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Social media is a vital tool for content marketing, reaching consumers, and market analysis for both corporate juggernauts and small businesses. With massive amounts of user-driven data generated daily, social media provides an invaluable trove of information. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enhancing companies’ ability to reach customers and understand their target market. As major social media platforms refine their algorithms, controversy has arisen over AI’s power to promote problematic content. However, despite concerns over AI’s influence, these tools are here to stay. For jobseekers with advanced computer science skills, these technologies are generating lucrative career options in a fast-paced, innovative field. The advent of new AI-based tools has created countless opportunities for tech-savvy companies to stay ahead of the curve, but organizations that fail to adapt will fall behind competitors. In the brave new world of the social media era, AI strategies will be critical to long-term success.

AI and Major Social Media Platforms: Issues and Innovation

The rise of misinformation on social media has profound social implications, and many experts are pointing the finger at social media platforms’ AI-based algorithms. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal amplified concerns that its algorithms were promoting false information and hate speech.1 The main issue with Facebook’s AI is algorithms that tailor content to user interests, which critics say generates harmful echo chambers of misinformation that drive extremism and polarization. The key to Facebook’s AI lies in its propensity to promote content likely to outrage and fuel maximum engagement. These algorithms lack safeguards against false and provocative information. Maximizing engagement comes with a price. An internal presentation from 2016 revealed Facebook’s acknowledgment that 64 percent of extremist group joins are a result of the platform’s recommendation tools.1 Further internal research confirmed the link between maximizing engagement and increasing polarization.

TikTok has also grappled with its own algorithm’s problems. AI researcher Marc Faddoul suggests that the platform’s recommendation system may perpetuate racial bias by showing users similar-looking people to those in past videos they’ve watched.2 According to Faddoul, this results in a “filter bubble” that prevents users from being exposed to diverse content creators.5 Because TikTok’s most-followed creators are predominantly white, this system inherently disadvantages people of color. Essentially, getting recommended to users is harder for creators from underrepresented groups simply because there are fewer established creators who look like them.5On the other hand, major platforms like Instagram are making progress in AI-based content moderation. AI has gained ground in analyzing language for offensiveness and abuse, but some human input is still necessary. Instagram has combined these approaches by asking users if they’re sure they want to post after AI flags potentially offensive content.3 The platform previously launched an AI-driven filter that hides abusive comments, and it continues to refine these filters based on larger datasets.

AI and Your Social Media Strategy

AI tools are increasingly valuable to any company that uses social media marketing. These technologies serve a wide variety of purposes, including creating posts, determining the best content, analyzing brand presence, and lowering costs.4 By automating labor-intensive tasks like scheduling and uploading, identifying important hashtags, and collecting research, AI can save your team time and money. AI can also drastically improve content effectiveness and boost engagement by analyzing large datasets for patterns. These insights include data from audience preferences to content performance.

One significant advantage of AI is the ability to produce social media content. These advanced social media tools use past data to identify what kind of content works the best, increasing many different performance metrics. New AI can help craft a unique brand message suited for each platform, such as Facebook or Instagram. In fact, AI tools with language-processing capabilities can even write social media content independent of user input.

With these impactful applications, companies looking to maintain a cutting-edge social media strategy should look to AI. Businesses taking advantage of AI are seeking employees with strong technology skills, so this field will produce many job openings over the next decade. From 2015 to 2019, machine learning engineer jobs increased 322 percent, and experts anticipate this trend will continue.6 Workers with the appropriate background looking to contribute to a rapidly shifting sector should consider pursuing a career in social media AI. As AI tools gain popularity, businesses that fail to implement these innovative technologies will struggle with social media relevance.

AI’s Social Revolution

Once viewed as a fringe technology, artificial intelligence is now the backbone of major social media platforms. Despite content curation controversies, AI remains the driving factor behind boosting engagement. Alongside fueling the popularity of Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, AI offers countless advantages to businesses looking to revamp their own social media presence. New technologies allow organizations to automate their brand voice, identify social media influencers, detect consumer trends, and more. For those looking to stay ahead of the social media curve, adopting practical AI tools is a must.

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