Could Human Moderators and Algorithms Ban Hitler from Facebook?

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other big social media platforms are the “greatest propaganda machine in history.” The verdict has recently been rendered by Sacha Baron Cohen, an English actor and comedian, and amplified by both the traditional media and users of the “greatest propaganda machine.”

An excerpt from Sasha Baron Cohen’s speech, uploaded on YouTube by Guardian News on November 23, 2019.

Would Hitler buy Facebook ads?

Cohen who is mostly known for his satirical characters “Ali G,” “Borat” and “Brüno,” burst out against social media and Internet giants at the Anti-Defamation League summit in New York on November 21. Blaming major social media platforms for an upsurge in “hate crimes” and “murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities,” Cohen denounced algorithms these platforms use for favouring content that promotes “hate, conspiracies and lies.”

The comedian was particularly angry with Facebook for not vetting the political ads the platform ran. He claimed, “if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.” Cohen’s full remarks can be read here.

Cohen is best known for his satirical and often controversial fictitious characters, including Borat. Source: Giphy

The fix

So, how can we fix the increasingly powerful and pervasive social media? Cohen proposed a two-pronged solution: the US government should be more assertive in regulating social media sites, while the platforms should be more ferocious in policing content.

While some government regulation of tech giants is perhaps unavoidable, the second part of the strategy, content moderation by platforms, seems to be too ridden with technical and political issues to placate social media critics.

At the moment, social media sites appear to use two main mechanisms for user content moderation – human moderators and algorithms.

Imperfect humans

Over the last several years, social media companies have recruited tens of thousands of people around the world to screen and delete content that users flag as violent or offensive. How exactly these networks of human content moderators operate is shrouded in secrecy. What evidence is available, however, suggests that these moderators are undertrained and overstressed, while how they do their work is inconsistent, confusing and often illogical.

At a more fundamental level, users appear to have serious doubts about whether social media sites are capable of and should be entrusted to police what they post and share. A recent study by Pew Research Centre suggests that while 66% of adults in the United States believe social media sites should remove offensive content from their platforms, only 31% trust these sites in determining what exactly constitutes offensive content.

Besides, human moderators inadvertently allow their own biases to impact their work, and there is evidence of all kinds of biases displayed by content moderators.

Source: Giphy

Even less perfect algorithms

Social media platforms use increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms to detect and remove content that contains hate speech, violence, terrorist propaganda, nudity and spam.

The inherent problem with these algorithms, however, is that they lack contextual and situational awareness. In practice, this means that in determining whether certain content should be removed, algorithms cannot distinguish between nudity in Renaissance art and sexual activity, or violence in a movie and in a user-uploaded video. As a result, mess caused by algorithms in content moderation often requires the involvement of human moderators.

Besides, just like the human moderators that they are supposed to replace, algorithms have been shown to be biased against certain demographic groups.

Artificial intelligence algorithms so far remain ill-equipped for content moderation on social media. Source: Giphy

What’s next?

It looks like for the time being, social media companies will have to rely on a combination of human moderators and algorithms to vet and remove offensive content. After all, humans are trainable and algorithms can always be improved.

Do you think social media sites should be policing user content? Do you trust these sites in determining which content is offensive? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Do Algorithms and Echo Chambers Make Us Nasty?

I’ve recently read an interesting book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. Written by Jaron Lanier who was only a decade ago regarded as the “Silicon Valley digital-guru rock star,” the book presents a number of powerful arguments for quitting social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. While most of Lanier’ arguments sound too familiar to raise many eyebrows, he offers a very novel and illuminating analysis of the heavy toll that social media is taking on political debate and political activism.

Jaron Lanier talks about his book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Algorithms favour assholes

Lanier suggests that a strong trend towards negativity and polarization is hard-wired into the algorithms that make social media platforms so addictive. It is hard to disagree with this take if you follow political conversations on Twitter where particularly hateful and obnoxious posts tend to attract the most attention. As users flock to comment on and register their outrage about the nastiest posts, conversations gravitate towards the most extreme viewpoints.

