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World leaders on Facebook

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook with 43.2 million followers, almost twice as many as Donald Trump who is in second place with 23.1 million followers, according to the “World Leaders on Facebook” study.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook with 43.2 million followers, almost twice as many as Donald Trump who is in second place with 23.1 million followers, according to the “World Leaders on Facebook” study.

As of March 15, 2018, Queen Rania of Jordan is in third place with 16 million followers, ahead of the institutional page of the Indian Premier, @PMOIndia, with 13.9 million followers. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has shot into fifth position of the most followed world leaders, with 9.6 million followers and a growth rate of 48 percent.

The study analyzes the activity of 650 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers from January 1, 2017 using aggregate data from Facebook’s Crowdtangle tool.

Over the past 14 months, the Facebook page of President Trump had by far the most interactions of any world leader on Facebook, with a total of 204.9 million interactions (defined as the total number of comments, likes and shares), almost twice as many as Narendra Modi with 113.6 million interactions. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has 46 million interactions and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri follow with 36 and 33.4 million interactions, respectively.

The World Leaders on Facebook study found that 175, or 91 percent, of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states maintain an official Facebook page. In addition, 109 heads of state, 86 heads of government and 72 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform.

“Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s World Leaders on Facebook study is the premier work on how governments use the platform for political communications,” said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, Burson Cohn & Wolfe. “It is clear that world leaders are increasingly using social media to communicate directly with their constituents and platforms like Facebook to bring a personal, humanizing tone to their communications.”

Facebook has become the key platform for world leaders and governments to engage with voters, supporters and citizens. As of March 15, 2018, all pages of world leaders combined had a total of 309.4 million followers. Since January 1, 2017, they have published a total of 536,644 posts which have garnered close to 900 million interactions.

The findings revealed that, while more than half of the posts have photos, world leaders are increasingly sharing videos and a handful are going live to talk directly to their constituents. Posts with videos attracted by far the most interactions: 2,615 on average, compared to 1,750 for photo posts, with Facebook Live videos garnering on average 4,489 interactions. The 91,266 Facebook videos posted on world leaders’ pages have been viewed 5.4 billion times with an average view count of 70,790 per video.

Other key findings include:

–       The Facebook page of the government of Botswana is the busiest, with an average of 35 posts per day since January 1, 2017. The governments of Ethiopia and the presidency of Ghana are not far behind, with 28 and 21 posts per day, respectively.

–       The White House is the page most followed by peers, with 28 peer connections. It is followed by the European Commission with 24 peer connections and the U.S. State Department with 20.

–       Other pages followed by world leaders include the United Nations (liked by 45), the European Parliament and the archived Obama White House page (each liked by 26) and NATO (liked by 19).

–       The Russian Foreign Ministry has made the most diplomatic overtures on Facebook, liking 97 other peer pages including the personal page of Donald Trump which is also only liked by one other leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica.

–       The governments of only 18 countries have not yet set up a presence on Facebook, including China, North Korea and Turkmenistan, however a Facebook page was set up for the Chinese State Council Information Office @ChinaSCIO which has only 175 likes.

–       The most visited institution is The White House, with just under 5.2 million check-ins, followed by the Ugandan State House with 225,991 and 10 Downing Street with more than 190,000 check-ins.

–       More than 60 percent of all World Leaders’ Facebook pages allow fans to contact the page privately using Facebook Messenger. Half of the 390 pages open to messages typically reply within a day or even within minutes using Facebook chatbots and automated replies.

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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