Saturday

Anti-Maskers' Viral Video: SMC 1(15)

 

Social Media Communication News: Real-Time Classroom Discussion Starters

Florida Target Anti-Mask Viral Parade

A Florida Target store was the site of a vocal anti-mask parade in defiance of Broward County law, USA Today reported. The group of about 15 marchers without masks is connected to an earlier July 4 beach protest. The Target event attracted national attention in a viral video that used the Twisted Sister 1984 hit "We're Not Gonna Take It." Twisted Sister band leader Dee Snider (@deesnider) responded to a viral video of the parade by tweeting: “No...these selfish assholes do not have my permission or blessing to use my song for their moronic cause. #cuttheshit.” 

The Miami Herald called the event a “flash mob storm,” and counted 10 to 15 protesters. The event was planned earlier in the week and promoted on social media channels, as some complained about store rules requiring customers to wear masks as a way to limit the spread of Covid-19. A Target spokesperson told Fox Business that, “We’re aware of the group of guests who came into the store… and we asked them to leave after they removed their masks and became disruptive and rude to other shoppers.”

Broward County officials enforced a mask law by fining Target and issuing $100 fines to the protesters for not wearing masks in a public space, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Florida counties passed various laws during the pandemic. In this county, facial coverings were required in all public spaces outside of private homes. Civil and criminal charges included fines up to $1,000, or $15,000 for “intentional and irreparable violations.” A business could be forced to close for 24 hours.

“Our priority remains the health and safety of our team and guests,” Target Spokeswoman Danielle Schumann said. Target complied with the law by asking protesters to leave “after they removed their masks and became disruptive and rude to other shoppers.”

As a free speech issue, the protesters could have chosen to select a public park or street for their protest, but they still would have been in violation of Florida law by not wearing a mask. Organizers suggested that they were exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out against the public policies.

Question: Given the thousands of deaths caused by the spread of Covid-19, did Target corporate headquarters miss an ethical moment to speak out in favor of facts and science?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • "The author of proposed Australian laws to make Facebook and Google pay for journalism said Thursday his draft legislation will be altered to allay some of the digital giants’ concerns, but remain fundamentally unchanged," the Associated Press reported.

  • "The Trump administration will ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday night, a move that will block Americans from downloading the Chinese-owned platforms over concerns they pose a national security threat," Reuters reported.

  •  Facebook is taking "steps to prevent" the "spread of false information ahead of the election," CBSN Bay Area reports.

ICYMI: Social Media Bans and the First Amendment

The violence following a Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting brought focus on anti-government groups that use encryption and social media messaging to organize extremist speech. Some extremist political movements have used large private Facebook groups. When the social media company banned some of these, they migrated to other platforms and returned to Facebook by using "innocuous sounding names," the Associated Press reports.

A computer science profess quoted in the new story suggested that social media are too large to police with relatively small company resources used in the content regulation efforts. Social media sites are slow to respond in the fight against hate groups.

Meanwhile, new public opinion data suggest that there is a growing partisan political divide over fundamental U.S. First Amendment rights, including peaceful protest. Significantly, Republicans who support that, "people are free to peacefully protest," appear to be declining since 2018, while Democrats are unchanged, the Pew Research Center reports. Larger percentages of Democrats are closer to the U.S. Supreme Court case law precedent that limits government censorship and attempts to stop legal protests.

PBS NewsHour reported that spontaneous protests driven by social media use make it difficult for police to ban militia groups from real-time activism.

Question: Why or why not do you support that right of peaceful protest? Why or why not should Facebook be allowed to ban free speech that advocates violence?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Social Media Bans: SMC 1(14)

Social Media Communication in the News: Real-Time Classroom Discussion Starters

Social Media Bans and the First Amendment

The violence following a Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting brought focus on anti-government groups that use encryption and social media messaging to organize extremist speech. Some extremist political movements have used large private Facebook groups. When the social media company banned some of these, they migrated to other platforms and returned to Facebook by using "innocuous sounding names," the Associated Press reports.

A computer science profess quoted in the new story suggested that social media are too large to police with relatively small company resources used in the content regulation efforts. Social media sites are slow to respond in the fight against hate groups.

Meanwhile, new public opinion data suggest that there is a growing partisan political divide over fundamental U.S. First Amendment rights, including peaceful protest. Significantly, Republicans who support that, "people are free to peacefully protest," appear to be declining since 2018, while Democrats are unchanged, the Pew Research Center reports. Larger percentages of Democrats are closer to the U.S. Supreme Court case law precedent that limits government censorship and attempts to stop legal protests.