Politicians and activists of all stripes adapt to the algorithm-dictated outrage-is-everything pattern by reframing their positions on controversial issues as Twitter-style statements in which there is no place for nuance. Bot and troll armies operated by malicious actors, then, drive the polarization even further by spreading misinformation. Social media users become increasingly confined to and influenced by opinions within their social media “echo chambers”. In the end, we end up losing our ability to see nuance and empathize with people outside our “echo chambers”. Or, in the words of Lanier, social media algorithms turn users into “assholes” and reward those who behave like ones.

Source: Giphy

Echo chambers?

But how exactly do otherwise nice individuals who greet their neighbours and support co-workers’ charity drives in their daily lives turn into “assholes” when discussing politics online? What Lanier’s otherwise very informative book leaves unclear is the mechanism that turns social media users into nasty human beings that troll other users and share offensive content.

The book offers only a partial explanation by suggesting that platform algorithms reward hateful and polarizing content. Many other authors, scholars and journalists have argued that the way social media platforms organize users into communities inevitably creates “echo chambers” which solidify and reproduce particular political opinions to the point where users become unwilling to give merit to or even tolerate opposing or more nuanced opinions. This is the view I used to gravitate towards, particularly after realizing that the list of people I followed on Twitter looked surprisingly similar to the list of people I agreed with.

Source: Giphy

The key assumption underlying the “echo chamber” argument is that long-lasting exposure to certain political views and insulation from opposing views drives political polarization. This assumption, however, has been questioned by a recent study conducted by a group of scholars of American politics. The authors surveyed a substantial group of Democrat and Republican Twitter users and had them follow accounts expressing opposing political views. When the respondents were re-surveyed after some time, the researchers found that instead of bringing the users closer to each other, exposure to opposing political views actually increased their polarization.

While this study refutes the core assumption behind the “echo chamber” argument, it does not leave me anywhere closer to understanding what exactly causes otherwise polite and well-behaved individuals to post and share insulting political content online.

Do you have an explanation? Have you read anything interesting that could help me find an explanation? If so, please let me know in the comments section below.

COMM0015 – Blog #1 – Maybe I should

Let’s be real honest here, I have not yet taken the habit of listening/monitoring social medias very seriously. Two reasons motivates this; 1 – At work there is a team dedicated to this and 2 – For my side business as a photographer, I am not currently looking for more work and can afford the luxury of choosing the assignments I want to take on, and, thanks to a permanent job within government, I am also fine with not having any.

Luckily for me, the photography industry is out there in almost every platforms and it remains fairly easy to stay on top of things by following my favorite photographers and gear manufacturer on Facebook and Instagram and still remain aware of what is going on in the industry, locally or internationally.

At work, my colleagues use the pro version of Hootsuite. I like how customizable, clean and precise it can be. It also allows them to work as a team to respond to comments and create engagement as well as schedule posts into the various platforms we use. Should I decide to become more serious I would probably use this system combined with various Google alerts

On Facebook, I get to see in a rawer version how other photographer use their creativity to market their services while I use Instagram to get inspired and monitor the trends in the techniques used by the photographers I follow.

While I prefer a more laid back approach, do not mistake this as a lack of interest or pure laziness on my end. I am very active on these two Social Medias and interact daily with my colleagues and friend in the industry.

The Ghosts of Social Media Networking Sites Past

The Ghosts of Social Media Networking Sites Past

Of course, there are the usual suspects. The “Big Three” as I like to call them. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But more often than not, social media sites seem to come and go almost as often as the seasons. One day, you’re hearing all about the newest and coolest social networking app or site, the next day it’s heading straight back to the Silicon Valley start-up it came from. I thought my blog post this week could be dedicated to a few major social media networking sites that are no longer around, but that still had a significant impact on the current social media landscape we now know.

