New app encourages users to be nice, streamlined Facebook Page features and more

Plus: We avoid Instagram images that make us insecure, study says.

people gather in a circle while using their phones

The new No. 1 app on Apple’s App Store asks teens to give each other compliments through poll questions.

The Gas app is intended for people in the user’s high school, friends they add and “friends-of-friends.”

An example of a poll question is “most likely to be famous.”

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The service is free, but there are paid upgrades. Users can pay to see who gave them compliments or to hide their profile from others.

Why it matters: Gas looks promising as a new social network, but we have some general questions. Can a positive network be a better place young users will actively use? Will the social network introduce ads or additional paid options to the service? We’ll keep our eyes on what comes next here for businesses as the app gets a larger rollout.

How educators are fighting online misinformation

Educators are taking a proactive approach to find solutions to misinformation.

Recent McGraw Hill research showed that three in four college students now look to social media for study help.

But as the demand for educational content has grown, questions remain on how much information is accurate.

TikTok removed more than 113 million videos for violating guidelines in the second quarter of 2022, but less than one percent of those videos were banned for violating its integrity and authenticity guidelines that contain rules about misinformation.

So McGraw Hill and individual educators are proactively using online educational tools to provide accurate information to students.

McGraw Hill has found success with its Sharpen app that walks students through textbook material with videos that play in rapid succession and short quizzes that are rewarded with congratulatory screens.

“Around eight minutes they get a celebration screen, and then they get a five-to-eight-minute gamified quiz, which reinforces everything they’ve just learned,” said Justin Singh, chief transformation officer at McGraw Hill. “And just like TikTok or Instagram Reels, if they’re in the zone, they can just keep going.”

Sharpen is free in the Apple app store and includes lessons for 18 different courses, from anatomy and business to music, with 50 more slated to be added to the service.

Why it matters: Educators are doing some amazing things here and brands can learn lessons from their efforts. Social networks are continuing to change their algorithms to emphasize video. Communicators should take advantage by posting videos that explain their product/service/cause and directly answer questions from their audience on short-form media services where they are.

Newspaper readers more knowledgeable about international affairs, study says

New research from Morning Consult indicates that regular newspaper readers have a higher level of geopolitical knowledge.

In the survey, which was conducted Aug. 11-17 among more than 4,000 U.S. adults, less than one-third of all respondents were able to identify Germany, Ukraine or Iran on blank maps, despite heavy coverage of all three in recent months.

Newspaper readers were slightly more familiar with geography than their TV-watching peers: On average, 40% of regular readers of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post or foreign-based print outlets were able to find Germany, Iran or Ukraine on a map, compared with 33% of respondents who regularly watch ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS, or cable networks CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.

“College or no college is a factor that’s behind a lot of the major cleavages in American society right now; I’m not surprised that it’s affecting knowledge of international affairs,” said Elizabeth Saunders, associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, who studies the role of social elites in foreign policy.

Why it matters: When considering media targeting, it’s important to remember that print newspapers still can be a powerful tool for reaching specific audiences, especially in areas of international concern.

Facebook takes steps to streamline Pages for administrators

Facebook has rolled out a more streamlined Pages experience that they say is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses looking to build connections with customers.

Facebook has added a dashboard to allow users to switch between their business and personal profiles and manage their profiles more easily from the app’s top right menu icon.

Why it matters: Take advantage of the tools that Facebook gives you to enhance your page. Make sure your information is correct and up to date so potential customers can find you.

Chris Pugh is a staff writer for PR Daily. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Send story ideas to


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