PBS NewsHour reported that spontaneous protests driven by social media use make it difficult for police to ban militia groups from real-time activism.

Question: Why or why not do you support that right of peaceful protest? Why or why not should Facebook be allowed to ban free speech that advocates violence?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • The sale of U.S. TikTok operations was complicated by Chinese export restrictions over artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. News reports suggested that China responded to President Donald Trump's order to sell by September 20 or be closed.
  • Australian publishers could be blocked by Facebook after the country moved to require payment for content. It was not clear how much Facebook could be forced to pay, and the social media giant seems willing to instead filter content on the news feed.
  • A tweet announcing the death of actor Chadwick Boseman became the most liked ever on the site, CNN reported. "Most liked Tweet ever. A tribute fit for a King. #WakandaForever."

ICYMI: Facebook Pivots To Labels and Simplicty
The #Election2020, #Covid-19 and calls for criminal justice reform have marked social and economic upheaval this year. In this context, social media giant Facebook is among sites fighting back against misinformation and disinformation with new labels. The Associated Press reported this week that U.S. posts about voting may be followed by "an addendum to their messages -- labels directing readers to authoritative information about the upcoming presidential election." Voting by mail has become a hotly contested policy issue within social media spaces. Facebook also is banning "implicit hate speech," blackface posts and anti-Semitic use of "stereotypes," Business Insider reported. Civil rights groups have claimed that Facebook is a platform for "the spread of hate speech and misinformation."
 
At the same time, Facebook has announced that more than 1,000 targeted advertising tool options are being removed to simplify paid and promoted posts, Social Media Today reported: "As part of our latest efforts to simplify and streamline our targeting options, we’ve identified cases where advertisers - of all sizes and industries - rarely use various targeting options. Infrequent use may be because some of the targeting options are redundant with others or because they’re too granular to really be useful. So we’re removing some of these options."

On yet another front, Facebook said that Covid-19 made it more difficult this year to remove harmful content. The AP reported that, "Sending its content moderators to work from home in March amid the pandemic led the company to remove less harmful material from Facebook and Instagram around suicide, self-injury, child nudity and sexual exploitation."Facebook used more content and less technology to monitor posts.

Question: How could Facebook improve its news feed to better meet your needs as a user during this election year and global pandemic?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Thursday

Facebook Pivots: SMC 1(13)

 

Social Media Communication in the News: Real-Time Classroom Discussion Starters

Facebook Pivots To Labels and Simplicty
The #Election2020, #Covid-19 and calls for criminal justice reform have marked social and economic upheaval this year. In this context, social media giant Facebook is among sites fighting back against misinformation and disinformation with new labels. The Associated Press reported this week that U.S. posts about voting may be followed by "an addendum to their messages -- labels directing readers to authoritative information about the upcoming presidential election." Voting by mail has become a hotly contested policy issue within social media spaces. Facebook also is banning "implicit hate speech," blackface posts and anti-Semitic use of "stereotypes," Business Insider reported. Civil rights groups have claimed that Facebook is a platform for "the spread of hate speech and misinformation."
 
At the same time, Facebook has announced that more than 1,000 targeted advertising tool options are being removed to simplify paid and promoted posts, Social Media Today reported: "As part of our latest efforts to simplify and streamline our targeting options, we’ve identified cases where advertisers - of all sizes and industries - rarely use various targeting options. Infrequent use may be because some of the targeting options are redundant with others or because they’re too granular to really be useful. So we’re removing some of these options."

On yet another front, Facebook said that Covid-19 made it more difficult this year to remove harmful content. The AP reported that, "Sending its content moderators to work from home in March amid the pandemic led the company to remove less harmful material from Facebook and Instagram around suicide, self-injury, child nudity and sexual exploitation."Facebook used more content and less technology to monitor posts.

Question: How could Facebook improve its news feed to better meet your needs as a user during this election year and global pandemic?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • Twitter will allow users to limit tweet replies to followers and mentions, Social Media Today reported.
  •  QAnon groups have millions of members on Facebook, an audit revealed,
  • An Executive Order by President Trump claims TikTok poses a national security and U.S. economic threat.
ICYMI:House Would Ban Federal Employee Use of TikTok
The Politico Morning Tech newsletter reports that some Democrats and Republicans in Washington are moving forward with efforts to curtail the influence of TikTok, which is owned by a company in China: "Lawmakers will this week consider a proposed defense bill amendment that would bar government workers from using the video sharing app."