First up, Google +. Google has consistently struggled with their attempt to create a rival for Facebook (looking at you Google Wave). They launched Google Plus in the summer of 2011. You could upload a profile photo, post status updates, include your work/family history, and follow your friends. Sounds familiar, right? Unlike Facebook, Google + proved to be not very user-friendly and provided nothing new and was met with limited interest from the general public. After it was announced that there was a serious software design flaw that put members private information at risk, the site saw a huge decline in their already dwindling members. Google + officially shut down on April 2, 2019.

Google + had such high hopes of being the rival to Facebook.

Up next, Vine. Vine was launched in 2013 after it had been acquired from it’s original developed by Twitter. Vine enabled users to be able to upload and share 6-second video clips on a loop. At it’s peak, Vine was the most downloaded free app. However, its success didn’t last very long. With new competitors like Instagram video and, most notably, Snapchat, Vine declined in popularity. By 2016, Vine was no more, but it left behind plenty of funny videos for us to peruse when we’re bored or nostalgic. This proves that is essential for social media apps to stay on top of trends to be at the top of the heap.

Last, but certainly not least, the social networking site that started it all. Myspace. Okay, okay. “Technically” speaking Myspace is still around and even has an office and employees and a mandate. However, it is not the Myspace we all once knew and loved. Who can forget streaming your favourite songs and picking your top 10 “best friends” for the week. What nostalgia.

Myspace brings back all the nostalgia for early 2000’s teens

What do you think makes a great social media networking site? What social media networking sites do you miss the most? What is your favourite one now? Leave your answers in the comments below!

What social media networking sites do you miss the most? Take a look at the “ghosts of social networking sites past” here:

The ghosts of social networking sites past. Which ones do you miss the most? #throwbackThursday #socialnetworking

This is why your brand needs a Facebook Group

Stockton Ink & Quill


When you start a website, it feels like there are a million things you need to do. You need to pick a domain name, you need to decide what you are going to write about, and almost as important, you need to start your websites social media pages.

I did all those things. I started my Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest pages and spent some time learning how to grow them. With a mixture of hard work and engaging with my audience, they are slowly growing.

Facebook felt different to me. It has seemed like an entity all to itself. It has its own rules and growth strategy. I hear all the time it was easier before to grow a following on it. I hear how hard it is to do nowadays. I see these pages with 100,000 followers and think I want to achieve that too. I hear so many “social media specialists’ say it’s impossible to grow anymore on the platform. I place social media specialists in quotation marks because when it comes to experts it’s hard to know sometimes who is an actual expert and who is trying to make a dollar. It seems like everyone has a “free” course they want you to buy into at the end. I think we have all listened to at least one. They spend 45 minutes telling you about how exciting the tips they are about to give you are, and 15 minutes selling you a course. Then they only spend about 5 minutes giving you some really general social media tips.

I have a Facebook Page that is growing very slowly but still growing. I do not have a Facebook Group and keep hearing people talk about how brands should have one. I thought it would be interesting to look at Facebook Groups and see how it can help a brand grow engagement, gain followers and grow brand awareness.


“Create a Facebook page for your brand or business.

Create a Facebook group for your cause or passion.” (Patel, 2017)


Before we start we need to briefly explain Facebook Pages. Facebook Pages are different than Facebook Groups. A Facebook Page is used to directly advertise your brand.  A page basically tells people what your brand is all about. It’s not about a community sharing information, but more about your brand telling your readers what you are selling and doing. Every brand should have a Facebook Page so people can ask questions and find information about your brand. It is not a place for the readers to necessarily engage with each other. That’s where Facebook Groups come in.

In this blog post will discuss what Facebook Groups are, how to set one up and how we can use them to help our brands grow.

Screenshot from NaNoWriMo Support & Engagement Facebook Group

Screenshot from NaNoWriMo Support & Engagement Facebook Group

Season of Savings-5

What is a Facebook Group?

The easiest way to think about it is Facebook Groups and communities center around a general idea or a theme. The group isn’t selling anything directly but just trying to encourage a certain community to communicate and find like-minded people. (Patel, 2017) For example, people who like pink cake. I haven’t checked but I’m sure that’s a group on there. I’m sure you could find a Facebook Group for people who support wearing caps only on Tuesdays while eating pink cake.

