Tuesday

Coronavirus Misinformation, Social Distancing and Boredom: SMC 1(9)

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


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?

Mark Cuban: Bored Athletes Will Create Social Media Explosion
"You are going to see a social media explosion — Twitch streams, TikTok dances — as players deal with their own boredom and further connect with fans," Mark Cuban predicted. "As for the (Dallas) Mavericks, once things start to normalize, we're discussing having clinics to get kids out and exercising," the NBA basketball team owner was quoted on Axios.

https://www.axios.com/mark-cuban-coronavirus-interview-eb260519-0769-483d-9f45-577860e1614c.html

Question: How could your organization use social distancing and home work to create entertaining content?

In Case You Missed It: World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

Twitter Fleets are Its Version of Disappearing Stories
Success of Facebook and Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, much like Snapchat Snaps, prompted Twitter to test a planned launch of its Stories called Fleets. TechCrunch reports that a Twitter trial in Brazil happened before a U.S. start.

"Unlike Tweets, Twitter’s new Fleets can’t receive Likes, Replies or Retweets. And they’ll disappear entirely after 24 hours," TechCrunch reports. "You could visit someone’s public Twitter profile and tap to view their Fleets even if you don’t follow them. But their Fleet won’t circulate Twitter’s network, show up in Search or Moments, and it can’t be embedded on an external website (para. 2).

Twitter is among the last social media sites to add disappearing Stories. Twitter research shows users do not tweet, if they want to avoid public communication. Among the changes ahead, Twitter will create privacy controls for followers only.

"The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls 'fleets,' the AP reports, "because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets" (para. 2).

https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/04/twitter-starts-testing-its-own-version-of-stories-called-fleets-which-disappear-after-24-hours/

https://apnews.com/afc211cfd5fb653140f1ff6e5a091870

Question: Why are many people worried that public tweets should not be permanent?

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

Sunday

Fleets Pivot Twitter Toward Privacy: SMC 1(8)

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

Twitter Fleets are Its Version of Disappearing Stories
Success of Facebook and Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, much like Snapchat Snaps, prompted Twitter to test a planned launch of its Stories called Fleets. TechCrunch reports that a Twitter trial in Brazil happened before a U.S. start.

"Unlike Tweets, Twitter’s new Fleets can’t receive Likes, Replies or Retweets. And they’ll disappear entirely after 24 hours," TechCrunch reports. "You could visit someone’s public Twitter profile and tap to view their Fleets even if you don’t follow them. But their Fleet won’t circulate Twitter’s network, show up in Search or Moments, and it can’t be embedded on an external website (para. 2).

Twitter is among the last social media sites to add disappearing Stories. Twitter research shows users do not tweet, if they want to avoid public communication. Among the changes ahead, Twitter will create privacy controls for followers only.

"The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls 'fleets,' the AP reports, "because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets" (para. 2).

https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/04/twitter-starts-testing-its-own-version-of-stories-called-fleets-which-disappear-after-24-hours/

https://apnews.com/afc211cfd5fb653140f1ff6e5a091870

Question: Why are many people worried that public tweets should not be permanent?

TikTok Hype House Trademark Dispute
A Los Angeles home to TikTok stars, the Hype House, is the site of a trademark fight over its name. Insider reports that Daisey Keech, 20, and Thomas Petrou, 21, dispute their roles in the launch of the creative content site. Petrou had collaborated with social media icon Jake Paul.

"Petrou is widely credited with co-founding the Hype House in December with the help of 17-year-old resident e-boy Chase Hudson," Insider reports. "But, in recent months, Keech — who no longer lives in the house — has been vying for a title change and a more collaborative decision-making process in the group" (paras. 2-3).


Question: Why do you think so many creative media people struggle with securing intellectual property rights?