Meanwhile, some TikTok users developed fake "safety calls" to play if they become worried about a meet-up, Mashable reports. "In one, TikTok user donteatmycheeseburger reminds the viewer to charge their phone, noting that they downloaded a location sharing app," the story explained. "In another, TikTok user graciddy pretends to be annoyed at the viewer for running late" and "pretends that she can see their location." The safety calls also may suggest that someone will be waiting for them when they arrive at a location. Men also have said they find themselves in unsafe situations.

The original video concept has been adapted by TikTok users in other places. Personal safety has been added to previous efforts during the global Covid-19 pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter and "civil unrest."

Question: What other ways could social media communication posts be created and used to help people fearing personal harm? How do you see users practicing social good on your news feed?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Monday

Feds Propose Employee TikTok Ban: SMC 1(12)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

House Would Ban Federal Employee Use of TikTok
The Politico Morning Tech newsletter reports that some Democrats and Republicans in Washington are moving forward with efforts to curtail the influence of TikTok, which is owned by a company in China: "Lawmakers will this week consider a proposed defense bill amendment that would bar government workers from using the video sharing app."

Meanwhile, some TikTok users developed fake "safety calls" to play if they become worried about a meet-up, Mashable reports. "In one, TikTok user donteatmycheeseburger reminds the viewer to charge their phone, noting that they downloaded a location sharing app," the story explained. "In another, TikTok user graciddy pretends to be annoyed at the viewer for running late" and "pretends that she can see their location." The safety calls also may suggest that someone will be waiting for them when they arrive at a location. Men also have said they find themselves in unsafe situations.

The original video concept has been adapted by TikTok users in other places. Personal safety has been added to previous efforts during the global Covid-19 pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter and "civil unrest."

Question: What other ways could social media communication posts be created and used to help people fearing personal harm? How do you see users practicing social good on your news feed?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • "Hundreds of hyper-partisan sites are masquerading as local news," Nieman reports. A project is mapping the potential to further polarize communities during #Election2020.
  • "Google records what people are doing on hundreds of thousands of mobile apps even when they follow the company’s recommended settings for stopping such monitoring, a lawsuit seeking class action status alleged," Reuters reports.
  • Former opinion writer at The New York Times went public with her resignation letter that blames Twitter for a decline in editorial standards: "Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor."

ICYMI: TikTok Money, Politics & Security

At first glance, TikTok may seem fun, but the popular app was a gold mine for new social media influencers. TMZ reported that Sean, also known as @seandoesmagic, "has 13.5 million followers, says the China-based app shutting down would be financially crushing because he makes $15,000 to $20,000 per sponsored post."

The threat to ban TikTok is coming from the Trump Administration, lawmakers and now Amazon. Yahoo!

reports that Amazon employees had been asked to delete the app from mobile phones used for company email. Amazon "told U.S. employees to remove TikTok from all mobile devices connected to Amazon email by the end of the day, or lose access to their email." Later that day, the AP reported that Amazon reversed itself: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error... There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

Axios framed the story "amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing." TikTok owner ByteDance is said to raise data security issues for individuals, companies and the U.S. government. India already has responded with a broad ban of Chinese apps.

Currently, China, India and the U.S. have the three largest number of Internet and social media users. Politico concluded that the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic dramatically grew TokTok audience size and critics: “The alarm bells have gone off from a number of different perspectives, in a bipartisan way, and we want to get to the bottom of the problems,” House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky said.

The #BlckLivesMatter movement also has gained momentum through TikTok videos produced by users among many demographic groups.

At the same time, the Chinese government attempted to cut access in Hong Kong to TikTok and other social media apps in response to political protests.

Question: How should the U.S. with its First Amendment freedoms respond to security threats posed by TikTok and other software with connections to China and other nations?


SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Tuesday

TikTok Money, Politics & Security: SMC 1(11)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

TikTok Money, Politics & Security

At first glance, TikTok may seem fun, but the popular app was a gold mine for new social media influencers. TMZ reported that Sean, also known as @seandoesmagic, "has 13.5 million followers, says the China-based app shutting down would be financially crushing because he makes $15,000 to $20,000 per sponsored post."