There are 28 different categories of groups: Home & Garden, Friends, Local, Identity & Relationships, Funny, Buy and Sell, Spiritual & Inspirational, News & Politics, Food, Cars & Motorcycles, Arts & Culture, Health & Fitness, Support & Comfort, Travel & Places, Style, Sports, Animal & Pets, Science & Tech, Parenting, Outdoor Activities, Photography, Neighborhood & Community, Professional Networking, Business, School & Education, Hobby & Leisure, Trending and Games. (Patel, 2017)

Most Facebook Groups can either be open to everyone or closed. If they are open, you simply decide if you want to join and join. With closed groups, you have to request to join. This is usually done through answering a few questions the admin has previously set up. You can also be invited to the groups by the admin or existing members as well. There is one more type of group called a Secret group and with this group only members can see that the group exists. If you are trying to spread brand awareness a secret group is probably not the best option for you.

Screenshot From Ottawa Nanowrimo writing group. Part of their guideline.

Screenshot From Ottawa Nanowrimo writing Facebook group. Part of their guideline.

Most groups will have guidelines. (Patel, 2017) These help the groups run smoothly. Especially when it comes to blogging groups, with no rules people tend to leave the link of their newest blog post and leave. It’s a take but not give way of being in the group. This doesn’t help the group grow and generally doesn’t bring much engagement. If everyone is just simply dropping links and leaving, then no one is interacting. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Groups that have well-set guidelines run much more smoothly. These guidelines will give the group member the information they need to know what they are allowed to promote, what they aren’t allowed to promote, how to treat each other, and what is expected of them. (Patel, 2017) Many of the rules are simply common sense. People need to be nice to each other, don’t swear, no hate speech, and be kind. The admins of most groups will usually make new group members read the rules before they join, will have group members comment they agree to the rules and some will pin the guidelines at the top of the page to ensure group members see them. (Patel, 2017)

What’s your favourite Facebook group? Let us know in the comments.

Season of Savings-6

How do you start a Facebook Group?

  1. Click the menu button on Facebook. It’s the drop-down button on the top left if you are using the desktop version of Facebook. (Patel, 2017)
  2. Click Create Group.
  3. Choose if you are making a Business and Brand Page or a Community and Public Figure page.
  4. Follow the instructions to name your group, add some people to the group and decide if you want to have a closed group, an open group or a secret group. I would recommend setting it as a closed group to help screen our bots and spam accounts that will try to join. (Patel, 2017) I would also recommend waiting to add people until you have completely set up your group. You do not want people joining an empty group. You want the first time they see the group, for it to be full things that will interest them. You do have to add one person to create the group though so I would add your partner or a friend. The name of the group you pick should be “creative, but also clear” (Patel, 2017)  because you want people to think your group is different but still know what the group is about.  Now click the create button to create the group.
  5. Now you need to spruce the page up a bit. You need to upload a cover photo, and add a description to the group to tell people what the group is all about. You want to add tags to help people find your group. Lastly, you want to create content for people to see when they get to the page. (Patel, 2017). You can write a post, share some posts from other pages or groups, and write those rules we spoke about earlier.
  6. Once the group is created, make sure you post regular and engaging content. (Lozano, 2018)

Do you run a Facebook group? How has it been for you? Do you enjoy it?

Season of Savings-7

How can you use Facebook groups to help grow your brand?


“Research from Facebook shows that groups are seeing a lot more engagement than Pages. This is because Facebook groups enable members to start conversations more seamlessly than a Facebook Page does…” (Lozano, 2018)


One of the reasons I think Facebook Groups can connect you more with your clients is it’s more of a two-way conversation. (Lozano, 2018) Sometimes Facebook Pages can feel, as the reader, that you are being talked too and not a conversation. Yes, the reader can message you any questions they may have but it’s not designed for a flowing conversation. That is especially true when you talk about conversations between people who follow your page. For example, if you run a website selling teeshirts, on a Page you would post a picture of your new product and a few people may click the like button. On a Facebook Group, you can post that same link to your new product and people might discuss how great it is. Followers will see others loving the teeshirt and will think if others like it, then they should too. They will then purchase it. You weren’t directly selling the product but have made a sale you might not have made on just a Facebook Page for your brand.