In Brief: Trump's Media Lawsuits are About the Campaign, Not the Law
A Washington Examiner commentary suggests that President Trump's campaign defamation lawsuits against CNN, The New York Times, and the Washington Post cannot survive First Amendment libel standards for public officials. "But the campaign doesn't care about that. It cares about how these lawsuits burnish a key narrative for mobilizing the base — namely, that President Trump is a Washington outsider taking the fight to unfair enemies," Tom Rogan wrote. "And it's now abundantly clear that the Trump campaign views these lawsuits as a key reelection tool."

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/trumps-media-lawsuits-are-about-the-campaign-not-the-law

Question: Do you think political defamation lawsuits will have any impact on the election?

In Brief: Site Bans and Suspensions Become Common
TikTok has banned a viral "skull-breaker challenge" that  "involves two people kicking the legs from under a third, making them fall over," The BBC reports. "US prosecutors have charged two youngsters with aggravated assault over the prank and warned parents to stop their children taking part" (para. 2). Meanwhile, Twitch suspended a user for accidentally firing a gun.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51742854

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51768454

In Case You Missed It: World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

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

TikTok #Covid19 Wash Hands Posts: SMC 1(7)



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

World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

'Old Man Steve,' 81, Among Elderly TikTok Stars
Steve Austin has had a YouTube channel for 12 years, but NBC News reports that he has gone viral by joining TikTok. He is one of the many former Vine video artists finding a new home beyond Instagram.

Search "old man" on TikTok, and "old man steve" jumps to the top. He has more than 603,000 followers and 5.5 million likes. Over coffee, he recently posted, "Well good morning. I hope y'all have a great day. And when you go out today, be sure and smile and say 'hello' to people."

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/81-year-old-old-man-steve-has-taken-over-tiktok-with-adorable-cooking-videos/2309771/

Question:Who is your favorite TikTok star? Why?

In Brief: Twitter CEO Faces Takeover Bid

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey could be ousted by billionaire Paul Singer and and Elliott Management. The Guardian and Bloomberg News report that the "Republic mega-donor" has purchased a “sizable stake” and “and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Dorsey” (para. 2).

https://amp.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/29/paul-singer-elliott-management-twitter-jack-dorsey 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-29/singer-s-elliott-is-said-to-seek-to-replace-twitter-ceo-dorsey

Question: Are social media platforms too open to political manipulation? How should we respond?

In Case You Missed It: Online Marketers Steal Social Media Influencer Faces
Wired reports that YouTube and Instagram influencers say they have not authorized marketers to illegally paste their faces onto bodies to sell sketchy products. Once found, the first response should be to send a cease and desist email to Amazon or other sites failing to monitor advertising. An influencer must identify "the specific infringement" (para. 10). It may take the help of a lawyer or brand marketing expert to force a take-down of the image.

"For now, platforms are not proactively dealing with image theft on behalf of influencers," the Wired investigation noted. "It’s up to the individual to report it." Fans sometimes provide the first warning of trouble.

https://www.wired.com/story/youtube-instagram-influencers-stolen-faces/

Question: How could the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make it easier to stop fake advertising?

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

Saturday

Marketers Steal Social Media Faces: SMC 1(6)

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

Online Marketers Steal Social Media Influencer Faces

Wired reports that YouTube and Instagram influencers say they have not authorized marketers to illegally paste their faces onto bodies to sell sketchy products. Once found, the first response should be to send a cease and desist email to Amazon or other sites failing to monitor advertising. An influencer must identify "the specific infringement" (para. 10). It may take the help of a lawyer or brand marketing expert to force a take-down of the image.

"For now, platforms are not proactively dealing with image theft on behalf of influencers," the Wired investigation noted. "It’s up to the individual to report it." Fans sometimes provide the first warning of trouble.

https://www.wired.com/story/youtube-instagram-influencers-stolen-faces/

Question: How could the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make it easier to stop fake advertising?

Twitter Suspends 70 Pro-Bloomberg Accounts Over Manipulation
Twitter fought back against a political spam tactic of using dozens of accounts to blast identical messages, the Los Angeles Times reported. The suspension of 70 accounts included some permanent bans of hired content producers.