The threat to ban TikTok is coming from the Trump Administration, lawmakers and now Amazon. Yahoo!

reports that Amazon employees had been asked to delete the app from mobile phones used for company email. Amazon "told U.S. employees to remove TikTok from all mobile devices connected to Amazon email by the end of the day, or lose access to their email." Later that day, the AP reported that Amazon reversed itself: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error... There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

Axios framed the story "amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing." TikTok owner ByteDance is said to raise data security issues for individuals, companies and the U.S. government. India already has responded with a broad ban of Chinese apps.

Currently, China, India and the U.S. have the three largest number of Internet and social media users. Politico concluded that the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic dramatically grew TokTok audience size and critics: “The alarm bells have gone off from a number of different perspectives, in a bipartisan way, and we want to get to the bottom of the problems,” House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky said.

The #BlckLivesMatter movement also has gained momentum through TikTok videos produced by users among many demographic groups.

At the same time, the Chinese government attempted to cut access in Hong Kong to TikTok and other social media apps in response to political protests.

Question: How should the U.S. with its First Amendment freedoms respond to security threats posed by TikTok and other software with connections to China and other nations?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • A "BlueLeaks" server that stored Houston, Texas police and FBI records dating back to 1996 was seized in Germany, the Associated Press reported. Email addresses and phone numbers reportedly were not redacted, but some identities in the stolen documents were protected. Officials in Germany and the U.S. refused comment on the significant hacking data breach.
  • In London, "privacy watchdogs in Britain and Australia have opened a joint investigation into facial recognition company Clearview AI over its use of personal data 'scraped'  off social media platforms and other websites," AP reported. “The investigation highlights the importance of enforcement cooperation in protecting the personal information of Australian and U.K. citizens in a globalised data environment,” the regulators said in a brief statement.
  • President Trump's Twitch channel is back after a suspension for two weeks, Business Insider reports. "Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch," the statement said. "In line with our policies, President Trump's channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed."
ICYMI:Zoom Adds Waiting Room and Password Requirements
The soaring popularity of Zoom video conferencing software during the Covid-19 "stay at home" efforts forced app updates. Previous options to have a waiting room and password are now required, after "Zoom bombers" entered open rooms and disrupted meetings. In some cases, participants were attacked with pornographic content. 

The Citizen Lab issued a report suggesting that the app also suffered from weak encryption, and the company hired less expensive programmers located in China.

At the same time, Wired readers were encouraged to learn how to become Zoom power users by learning its large number of available settings.



Question: What legal and ethical issues exist for schools and businesses moving classrooms and offices to Zoom spaces?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Monday

Zoom Popularity, Issues During Covid-19: SMC 1(10)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

Zoom Adds Waiting Room and Password Requirements
The soaring popularity of Zoom video conferencing software during the Covid-19 "stay at home" efforts forced app updates. Previous options to have a waiting room and password are now required, after "Zoom bombers" entered open rooms and disrupted meetings. In some cases, participants were attacked with pornographic content. 

The Citizen Lab issued a report suggesting that the app also suffered from weak encryption, and the company hired less expensive programmers located in China.

At the same time, Wired readers were encouraged to learn how to become Zoom power users by learning its large number of available settings.



Question: What legal and ethical issues exist for schools and businesses moving classrooms and offices to Zoom spaces?

Quibi Tries to Monitize Brief Video
Hollywood stars and executives are backing a new video app. Quibi is offering a 90-day free trial, but the service will start charging at $4.99 per month. The Atlantic reports that, "Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman say they have an app for that, or at least an argument for it. They’re the founders of the new 'quick bites' streaming service, backed by Hollywood’s biggest studio players and A-list content creators with the goal of delivering filmed entertainment in installments of 10 minutes or less."

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/04/how-quibi-plans-to-hook-audiences/609466/

Question: Why would people pay for Quibi video? How can it compete with YouTube and other established channels?

ICYMI: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and Microsoft Fight Coronavirus Misinformation
Social media sites joined to battle misinformation about the spread of Covid-19. Business Insider  reports that a joint statement on Facebook pledged to combat "fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world" (para. 3).

"In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to make sure everyone has access to accurate information, stop misinformation and harmful content, and support global health experts, local governments, businesses and communities," the statement said.

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-google-youtube-microsoft-reddit-twitter-fight-coronavirus-covid19-misinformation-2020-3

https://about.fb.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus/#joint-statement

Question: Are the social media platforms doing enough to fight misinformation and disinformation? What else could they be doing?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).