People love being part of groups. They love to feel special and love having “a sense of exclusiveness” (Lozano, 2018). Having a closed Facebook Group gives people that feeling. They feel like they belong to something. When people are loyal to a group, they can be more loyal to your associated brand as well. They will be more likely to share your content and tell people about your products.

It is said that Facebook Groups can see a higher level of engagement than Facebook Pages (Lozano, 2018). If your posts are getting higher engagement levels the Facebook Algorithm may move the post higher in people’s newsfeeds. (Lozano, 2018) This will help more people see the post and encourage more engagement. You can engage with your followers by doing polls, question and answers, and tutorials. (Cannon, 2017) It’s also a fantastic way to help you find out what your followers are looking for. If someone has joined your group, they are already interested in what you are talking about. Ask them questions, talk to them, they are a willing focus group to improve your brand.

Season of Savings-8

When you create your own group, it will help you establish authority over your market or niche. (Cannon, 2017) If your group grows and has numerous followers, new people will see the size of the group and think if all these people joined and stayed in the group, they must trust this brand.

Someone times people wonder how they can have a group about a general topic but still be focused on their brand. Let’s assume you have a Hawaiian Tee-shirt company, and you sell Hawaiian Shirts. You have create a group called “Hawaiian Shirt Lovers!” and people join on the basis they too love the vibrant prints of the style. You can post lots of different Hawaiian shirts and especially include your own. You can post article about things that make certain shirts better than other. Specifically showcasing things that your shirts have. If your shirts are relatively inexpensive, you can post articles about why people shouldn’t pay a lot for them. If your shirts are high end, you can post articles about why it’s worth to pay more for your clothing. Sometimes on brand pages it feels like the brand is just trying to sell you something. They are of course but it shouldn’t feel like that. With Facebook Groups, you can creatively recommend products and services to your followers instead of the hard sell to them. Help them know why they need the product or service in general and set up the ground work for them buying shirts (in the above example) like yours. You just happen to also know a great place for them to do just that and have exactly what they are looking for.

People need to see that your brand is part of their community. It doesn’t matter what community it is, they want to feel like you care about them. You are another fan who geeks out on what they geek out on. They do not want to feel like your brand thinks they are a dollar sign and Facebook Groups can really help with forming good relationships. It lets the readers and clients know you are part of their community by engaging with them on the topic they love. It’s a great way for you to organically show your readers things that are happening in the industry that favour your brand, it gives the readers a sense of community they love, and it makes your brand look way more approachable. Your brand needs a Facebook Group and there a plenty of potential and existing clients ready to join it.

Do you like Facebook Groups? Do you think they can help a brand? What’s some great examples of Facebook Groups you know of? What do you think makes a great group? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.


img_0036-3 Do you know why you brand needs a Facebook Page? Find out at #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia

image Do you want more awareness for your brand? Find out why your brand needs a Facebook group at #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia




Cannon, T. (2017, 07 2017). How to Use Facebook Groups for Business: A Guide for Marketers. Retrieved from Socail Media Examiner:

Lozano, D. (2018, 09 30). How to Use Facebook Groups for Your Brand or Business. Retrieved from Social Media Today:

Patel, N. (2017). How to Create an 11,284-Member Facebook Group When You Have No Followers. Retrieved from Neil Patel:

Fear and Loathing in Las Blogas

Fear and Loathing in Las Blogas

For those of you, who like me, are new to the world of blogging, you might also feel like the only people you are blogging for are your mother and your best friend. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Far from it. In fact, many, many successful bloggers have written about how to persevere with your blog when you don’t have an audience. Below is the digest of my research and how I plan to overcome my frustration of writing for no one – YET.