"These 'deputy field organizers' receive $2,500 per month to promote the former New York mayor’s candidacy within their personal social circles, in addition to other, more conventional duties," the newspaper reported. "They receive campaign-approved language that they can opt to post."

https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2020-02-21/twitter-suspends-bloomberg-accounts

Question: What do you think should be the spam limits for employee social media posts?

In Brief
In Case You Missed It: Bloomberg's Paid Influencers, Memes and Facebook Policies
Facebook changed its Instagram paid political rules after presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg hired "influencers" to post memes about the former New York City mayor, Politico reports. "Under the new rules, the content will have to be clearly marked as sponsored" (para. 3)."The spokesperson said in a statement that the rule change had been under consideration for some time, with meme posts gaining traction as a campaign tool, and with both political campaigns and government agencies inquiring about the company's policies on their use," (para. 4).

Salon was blunt, calling these "fake" posts: "Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign is paying social media influencers and a social media firm to flood Instagram with fake messages purportedly sent by the billionaire" (para. 1).

The Daily Beast earlier reported that influencers were being paid $150 per post: "For a fixed $150 fee, the Bloomberg campaign is pitching micro-influencers—someone who has from 1,000 to 100,000 followers, in industry parlance—to create original content 'that tells us why Mike Bloomberg is the electable candidate who can rise above the fray, work across the aisle so ALL Americans feel heard & respected'" (para. 4).

Update: The Associated Press called the changes "murky" in raising concerns. "Facebook’s policies leave plenty of loopholes, which campaigns and candidates will likely find ways to exploit until Election Day, said Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook employee who is currently co-director of Harvard’s digital platforms and democracy project." Foreign governments also may use the tactic. “We’re in for quite a lot of turmoil and trouble,” Ghosh said (paras. 4-5).
SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Sunday

Paid Political Memes for $150: SMC 1(5)

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

Bloomberg's Paid Influencers, Memes and Facebook Policies
Facebook changed its Instagram paid political rules after presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg hired "influencers" to post memes about the former New York City mayor, Politico reports. "Under the new rules, the content will have to be clearly marked as sponsored" (para. 3)."The spokesperson said in a statement that the rule change had been under consideration for some time, with meme posts gaining traction as a campaign tool, and with both political campaigns and government agencies inquiring about the company's policies on their use," (para. 4).

Salon was blunt, calling these "fake" posts: "Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign is paying social media influencers and a social media firm to flood Instagram with fake messages purportedly sent by the billionaire" (para. 1).

The Daily Beast earlier reported that influencers were being paid $150 per post: "For a fixed $150 fee, the Bloomberg campaign is pitching micro-influencers—someone who has from 1,000 to 100,000 followers, in industry parlance—to create original content 'that tells us why Mike Bloomberg is the electable candidate who can rise above the fray, work across the aisle so ALL Americans feel heard & respected'" (para. 4).

Update: The Associated Press called the changes "murky" in raising concerns. "Facebook’s policies leave plenty of loopholes, which campaigns and candidates will likely find ways to exploit until Election Day, said Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook employee who is currently co-director of Harvard’s digital platforms and democracy project." Foreign governments also may use the tactic. “We’re in for quite a lot of turmoil and trouble,” Ghosh said (paras. 4-5).

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/14/bloomberg-meme-changes-facebook-instagram-115333

https://www.salon.com/2020/02/14/mike-bloomberg-is-paying-social-media-influencers-to-post-fake-messages-to-make-him-look-cool/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/mike-bloomberg-is-paying-influencers-to-make-him-seem-cool-9

https://apnews.com/86f306176a5e1043d2f825483e75f70d

Question: Why is it right or not for candidates to pay for influence posts?

