laws that limit the use of foreign money in U.S. elections.

But, long before this month’s indictments, Facebook already had been implicated: After initially dismissing a suggestion that Facebook may have played a part in a foreign influence campaign by running ads and “fake news” from the Russians, last November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that there had been interference and vowed to stop it.

According to Honest Data, a polling firm founded by ex-Facebook employee Tavis McGinn, 28% of Americans with an online presence believe that Facebook should be fined for allowing the spread of Russian misinformation.

The possibility of a fine for Facebook stems from calls by Democratic lawmakers to more strongly regulate the social network and online political

Initially, Facebook had revealed more than 10 million users saw Russian-linked advertising, with 44% of it viewed before the election. 

However, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate last October that as many as 126 million people—roughly one-third of the U.S. population—had been exposed to posts from Russian accounts, thanks to the impact of seemingly organic user posts along with the ads. The following month, Facebook revealed the number was closer to 146 million.

During an interview with USA Today last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to stop election interference, but admitted that he did not know whether that would happen by November midterm elections. “We have a pretty good track record as a company of — once we set our mind to doing something — we eventually get it done.”

Research contact@brettmolina23.

Americans reject ‘fake news’ on energy from all sources but federal agencies

January 3, 2018

Americans across the political spectrum believe that U.S. federal agencies are the most credible source for energy information—somewhat more so than the news media and significantly more so than the White House or Congress—based on the findings of a poll of 1,000 adults released on December 28 by integrated communications firm Makovsky.

The report, entitled Trust, Credibility and America’s Energy Future, offers a look into what U.S. consumers thought about energy issues at the end of a year that saw the Trump administration withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, the repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, and ongoing issues (including earthquakes) surrounding hydraulic fracking and the approval of the controversial Keystone pipeline.

On the credibility issue, respondents were given a variety of choices, and U.S. government agencies and TV news channels and/or their websites were seen as the most credible information sources (22% and 20%, respectively); while the White House came in at 13% and Congress at 8%.

Millennials gave the highest credibility scores to federal agencies and TV news channels (33% and 24%, respectively). In fact, Millennials appear to be more trusting of information sources in genera— giving notably higher credibility scores compared to other generations surveyed.

Despite social media ranking among the top information sources, it was considered the least credible of the sources listed (7%). High use combined with low credibility may be driven by the passive nature of social media—as opposed to consumers actively seeking it out.

“These new results illustrate that Americans want reliable sources of information about energy issues, and the uncertainty of the past year has led them to put the most faith in federal agency policy makers and the news media,” said Makovsky Executive Vice President of Energy, Manufacturing and Sustainability Andy Beck.

Americans also viewed energy company communications with skepticism and distrust. When asked to identify the most informative energy company communications method, the top response (36%) was “none of the above” followed by websites (29%), Facebook (15%) and advertisements (7%).

Research contact: abeck@makovsky.com