Promotion, promotion, promotion!

I have learned in these last few weeks through a lot of reading and listening to experts, and also through this course the value of promoting your content. Sonia Simone from CopyBlogger writes “until you build an audience that’s interested in what you are doing, you have to promote your content.”

In other words, you shouldn’t just wait for people to find your content. You should invite them to see it.

A little further in Sonia’s article, she writes, “waiting for social sharing to ‘just happen’ is like waiting for search engines to ‘just rank you’. You may be waiting for a long, long time. Until you are well established, you’ll want to get in there and give your content a good push.”

She suggests that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a great start for content promotion. I’d like to throw Twitter into that mix.

The flip side of not having an audience

You may think “how could I possibly benefit from not having an audience?” After all, the point is to gather some steady followers who enjoy what you have to offer and engage with them as often as you can so you can stay psyched to keep on creating and publishing, right?

Kali Roberge from Creative Advisor Marketing serves up 4 fresh perspectives on how not having a strong following can benefit you here. I am especially fond of number 4!

“Don’t be discouraged by a slow start. It offers the time and testing you need to lay the right foundation for success.” – Michael Hyatt

A few words about fear

The fear of publishing is real. I’ve been there and I have the tee-shirt in a few colours and sizes. Whether it’s not knowing exactly what it is that you want to write about, the fear of failure or just plain social anxiety, Mike Brown from The Blogging Buddha has you covered here.

He touches a bit on those aforementioned issues and suggests a few strategies to overcome them in a very down-to-earth way.

These posts that I have listed above are definitely ones that I will be revisiting in the future to boost up my confidence level. I hope you will too.

Here are a couple of other noteworthy resources to visit if you are a blogging novice and feeling shaky or you simply want to learn more:

  • Medium (they have an app too!)

Hopefully after reading this blog post, you went from feeling like this:


To feeling like this:


If you had a magic wand that with one wave could solve your biggest social media woe, what would you wave it for?

Tired of blogging for an audience of your mother? Head down here for some pointers on alleviating some of the most common blogging woes.

Got the blogging blues? You’re not alone. Pick yourself up here:


It all started with Cotton candy grapes. Yes: Cotton. Candy. Grapes. They even have their own hashtag! From Wikipedia: Cotton Candy grapes are a variety of grapes produced in California by Grapery, which became available for consumers to buy in 2011.

These Cotton Candy grapes are from Spain. Photo by me

I didn’t know about them until my wife told me about them a few months ago, but at that time we hadn’t had the chance to get some. They were all gone.

And that’s probably why Costco has them from time to time. They must have done their homework and found that there was hype around them. Or at the very least you figure it out pretty quickly when they fly off the shelf quickly. It’s simply supply and demand.

They are available!!

My wife is on a closed local Facebook Fan group and this morning someone posted that the grapes were available. What followed is an impressive trail of comments and interaction. I found that interesting to witness the power of loyalty and marketing through social media. And that is without Costco having to do anything! Because the post was inside a closed group, Costco probably doesn’t even get stats/metrics on this! Genius.

Screenshot of the post in the closed local Costco facebook group

After a quick research I found out that the grapes had their own hashtag in twitter, many article in Facebook and are easy to find on Google.

Through their team of buyers that does market research, social media team listening and the supply and demand numbers, they must have an incredible amount of data to rely on and determine if they want to bring them back the next year or so. And that, for each individual product!

Obviously not every product has a hype over them, but my question for them would be: “Would Costco pay someone from the public, that brings them tips about a hype in a specific local group, online or offline, allowing them to strategize accordingly?” Like a freelance headhunters would go on to find individuals to fit in specific position in a company for a small commission, maybe? You would become a “Freelance social media listener”. I doubt they would, but maybe we should develop an app for that!

All that to say that after my wife jumped in the wagon, we managed to taste some tonight! They do smell and taste like cotton candy and, both my kids asked to get some in their lunch the next day! Have you tasted them yet?


facebook Did you know that Cotton Candy Grapes existed?

twitter How I found out about #Cottoncandygrapes

Help! My 11 year old son created a Facebook account!