No End to Trump DoJ Tweets
Following President Trump's impeachment acquittal, the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account frequently has been used to weigh in on Department of Justice (DoJ) investigations. Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump's tweets made it “impossible for me to do my job,” but the Associated Press reported: "Unbowed by a public rebuke from his attorney general, President Donald Trump says he has the 'legal right' to intervene in criminal cases and sidestep the Justice Department’s historic independence" (para. 1).

https://apnews.com/db64d4eaf5f65604cb147645e822a262

Question: Should President Trump alter his tweeting? Why or why not?

In Case You Missed It: Aspiring Rapper and Others Pretended to Have Coronavirus
The newest rage on TikTok and other social media sites is to pretend to have coronavirus in videos designed to spark online and social media attention. James Potok, 28, was on a Toronto to Jamaica flight when he "announced that he was just in Wuhan, China, and he wasn’t 'feeling too well,' The Rolling Stone reported (@RollingStone - 2020, February 6).

Potok told CBC News that, "It certainly wasn't a smart thing to do." He apologized to passengers for ruining their vacation. The plane was forced to return to Ontario, and Potok was charged (@CBCNews - 2020, February 4). "Coronavirus is not something to joke about," he said. "People don't take it lightly."

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/coronavirus-hoax-clout-948568/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-claim-plane-westjet-flight-diverted-1.5452221

Question: What can be done to reduce incentives social media users have to create viral videos?


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

Friday

SMC News 1(4): Coronavirus Hoax Publicity Stunt

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

Aspiring Rapper and Others Pretended to Have Coronavirus

The newest rage on TikTok and other social media sites is to pretend to have coronavirus in videos designed to spark online and social media attention. James Potok, 28, was on a Toronto to Jamaica flight when he "announced that he was just in Wuhan, China, and he wasn’t 'feeling too well,' The Rolling Stone reported (@RollingStone - 2020, February 6).

Potok told CBC News that, "It certainly wasn't a smart thing to do." He apologized to passengers for ruining their vacation. The plane was forced to return to Ontario, and Potok was charged (@CBCNews - 2020, February 4). "Coronavirus is not something to joke about," he said. "People don't take it lightly."

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/coronavirus-hoax-clout-948568/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-claim-plane-westjet-flight-diverted-1.5452221

Question: What can be done to reduce incentives social media users have to create viral videos?

Washington State High School Principal Disciplined For Kobe Comment

Camas High School Principal Liza Sejkora was placed on administrative leave for calling Kobe Bryant "a rapist" after he, his daughter and others died in a helicopter crash. NBC News reported that a deleted post read, "Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today"  followed by a shrug emoji. Threats followed, and Sejkora later apologized (@NBCNews - 2020, February 5).

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/principal-who-said-kobe-bryant-s-death-was-karma-facebook-n1131036 

Question:What can we learn from real-time social media fails?

In Case You Missed It: Social Media Sites Are Distrusted As News Sources 
A new Pew Research Center study found that none of the major social media sites had 20 percent trust for Election 2020 news. 

"Indeed, Facebook, the most widely used of the six social media sites examined when it comes to getting political and election news, is distrusted by about six-in-ten U.S. adults (59%). That includes almost equal percentages of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic (59%) and Republicans and independents who lean Republican (62%). Close to half of all U.S. adults also say they distrust Twitter (48%), and about four-in-ten (42%) distrust Instagram" (para. 3, @pewreasearch - 2020, January 29). 

"In Facebook’s case, 13% of Republicans and Republican leaners say they trust the social media site, while 62% say they distrust it. The gap is also large among Democrats and Democratic leaners, with 17% expressing trust and 59% distrust... The numbers aren’t much different for Twitter, where distrust exceeds trust for Republicans (51% vs. 9%) and for Democrats (46% vs. 15%). The data is similar for Instagram (45% distrust vs. 5% trust among Republicans, and 41% distrust vs. 7% trust among Democrats)"(paras. 11-12).

https://www.journalism.org/2020/01/29/an-oasis-of-bipartisanship-republicans-and-democrats-distrust-social-media-sites-for-political-and-election-news/

Question: What would lead you to trust or distrust a Facebook post or tweet?

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