My 11 year old son had battery issues with his iPhone and asked if I could look into it for him. After a hard reset, his phone was charging again. Lately, he had been complaining that a few apps were “glitching” (is this a verb?) so this was the perfect opportunity to perform some maintenance and update his phone to IOS 12 (released Sept 17th).

In the process, I had to reset his Apple ID Password and when I looked at his emails, something caught my attention; there was an email from Facebook with a confirmation number.

On Saturday, my son had used Safari to create his Facebook account.

IMG_9148 copy

The email confirming my son’s Facebook account. (He speaks french)

And now what?

At first I was upset. I thought that he would have talked to us about it before taking such initiative.

Luckily for him, we had a full day to think about our strategy before meeting with him. That allowed some time to reflect on our parental responsibilities and do some research. In a way, this was our chance to open dialog further; about trust and use of social medias.

At this time we are not really worried about our son being bullied online. Our main concerns is his maturity and ability to deal with the overwhelming influences thrown at him, not to mention predators that might be on the hunt. If and when he creates a Social Media account, we’ll be there to coach him and answer any questions he might have. If he creates his accounts without us knowing, he might not reach out when it matters the most, and that can be scary.

What Facebook says

A quick search in facebook terms of Service shows that Facebook’s minimum age requirement is 13 years old.

“Creating an account with false info is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13.”

(It’s the same for Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and many more).

What internet says

I went on and did my own research and managed to find many articles that would speak about that topic. Here’s two:

This CNN Article states:

“A 2011 Consumer Reports survey found 7.5 million people younger than 13 use the site”.

“But here’s the most important issue: There is absolutely no proof of any meaningful social or educational value of Facebook for children under 13. Indeed, there are very legitimate concerns about privacy as well as the impact on the social, emotional and cognitive development of children. What Facebook is proposing is similar to the strategies used by Big Tobacco in appealing to young people — try to hook kids early, build your brand, and you have a customer for life.”

The Huffington Post talk about 3 reasons why social media age restrictions matter.

  1.  Children’s Personal Information is at risk.
  2. Children under 13 don’t have the hardware upstairs to make smart decisions online.
  3. Lying is just plain wrong.

PEXELS - boys-cellphones-children-159395

Photo from

What my son said:

Fast-forward to that evening, me and my wife sat down with him to discuss our findings. His first reaction was pretty simple. He was really minimizing his actions saying it was only for the purpose of getting skins to use in Minecraft, a game he really likes. He had seen videos from a “Youtuber” that would encourage people to like his page to get extra skins for the game.

He even went on saying he shared no personal information and that he did not contact anyone. For him, it was no big deal.

What we (his parents) said:

First we reminded him that trust is the most valuable thing he might have and that he should be careful and talk to us before taking such initiatives.

We then explained to him our concerns (see above) and that we did not agree with him having a Facebook account before the age of 13. We told him that when the time would come we would do this together so that he would have a good basic understanding of the do’s and don’ts and the potential risks.  We also set a few rules, including charging his phone outside of his bedroom at night and never to share sensitive information like our address or the door code for example. We insisted that should he end up in an uncomfortable/weird/dangerous situation, we would always be there for him. Lastly we made clear that regardless of the App, he should only entertain a conversation with people he knows in real life.


My kids enjoying the ride.

Here is a few more articles I found that relates to Teenagers and the use of Social Medias:

Tips for Safe Social Networking for Teens

My Teen’s Social Media Contract

Should Your Child Have a Social Media Account?

How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Facebook

I would really like to hear your positive stories about introducing kids to Social Medias. Would you have dealt with this situation differently?



Facebook Logo HELP! My 11 year old son created a Facebook account!

Twitter Symbol My son, 11, created his own Facebook account. What do I do?

True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook

Growing up I had always dreamt of wearing the uniform. Later I developed a passion for photography. Upon graduating college, I scored my ultimate dream job: I was a military photographer.

I had been working up the ranks in the military for about 10 years and my next promotion meant that I would need to move and become a manager. That also meant I would not do what I enjoyed the most in my job anymore; taking pictures. Our family was now well established in Gatineau/Ottawa and we had no desire to move. Conclusion: I had to transition to civilian life and find myself a job. Easier said than done in my field.

Sgt Serge Gouin

Portrait of myself before I retired. Photo credit: DND

I started my process by taking a course offered by the military called “career transition workshop”. They taught us how to build our resume, use our network and how to explore the hidden job market.

Our instructor was fantastic. The one thing he told us that struck me the most was about using our network:

“The biggest mistake people tend to do is hiding that they are looking for a job, by fear of having their current employer finding out or to have opportunities taken away from you by a friend or colleagues also looking out”.

I decided I would give Facebook a try and publish a post with my intentions. I wanted to do it in a manner that would open the discussion, be respectful and most of all would not break the relationship I had with my employer in case I would change my mind or the process would take a while.

Screen Shot Facebook

Screen capture from my Facebook post to activate my network

I was nervous and excited at the same time to reveal this news to the world. It really felt like a coming out.

At first, people were curious and asked questions, which is totally normal. Then about a day later, I received a private message from a friend I had gone to photography school with. I had not seen/talked to for almost 10 years! She was going on maternity leave and said she could get me in touch with her manager to see if I could take over her spot while she was away. Perfect timing! Awesome!

Two interviews and a security clearance process later, I finally retired from the stability of a 20 year contract for a 9 month adventure in a temporary position. I was committed to this transition and even if that was a huge risk on my end, this was the first step in the direction I wanted to be going. A few months later they posted my dream job internally and as a temporary employee, I was allowed to apply for it. I landed my second permanent photographer’s position of my career within the federal government, but this time as a civilian. This meant no more moves or promotion, unless I apply for them, and I would still be taking pictures in a federal government organization.

That was exactly what our teacher had told us. Not all job are posted and this one was definitely hidden. Obviously, there is a lot more than Facebook involved in this process, but to this day I still feel that it was the one thing that made it all work.

Taking a selfie during the North American Leaders' Summit (NALS)

Photo by Chris Roussakis

Since then Facebook now has a job search feature that might help, but the real power of Facebook comes from your network.

What would your dream job be? What kind of risk would you be ready to face to get it?



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COM0014 – Blog 4 – B2C Case Study

It is pretty much a given these days that large corporations have embraced using social media platforms to engage with their audiences. They also have entire departments that are tasked with running their social media campaigns, and are ready to interact with anyone at any time of day.  But what about small, local businesses.  Local businesses have it harder as they don’t have huge marketing budgets, and unless they are situated in an area with a lot of walk-by traffic, they need to find other ways to attract new business.  When talking about small businesses engaging their customers, I like to use my… or I should say my dogs’ vet clinic, the Newmarket Animal Hospital as an example.

There are a lot of veterinary clinics in Newmarket, Ontario… we’re crazy about our pets here.  The Newmarket Animal Hospital has taken to Facebook to engage with their audience.  They do a good job of posting fairly regularly with a good balance of posts about general pet care, and their services.  In February for pet dental health month they made posts about keeping your pet’s teeth clean, and had a promotion for discount oral health checkups.  This works well as their current clients can share these posts with their own networks and groups as word of mouth advertising.

During their regular business hours, they are very quick to respond to feedback, questions that arise from their posts, and feedback in the reviews section.  An incident occurred a while back where a dissatisfied customer left a very negative review; the person in charge of the social media account was quick to share their side of the story, without pointing fingers.  They even had other clients come to their defense because of their good reputation in the community.

For the most part, the Newmarket Animal Hospital does a decent job with the way they are using their chosen social media outlet; they respond quickly, in a sincere way that everyone appreciates.  They could however be posting a little more frequently, even if it is just picture of their clients… who doesn’t like seeing pictures of adorable pets?